Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: October 18, 2005

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES is the latest cruise company to partner with a celebrity chef. Last week the line said that Georges Blanc, a Michelin-starred chef who runs six restaurants in France, will create a series of one of a kind appetizers, entrees and desserts that will be featured in restaurants throughout the fleet. Blanc and his staff also are providing training to Carnival chefs at Blancs restaurants in Vonnas, France, and onboard Carnivals ships.

THE DELTA QUEEN STEAMBOAT CO. extended its early-booking window two months, to Dec. 31, because it said it lost its traditional peak booking overlapped hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The situation at the time made it very difficult for our [repeat] customers to choose their voyages and book with us for 2006, President Bruce Nierenberg said.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL reversed its decision to eliminate ship deck plans in its brochures after being inundated with calls from travel agents. The original plan was to point passengers to its online tools and deck plans. Deck plans will be delivered on request and can be ordered starting Oct. 19 on www.cruisingpower.com.

EASY UPDATE: Reps from London-based EasyCruise said that occupancy on the orange-painted EasyCruiseOne during its first two weeks in the Caribbean is about 86%. The EasyCruiseOne arrives in the Caribbean for its winter season on Nov. 13. The line said about half of the passengers booked on its winter cruises are from the U.S., and 30% are from the U.K. Bookings also opened for the ships summer Mediterranean season, which starts May 16. Per-day Med prices start at about $24 per person.

DISCOVERY WORLD CRUISES and Fred Olsen Cruises joined the 10 other lines in the Niche Cruise Marketing Association. The group is focused on joint marketing and promotion efforts for small and niche lines.

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