Travel Weekly's Caribbean E-Letter: May 2, 2002

IN RESPONSE to Carnival Cruise Lines' announced pullout from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on May 11, tourism and government officials there initiated a series of meetings with industry partners "to develop solutions to reverse Carnival's decision," according to Pamela Richards, commissioner of tourism. "We definitely do not want to lose Carnival's business," Richards said. Although police had recently stepped up patrols in Frederiksted, St. Croix, when the vessels were in port, Carnival cited concerns for the safety of its passengers as well as lack of demand for the destination. Carnival Victory made its last weekly St. Croix call April 24; Carnival Triumph visits the island one final time May 11. The Victory will shift to St. Maarten as will the Triumph when it returns to the Caribbean after summer Canada cruises. The cruise schedule for St. Croix through June 2003 now totals 66 calls, down from what would been 119.

TOUR TALK: Eric and Liz Aversa, former president and vp of Friendly Holidays, respectively, formed a Caribbean and Mexico vacation-packaging operation called Great Vacations. The programs are listed on the company's Web site at www.greatsunvacations.com.

AIR JAMAICA EXPRESS offers a Fly Free promotion, effective May 15, from Montego Bay to Sandals and Beaches resorts in Negril, Ocho Rios and Dunn's River. Minimum stay is six nights.

MANY RESORTS have stepped up to the plate to support travel agents through higher commissions and agent loyalty programs. Resorts include:
• Grenada's Spice Island Beach Resort and Blue Horizons Cottage Hotel, pays 15% through Dec. 14 on direct bookings via telephone, fax or e-mail. Visit www.spicebeachresort.com and www.bluegrenada.com.
• Radisson Cable Beach Resort, Nassau, pays 13% and waived single supplement charge for single parents with kids under age 17. Call (800) 777-7800 or access the GDS code RD.
• Chenay Bay Beach Resort, St. Croix, pays 20% through Dec. 20 for new bookings made directly through resort; 50% discount for agents' visits in off season and 20% during peak season. Call (800) 548-4457.
• Viva Resorts, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Mexico, pays 12% for direct bookings. Call (800) 898-9968 or e-mail at [email protected].
• Bolongo Bay Beach Club, St. Thomas, pays 10% plus Bolongo Bucks from $25 to $100 per booking for direct bookings. Call (800) 524-4746.
• Hotel Kura Hulanda, Curacao, pays $20 booking bonus plus commission, through Dec. 20, on direct bookings via www.kurahulanda.com.

GRENADA'S first 18-hole golf course is under construction at Levera Beach on the island's north side, with completion slated for January. Phase two of the project will include one of two 300-room hotels, 150 villas and shops.

AIR BYTES
• US Airways will launch four weekly flights in November between Charlotte, N.C., and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. Pending DOT approval, the route will increase the carrier's Caribbean network to 18 destinations.
• American Airlines will begin service on Saturdays and Sundays from New York's Kennedy to Grand Cayman June 15. On the same date, the carrier will launch twice-weekly flights from Boston to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
• Delta Air Lines offers code-share service with Air Jamaica from Montego Bay to Curacao four times a week, starting May 21, and three times a week to Antigua, from June 20. Delta's second daily code-share flight with Air Jamaica from JFK to Montego Bay began May 1.

LODGEPODGE
• Tierra Del Sol Resort & Country Club Aruba opened its 4,000-square-foot Body & Soul Spa last month. For details, call (800) 992-2015.
• SuperClubs' Breezes inclusive resorts in the Bahamas, Curacao and Jamaica offer a special rate of $326 per night, double for three nights or more through June 30. Call (800) GO-SUPER.

PENCIL IT IN
• International Travel Planners Conference, Nassau, May 21 to 24.
• CTO's 29th annual Governments of the Caribbean State Ball, New York, with Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, May 29.
• St. Lucia Carnival 2002, June 30 to July 15.
• 30th annual USVI Open/Atlantic Blue Marlin Tournament, St. Thomas, Aug. 18 to 23.

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