Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: October 11, 2005

THE CRUISE SHIPS chartered by the government for Hurricane Katrina relief purposes are already cost-competitive with other forms of available housing in New Orleans, according to a cost analysis done by the Department of Homeland Security. According to the department, the per-person, per-day cost for each passenger at capacity, including meals, is about $168, while the average hotel room in New Orleans averages more than $190 per day. As of Oct. 4, 5,320 passengers are onboard the four ships (three Carnival Cruise Lines vessels and one Canadian ferry) out of a possible total occupancy of 8,136 passengers.

SILVERSEA CRUISES is no longer allowing agents to charge a clients credit card less than the full amount of the cruise purchase, effectively trimming back on one way to rebate a cruise. The credit card policy is effective for all bookings beginning Oct. 6, but Silversea said it would be flexible with the policy through Nov. 1. Silversea believes rebating continues to hurt the distribution systems, and the company is fully committed to providing a level playing field to agents, the company said in a statement.


CIRQUE DU SOLEIL AND CELEBRITY havent parted ways, but the Cirque-run concept that Celebrity was hosting on two of its ships has been withdrawn it has ceased on the Summit and will do so on the Constellation on Nov. 10 and the two companies are at the drawing board to come up with an alternative. The evening entertainment involved Cirque characters interacting with passengers in the forward observation lounges, renamed the Bar at the End of the Earth. Celebrity and Cirque are in the midst of a six-year marketing agreement, and Celebrity is continuing to sponsor Cirque du Soleil shows.  


CHUCK WEST, whose work in Alaskas tourism market earned him the nickname Mr. Alaska, died Oct. 4. He was 90. West was the founder and chairman and CEO of Cruise West until the early 1990s. He also was the founder of Westours, a major tour operator in the 49th state that interwove bus transportation, hotels and cruising, which he sold to Holland America Line in 1973. He served as president of ASTA in 1969 and 1970. Chuck was a true pioneer, a friend and a mentor, HALs chairman, Kirk Lanterman, said last week. His influence on the tourism industry was immeasurable. We will all miss his incredible spirit.


" Michael Lomax said last week that he has resigned his position as president of Great American Journeys, which operates the Columbia Queen riverboat in the Pacific Northwest, and will seek out similar start-up opportunities under my Explorations Cruise Line company name.

" RiverBarge Excursion Lines will continue to offer its New Orleans and Texas Gulf Coast cruises in late 2005 and early 2006. It will be in New Orleans at the beginning of December.

" The Delta Queen Steamboat Co.s American Queen, which normally operates from New Orleans, began a 30-day charter last week. The ship sailed through the Gulf of Mexico for the first time en route to Texas. The charterer was not identified, but Presi­dent Bruce Nierenberg said the charter allows us to keep one of our steamboats active until it returns to service in spring 2006.

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