Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Sept. 11, 2007

CAMILLA PARKER BOWLES, the Duchess of Cornwall, will name Cunard Line's Queen Victoria during a Dec. 10 ceremony in Southampton, England. Prince Charles will accompany his wife to the ship's naming, part of four days of inaugural festivities. The line said that its Queens are traditionally named by members of the royal family; both the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Mary 2 were named by Queen Elizabeth II.

CARNIVAL CORP. cemented its agreement to create a Spanish-market cruise brand with Spain's largest tour operator, Orizonia Corporacion. The three-ship operation, which will launch in spring 2008 under the name Iberocruceros, will use the Carnival Cruise Lines' 1,486-passenger Celebration and two vessels from Orizonia's Iberojet line, the 1,244-passenger Grand Mistral and 834-passenger Grand Voyager. Itineraries will be named later. The transaction is expected to close on Sept. 14, and Carnival said that it would own 75% of the joint venture; Orizonia would control the remaining 25%. Iberocruceros will be based in Madrid.

CARNIVAL ALSO SAID that it scrapped its plans to for a joint venture line with German tour operator TUI, citing regulatory difficulties in Germany that delayed the transaction. Not being able to close the deal this year, Carnival said, would create adverse tax consequences for the company. Carnival said it would grow in Germany organically through new ship construction for its Aida cruise line and its other European brands that serve the German market, such as Costa Cruises and Cunard.

CELEBRITY CRUISES' second ship in its Solstice class, the Celebrity Equinox, entered life last week in a German shipyard. Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain started the plasma torch that launched the production of the ship's first steel plate at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The 122,000-ton vessel is slated to enter service in 2009. Meyer Werft will build four Solstice-class vessels in all; the first ship in the series, the Celebrity Solstice, is under construction and scheduled for delivery in fall 2008.

THE PANAMA CANAL is one week into its $5 billion expansion. Ground was broken Sept. 3 on the massive project, which is expected to double the waterway's capacity by 2014. This is the first expansion of the almost 100-year-old, 51-mile canal: The planned work would build one new lane of traffic across the canal by constructing a new set of locks, which would enable longer and wider ships to pass through.

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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