Travel Weeklys Cruise E-letter: Feb. 15, 2004

THE PRIDE OF AMERICAS sea trials are scheduled to begin May 19, and the ship is to be delivered to NCL America on June 6, NCL America said.  The ship, which made headlines last January after it sank in its Lloyd Werft berth during construction and was submerged up to Deck 3, left its drydock at the Lloyd Werft shipyard and currently is alongside the yards outfitting pier.

EASYCRUISE, the low-cost cruise operation aimed at city-hopping U.K. and European continent vacationers, began taking reservations last week. The companys sole ship, the EasyCruise1 (a former Renaissance Cruises vessel) will spend the summer sailing between such popular Mediterranean hot spots as St. Tropez, Cannes and Nice, France; and San Remo, Genoa and Portofino, Italy. The ship begins operation in June, although an EasyCruise spokesman said the launch date could be pushed up to as early as April.

RAIN SHOWERS and new CD players are some of the items Radisson Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) plans to install on its ships this year. The line will put Bose Wave Music Systems in the top three suite categories on the Seven Seas Voyager, the Seven Seas Mariner and the Seven Seas Navigator and DVD players in all Mariner and Navigator cabins. Bathtubs in 47 suites on the Mariner will be rebuilt as rain showers with tile seats. RSSC also created a new pan-Asian menu in the Latitudes restaurant on its Voyager and Mariner vessels and updated the Italian menu in the Navigators Portofino restaurant.

THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION (CLIA) is revving up its yearlong  Year of Technology campaign. CLIA launched three training courses online, at www.theacademy.com, and is adding technology-related components to its traditional classroom training. A teleconference series hosted by industry educator Marc Mancini and based on chapters in a CLIA-issued Guide to Technology for Cruise Selling Agents, kicked off earlier this month. In addition, CLIA said that agents who attend its Cruise3sixty conference this fall will be required to attend a two-hour training session in the conferences Hall of Computers, a room with 100 computers networked for travel tech seminars. The conference runs Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in Fort Lauderdale.

NOT THREE WEEKS after the former Olympia Explorer was hit by a 50-foot wave off the coast of Alaska, its sister ship the Voyager (and former Olympia Voyager) was struck by a monster wave off the coast of Palma de Mallorca, which breached the Voyagers bridge window. The Voyagers captain reported a number of minor injuries to passengers, which were treated in the ships onboard medical facilities. Propulsion power, which was lost after the impact, was restored to two of the Voyagers four engines, and the ship is on its way to Sardinia. The Voyager is on charter to Spanish tour operator Iberojet. The Europe-based company V.Ships manages both the Voyager and the Explorer.

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