rincess Cruises is
making sure we're aware of its growing presence in the Caribbean --
the line will have 75% more capacity in the Caribbean next year
than this year.
But it also will have several new ships in Alaska, and it's
"going big" into Hawaii in 2004, too. So which destination is the
"This brand is growing," said Dean Brown, executive vice
president of sales. "We're going to grow 33% on an annual basis.
We're taking on capacity that lets us do everything
"[This way,] we can defend and grow our position where we're
known, and we can attack in the Caribbean, where we're not as well
• • •
Get the platinum credit cards ready. Cunard
Line introduced an ultra-luxury package vacation onboard
the Queen Mary 2 featuring top suites on the QM2; transatlantic
travel via private Gulfstream jet, courtesy of Marquis Jet; and a
two-night stay in a top suite at the Mandarin Oriental in New York
or London. All that, plus ground transfers by limo, retails for
$99,850 per person.
QM2 passengers can also purchase Marquis Jet's private jet
services in combination with any voyage or cabin category.
• • •
SeaDream Yacht Club extended its "No
Stress, No Strings" cancellation policy to include cruises
booked in 2003 for departures in 2004.
SeaDream was one of the first cruise lines to introduce a
relaxed version of its cancellation policies in an attempt to
persuade skittish travelers to book.
In SeaDream's case, passengers can change or postpone cruise
plans for any reason up to the date of departure and receive a
cruise credit worth 100% of their fare, good for two years.
• • •
Got math? Holland America Line (HAL) is
offering cruise deals to teachers. Currently employed as well as
retired teachers can select from five Caribbean sailings, a Panama
Canal departure and a South America cruise.
David Giersdorf, the line's vice president of sales and
marketing, said that the sailings fall conveniently within most
teachers' winter break weeks in late December.
HAL, meanwhile, added an 18-day roundtrip Hawaii cruise from
Seattle, and it will continue its 15-day cruises on board the
Statendam and the Amsterdam from San Diego.
The ships are not slated to call in Molokai, an island that was
on the itinerary this year but was scuttled after "issues were
raised in the [Molokai] community about cruise ship visits."
• • •
Viking River Cruises is ready to make its
long-planned foray into China, despite this year's SARS-related
river cruising bust.
Said president Jeff Dash: "You worry about it; you try to
package things ... you make sensible deals. But not once, from
March until today, did we consider SARS a hindrance for launching
the product in '04."
Viking will own and operate its own ship on the Yangtze when it
launches service in 2004, and the cruise will be focused on the
North American market.
Perhaps this year's travel downturn helped. "I think SARS
certainly made people [in China] more receptive to meeting us,"
• • •
Windstar is preparing to move into a major
overhaul of its three ships.
Parent company HAL gave the tall-ship fleet $6.5 million for
renovations in November, sales vice president Tom Russell said.
Although each ship will get special attention in different public
rooms, all staterooms will be redone and exercise and spa
facilities will be expanded on the two smaller ships, the Wind
Spirit and the Wind Star.
Windstar, meanwhile, is wooing travel agents with a new
Web-based sales tool that helps them design romance-themed packages
for their clients.
The Romance Under Sail site (at www.romanceundersail.com) enables agents to customize
packages with romantic touches.
• • •
Star Clippers is returning to St. Maarten with
the Star Clipper.
The 170-passenger sailing ship had homeported last fall out of
Puerto Calica, near Cancun, Mexico, for a series of western
Caribbean sailings. But a spokeswoman for Star Clippers said the
Cancun experience "didn't work out as well as we'd hoped."
The Cancun sailings slated for the remainder of 2003 were
dropped in favor of a return to St. Maarten.
• • •
Radisson Seven Seas Cruises spruced up its Web
Among the site's new functions are enhanced search capabilities;
a travel agent-only section featuring special offers and news; a
charter and incentives section with a downloadable sales kit; and a
Find an Agent resource section for consumers.
A Plan a Voyage section enables users to search for a cruise
based on their preferred destination, month of travel or length of
• • •
Europe-based cruise operator First European
Cruises is offering discounts on seven-day Mediterranean
cruises aboard its two 1,500-passenger ships during October and
The European Vision sails the eastern Mediterranean; the
European Stars cruises to France, Italy and Spain.
Prices start at $860 per person, double, for these week-long,
port-intensive cruises; suites start at $1,230. Commission is
To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].