HOLLAND AMERICA LINE
canceled 36 port calls
scheduled for St. Croix in the coming season aboard its new,
1,848-passenger Zuiderdam. A spokesman cited concerns regarding
passenger safety. Earlier this year, Carnival Cruise Lines canceled
52 calls by the Triumph and Victory for the coming season, and
Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky opted not to return to St.
Croix. Lack of demand for the destination, as well as passenger
safety concerns, were cited as reasons. U.S. Virgin Islands'
tourism officials planned to meet with Florida-Caribbean Cruise
Association representatives to develop solutions to reverse the
CLUB MED is wooing agents with increased
commissions, a new incentive package and an extension of its Open
Bar program. The new 12% commission (up from 10%) is targeted at
agents who complete the Club Med specialist program and visit at
least one property a year. Under the terms of the new 777 incentive
program, every booking of three or more nights earns agents one
free night for their clients. John Vanderslice, president and CEO,
Club Med Americas, said the 777 program was created in response to
feedback received after 5,000 agents signed up for Club Med's
recent Vacation on Us promotion, enabling them to visit Club Med
villages free of charge. The Open Bar bracelet program,
commissionable at 10%, is now offered at nearly every North
American Club Med village. Rates start at $170 for adults and $60
IN OTHER NEWS, Club Med Columbus Isle in the
Bahamas will reopen Dec. 14, and the firm's Playa Blanca property
in Mexico will reopen at a date still to be determined. Fifteen of
the chain's 120 villages were closed temporarily after Sept. 11.
Vanderslice expects the properties to reopen based on client
demand. Meanwhile, the chain is looking at a new development near
Cancun which would share flight service with Club Med's existing
A REGIONAL TOURISM Strategic Plan, mandated by
Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders last December, is under
scrutiny at the Heads of Government meeting July 3 to 5 in
Georgetown, Guyana. Jean Holder, secretary general of the Caribbean
Tourism Organization, said the plan addresses several issues facing
the region's tourism sector, including air and sea access; the
region's marketplace image; and protection and promotion of the
environment. The plan presents a vision of where the Caribbean
needs to be in the next 10 years and contains some 80
recommendations, including proposals for sustainable funding from
sources such as airline ticket and cruise passenger taxes.
US AIRWAYS VACATIONS offers up to 35%
reductions on package rates for bookings made and paid by July 16
for travel through Dec. 14. New bookings from clients who pay by
MasterCard and complete their travel by Oct. 31 entitle them to a
free three-piece set of Samsonite Streamlite II luggage (a $239
value). US Airways' Caribbean packages include roundtrip air,
hotel, transfers, hotel taxes, service charges and international
travel taxes up to $97.50 per person. For details, visit www.usairwaysvacations.com.
• Spa Dragon will be the name of the former Dragon Bay resort in
Port Antonio, Jamaica, which was purchased last year by Sandals
Resorts Int'l. The 100-room resort will open next February and will
feature gondolas on canals leading to the local Blue Lagoon. To
facilitate access to Port Antonio, the local airport's runway will
be lengthened and lights installed for night landings.
• The 300-room Sandals White House on Jamaica's south coast will
open in December 2003 with an extensive spa and loads of sports
activities. The property's design will employ the village concept
used at Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort & Spa with Caribbean,
Dutch and Italian-style architecture.
• Sandals plans to open its Cuba resort by year's end, and its
first property in the Dominican Republic by winter 2004.
• Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino on Palm Beach offers 25% off
rack rates for new bookings made by July 19 for travel through Dec.
19. Rates through Sept. 27 start at $173 per night, double; from
Sept. 28 to Dec. 19, the minimum is $180. Check the Web site at www.radisson.com/palmbeachaw for details.
PENCIL IT IN
• Crop Over Festival, Barbados, July 13 to Aug. 5.
• Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay, Jamaica, July 21 to
• Culturama 2002, Nevis, July 25 to Aug. 6.
• Jerkfest 2002, SuperClubs Hedonism III, Runaway Bay, Jamaica,
Oct. 3 to 6.