Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: August 21, 2001

DISNEY CRUISE LINE is in discussions with four European shipyards on a new shipbuilding program to expand the two-vessel Disney fleet, said DCL president Matt Ouimet. Disney is talking with France's Chantiers de l'Atlantique, Finland's Kvaerner Masa-Yards, Germany's Meyer Werft, and Italy's Fincantieri, which built the existing ships Disney Magic and Disney Wonder. The line expects to formalize an order "within a year," with delivery slated for 2005.

WHILE OUIMET would not say how many ships Disney hopes to add, he did reveal that Disney already has formed a design team to plan construction. The plan calls for something "about 10% or 20% bigger" than the 83,000-ton Magic and Wonder, but below the 100,000-ton barrier. Disney also is pondering where to deploy the fleet, with the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Southern California and Alaska as possibilities.

U.S.-FLAG cruise operator American Classic Voyages opened a new call center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to handle reservations and passenger services for its four brands, American Hawaii Cruises, Delta Queen Coastal Voyages, Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and United States Lines. The interim facility was opened to "upgrade the passenger services infrastructure and enhance customer service" in preparation for the company's move a new facility in Sunrise, Fla. The company's previous call center was located in New Orleans; the transition of the remaining New Orleans staff will be completed by September, said AMCV officials.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INT'L will hold a press conference Aug. 21 with officials from the state of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans to announce "the placement of an additional ship and additional sailings in the Gulf of Mexico for the winter 2002-2003 season." A company official in Miami declined to comment further on the press briefing, scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Port of New Orleans administration building auditorium.

SEADREAM Yacht Club, the luxury cruise operator formed earlier this month by Seabourn Cruise Line founder Atle Brynestad, hired Bruce Setloff as director of business development, said Larry Pimentel, SeaDream's president. Setloff was most recently director of worldwide charter and incentive sales for Cunard Line Ltd. Setloff reports to Bob Lepisto, SeaDream's vp-sales and marketing.

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