THE CABINET COUNCIL of Panama approved an average
12.5% increase in fees for ships using the Panama Canal. The
increase will be staggered, with 8% going into effect Oct. 1 and
the remaining 4.5% in July.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE will buy the partially
completed "Project America" ship that was under construction at
Northrop Grumman's Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi, but NCL's
executive vp-sales and marketing Andrew Stuart said the ship would
not necessarily sail in Hawaii, where the former American Classic
Voyages had planned to deploy it. Stuart said the purchase was "not
related" to discussions the line has been having with Hawaii Sen.
Daniel Inoyue about expanding NCL's Hawaii offerings -- NCL
currently is the only line offering year-round Hawaii cruises. The
partially completed hull will be floated to Europe for completion;
the ship will fly a foreign flag, which would subject the ship to
U.S. cabotage laws. NCL also purchased the materials from Northop
Grumman for the second Project America ship but has not decided if
it will build that ship.
THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION will recover a
minimum of $2 million of the $187 million in loan guarantees it
paid Ingalls shipyard for work completed on the first ship. In
1999, Marad agreed to provide $1.1 billion in loan guarantees to
Ingalls to finance construction of the two ships. Work was stopped
on the ship last October after AMCV filed for bankruptcy.
WHILE LAUNCHING THE LEGEND, Carnival Cruise
Line's first ship in Europe, Carnival executives were on hand to
talk about the company, and the cruise industry:
• Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison said he believes the chances
of Federal Trade Commission approval for Carnival's hostile bid for
P&O Princess are now "less than 50-50." Competitor Royal
Caribbean's narrow view of the cruise market could affect both
competing companies' plans for Princess, a spokesman said.
• Carnival Cruise Lines could make as many as 11 calls in Bermuda
next year. Details are still being worked out, and it's too early
to tell if those calls would be made with one ship or several.
• There is not enough dock space in St. Thomas for the number of
ships that visit the most popular Caribbean destination, and
Carnival is urging the USVI to develop the Crown Bay docking area
on St. Thomas to accommodate larger ships. "USVI is losing share,
at this point, to other destinations," the spokesman said. "There
are too many ships anchored."
CRUISE FRANCHISOR Cruise Planners will
guarantee its buy-in franchise fee. Agents who sign the standard
Cruise Planner three-year contract before Dec. 31 can back out of
the deal and get a full refund of their initial fee.
CRYSTAL CRUISES launched an early-booking
incentive program with $400 to $1,000 discounts per
double-occupancy stateroom for new bookings made before Dec. 31. A
Crystal spokeswoman said the promotion, called "Best of
Everything," was the first early-booking program the line has
launched in "a long time." She added, "There are some cruises
moving slower than we'd like. We wanted to do something dramatic."
The promotion includes discounts on more than one-third of the
company's voyages for 2003, including some on the Crystal Serenity,
which will debut in July 2003.
WINDSTAR, meanwhile, is offering early booking
discounts of $250 to $500 on all 2003 cruises booked by Oct. 15,
which represents 30% to 60% savings off the brochure rates, a
SHIRLEY SLATER, 67, a Travel Weekly and Travel
Age contributor, died Friday of complications following
chemotherapy. With her husband, Harry Basch, Slater also wrote the
biweekly "Cruise Views" column for the Los Angeles Times travel
section and wrote several books and articles on RV vacations.
Slater and Basch were presented with ASTA's Melva C. Pederson award
during the 1990 World Congress in Hamburg, Germany.