Travel Weeklys Cruise E-letter: Aug. 31, 2004

THREE BILLS that seek to put stricter curbs on cruise-ship discharges and waste incineration in California waters were approved by state legislators, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the bills. The state last year approved two other bills that would bar sewage sludge, hazardous waste and oily bilge water from waters along Californias coast and in marine sanctuaries.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES officially began enforcing its no-rebate policy last week, and a quick check of cruise-oriented Web sites revealed everything from RCCL-sanctioned discounts to special points-based awards programs to a promotion on NLG partner sites that promised up to $500 cash back on select cruises. NLG Co-CEO Brad Gerstner said that the cash-back offer was part of a longstanding cruise promotion that runs every August, and that NLG had received permission from RCCL to continue the offers through the promotion, which ends in September. The wheels were set in motion. Wed bought the ad space well before these guys made their announcements, he said.

DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPENDING by the North American cruise industry had a $25.4 billion impact on the U.S. economy in 2003, an 11% increase over 2002, according to research released Aug. 24. The research, which is conducted annually for the International Council of Cruise Lines, said industry and passenger spending in the U.S. rose to $12.9 billion, an 8.1% increase compared with 2002, on a 6.6% increase of global passengers.

U.S. PORTS HANDLED 7.1 million cruise embarkations last year, a 9.4% increase over 2002, the study said. The study this year included passenger embarkation numbers from several growing cruise ports; although the top three ports by passenger embarkation remain Miami, Port Canaveral and Port Everglades in Florida, New York and Tampa, Fla., edged past the port of Los Angeles to become the fourth- and fifth-busiest ports in 2003. Los Angeles was No. 6, followed by Galveston, Texas; New Orleans; Long Beach, Calif.; and Seattle in the 10th spot.


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