Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Sept. 26, 2006

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE unveiled its biggest marketing campaign in a decade, centering on a major brand identity launch. NCL is spending $100 million next year on the national television, print, online and street advertising campaign, along with a new Web site, promotional materials and onboard literature targeting a "nonconformist" vacationer that doesn't want to eat, swim or exercise when everyone else does, said Scott Rogers, NCL's senior vice president of marketing and sales. A series of television and print ads will distinguish NCL as an "off the clock" cruise experience. The campaign will go public on Oct. 2 and include NCL's new mascot: a small white fish, swimming against a school of small blue fish.

CARNIVAL CORP.'S THIRD QUARTER came in with a better-than-expected profit of $1.23 billion, up 4.2% over 2005; revenue increased 8.3% year-over-year to $3.91 billion. Carnival cited positives, including lower at-the-pump fuel costs, strong Europe and Alaska operations and a "reasonably good possibility" that passport requirements for cruise passengers would be delayed until 2009. However, the company said it remained cautious, citing slower fourth-quarter and early-2007 bookings, continued softness in the Caribbean, the affect of a softer economy on its customers and the fact that the hurricane season, though mild to-date, is not over yet.

DURING THE CALL, CEO Micky Arison reiterated that the Alaska head-tax referendum that passed last month will prompt Carnival Corp. companies to reevaluate their Alaska deployments. Saying that there has been no effect on bookings for 2007 yet, he said, "if this thing is ratified in the fashion that the referendum was passed, it will impact long-term growth in Alaska... It's too late for us to make any '07 adjustment to our programs. But I think all companies will take a hard look at '08 and beyond if [the legislation is] ratified as-is."

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE, meanwhile, said last week that it would have its largest ever deployment in Alaska in 2007 when it commits three Vista-class ships, the Oosterdam, Zuiderdam and the Noordam, to the 49th state; overall the line will offer 156 Alaska departures on eight ships.

THE DISNEY WONDER will get upgrades to its three pool areas when it goes into drydock in October for a multi-million dollar refurbishment. The Mickey Pool, Goofy Pool and adults-only Quiet Cove pool each will be modified, as will the ship's conference rooms, the Vista Spa and Salon and the youth activity areas. With toddlers in mind, Disney will add a 385-square-foot water-play pool to the Mickey pool for children who still in swim diapers. A 336-square-foot LED screen will be affixed near the Goofy pool area for screening outdoor movies and major TV and sporting events. In the Quiet Cove area, waterfalls will be added to the two hot tubs, and a teak deck and lounge chairs will be added in order to make the area look like an outdoor extension of the Vista Spa. The refurbishment will be done at the Norshipco shipyard in Norfolk, Va. The Disney Wonder returns to service Oct. 15.

Cruise E-Letter Editor:

Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-7940

[email protected]

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

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