Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: August 14, 2001

NORWEGIAN INVESTOR Atle Brynestad named Larry Pimentel co-owner, chairman and CEO of SeaDream Yacht Club, a new seagoing venture focusing on the former Seabourn Cruise Line ships Sea Goddess I and II, which Brynestad purchased earlier this month. Pimentel, most recently president and CEO of Cunard Line Ltd, joined Seabourn as president in 1992 and assumed Cunard's helm in 1998 when Carnival Corp. bought the venerable British line and merged it with Seabourn. Pimentel resigned from Cunard in February amidst sharply declining profits at the luxury line.

PIMENTEL, in an interview with the Miami Herald, said SeaDream has hired Bob Lepisto as vice president. Last month, Lepisto's position as Cunard's regional sales vp for the Americas was eliminated in a reorganization. Pimentel also said the new company, to be based in Coconut Grove, Fla., will purchase private islands in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Beginning next summer, he said, one vessel will operate solely on charters while the other will split the year between the Caribbean and Mediterannean. In a statement, Brynestad, who takes control of the 116-passenger ships on Sept. 1, said the vessels will be re-named SeaDream I and Sea Dream II. Brynestad purchased the ships earlier this month and will deploy them on their previously published itineraries through April 2002. "In May 2002 we will totaly refit and refurbish these yachts for an exciting reincarnation," he said. Brynestad said Fort Lauderdale-based North Star Tours, which is taking reservations for the SeaDream ships, is the "temporary" agent for SeaDream bookings.

DAYS AFTER a federal judge cut the number of cruise-ship visits into Glacier Bay, Alaskan natives are questioning moves by two cruise lines to re-route some itineraries into the Hubbard Glacier region. In a letter last week to John Hansen, executive director of the North West CruiseShip Assn., Bert Adams Sr., tribal president of the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, said increasing the number of cruise ships sailing into Disenchantment Bay, the site of Hubbard Glacier, could hurt the resident seal population. "More ships going in means more pressure on the environment," said Adams. He added that increasing the number of ships in Disenchantment Bay will set a precedent for next May and June, when the seals give birth and tend to their young on ice floes near the glacier.

HANSEN, meanwhile, told Travel Weekly on Aug. 13 that he has yet to meet with tribal leaders but is sensitive to their concerns. "The letter dealt with operating practices for next year. We are dealing with the cutback for this year. We are intending to meet with the tribal council." Hansen said it was too early to determine if cruise lines sailing in Alaska would increase the Hubbard Glacier visits in 2002. Last week, several cruise lines modified itineraries after U.S. District Court Judge James K. Singleton cut cruise ship sailings into Glacier Bay by 23% for the rest of the summer. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, the largest operators in Alaska, will replace their Glacier Bay visits with seven sailings into Disenchantment Bay to view Hubbard Glacier.

GREEK ISLES specialist Royal Olympic Cruise Lines canceled the summer season of the 836-passenger Olympic Explorer. Originally slated for delivery from Germany's Blohm + Voss on April 27, the ship's debut has been delayed twice due to unspecified "technical modifications" Royal Olympic officials say remain unfinished. "We hope to have the vessel ready to commence operations for the next season," Yiannos Pantazis, Royal Olympic's CEO, said in a statement. Blohm + Voss officials, who weeks ago said the ship is ready for delivery, declined comment on the latest report, citing pending arbitration over the matter. A Royal Olympic SEC filing confirms the company is seeking an arbiter's ruling in the matter.

NASDAQ-TRADED American Classic Voyages rescheduled its second-quarter 2001 earnings conference call to Aug. 14 due to "ongoing discussions with Northrop Gruman/Ingalls Shipbuilding regarding issues affecting the construction" of AMCV's two 1,900-passenger, U.S.-flag cruise ships. The call was originally slated for Aug. 9. The $1.1 billion building program, known as "Project America" described as "in trouble" by U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is reportedly behind schedule and over budget.

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