Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: October 4, 2005

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES will get another ship from parent company Carnival Corp., to be delivered in spring 2008. The vessel, a 112,000-ton 3,006-passenger ship, is slightly larger than the ships in the 110,000-ton Conquest-class series, and it will be the first Carnival ship to top the 3,000 lower-berth mark. Carnival said the ship will represent a new design and will offer a larger spa and kids facilities. The new ship, which is still unnamed, is the final ship in a multi-vessel deal struck between Carnival Corp. and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri last fall.

CONGRESS plans to appropriate $175 million for port security grant funding in the Department of Homeland Security budget during fiscal year 2006, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) said. The budget must be ratified by the House and the Senate and signed by President Bush. The AAPA said it was pleased that Congress had rejected a plan to eliminate port security grants and instead lump them, along with funding for other transportation modes, into a discretionary funding program. But, the organization said, the funds are still not enough to cover all the security needs of various member ports and called for $400 million a year to harden security at all seaports.

 

SEVERAL LAWMAKERS last week questioned the arrangement between Carnival Cruise Lines and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to charter three of its cruise ships in exchange for $192 million plus up to $44 million in reimbursements. Carnival Corp., Carnivals parent company, has strongly defended the arrangement and said last week that the contract price was not based on a per-berth formula. It was calculated based on what Carnival would have earned during the charter period if the ships had been kept in regular cruise service.

A GENEROUS OFFER from Carnival was how Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush characterized the Carnival-FEMA deal during the opening remarks of the Cruise Lines International Associations first Cruise3Sixty convention, which took place last week in Fort Lau­derdale. I applaud the cruise industry and Carnival Cruise Lines in this case, he said.

OTHER NEWS FROM CRUISE3SIXTY:

" CLIA was able to pull in three of the industrys top executives - Carnival boss Micky Arison, Royal Caribbean chief Richard Fain and NCL Corp. CEO Colin Veitch - for so-called fireside chats about the business broadcast on a TV screen onstage.

" Arison said palatable euro-dollar rates to order a ship would reside somewhere in the $1.10 to $1.15 to 1 euro range. But with the company just that morning assigning a new ship to Carnival Cruise Lines, Arison said, We work hard to find solutions.

" Windstar will embark on a redesign program called Degrees of Difference that is a version of the Signature of Excellence initiative its sister company Holland America Line is undergoing. In Windstars case, upgrades include things like iPods and Bose speakers in the cabins, new soft goods and a deal with LOccitane for shampoos and body lotions.

" Seabourn is changing its lido deck eatery to offer a more modern, casual dining option at night. The new restaurant will be called 2.

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