Travel Weeklys Cruise E-letter: April 11, 2006

AMBASSADORS INTERNATIONAL subsidiary Ambassadors Cruise Group will buy the Delta Queen Steamboat Co. from Delaware North Cos. Ambassadors will acquire Delta Queens three vessels, the Delta Queen, the American Queen and the Mississippi Queen, and its operating assets, for $3 million in cash, about $9 million in customer deposits and $35 million in debt.

AMBASSADORS acquired another U.S.-based river cruise line, American West Steamboat Co., in January when it set up the Ambassadors Cruise Group and named former Holland America Line executive David Giersdorf president of that division. Ambassadors President and CEO Joe Ueberroth said in a statement last week that the Delta Queen deal, expected to close by the end of this month, creates a national, American cruise company.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL hosted a three-day party in Springfield, Ore., to celebrate the opening of its first West Coast call center. About 250 employees currently work in the $60 million, 160,000 square-foot space -- which is designed to look like a cruise ship. Royal Caribbean expects to have 1,000 employees there by 2009.

PRINCESS CRUISES will make its largest-ever deployment in Europe by sending five ships to Europe and the Mediterranean in 2007. The line will offer 81 departures and 31 itineraries out of 110 ports, a 33% increase over last year. The increase is spearheaded by the transfer of the Minerva II from Swan Hellenic to Princess and the 2007 delivery of the Emerald Princess, which currently is under construction at Italys Fincantieri shipyard. Both ships will operate in the Mediterranean, and the Minerva II, renamed the Royal Princess, will add new ports to Princess itineraries, including Ravenna, Italy; Split, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Canakkale, Turkey. The ship also will cruise to Israel and Egypt. 

COSTA CROCIERE has booked almost all of its cabin availability between April to June, a 30% improvement over last year, the line said. The company attributed the increase in bookings to its ProntoPrice policy launched in September 2005, which gives travelers discounts for booking in advance.

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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