CELEBRITY CRUISES is the latest cruise line to
announce plans for a Galveston, Texas, homeport. The line's Galaxy
will sail 10- and 11-day Panama Canal cruises from the city
beginning in November 2004. Galveston has become a busy cruise port
since Carnival Cruise Lines began sailing there in 2000: Celebrity
will join sister brand Royal Caribbean International as well as
Carnival and Princess Cruises in town next fall. Norwegian Cruise
Line, meanwhile, will base a ship right up the channel in Houston.
PRINCESS CRUISES' twin 2,670-passenger ships
the Diamond Princess and the Sapphire Princess will sail Mexican
Riviera itineraries in fall 2004. The Sapphire Princess next year
will offer a new itinerary for Princess: 10-day cruises from San
Francisco. The Diamond Princess, meanwhile, will offer seven-day
roundtrip cruises from Long Beach, Calif., a new homeport for the
line. The ships, both of which are still under construction in
Japan, will debut next spring and sail in Alaska before
repositioning down the coast in September 2004.
AS PROMISED, ASTA FILED suit on behalf of seven
agent members against the Renaissance Cruises estate, which is
seeking to recall millions of dollars in agency commissions for
sailings that were canceled when the line ceased operations in
September 2001. The plaintiffs, who are seeking class-action status
for the suit, requested an emergency hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy
Court in the Southern District of Florida in Fort Lauderdale to
thwart Renaissance's efforts to recall the commissions.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES' second-quarter revenue
rose 10.2% to $905.8 million, compared with $821.8 million in the
comparable quarter in 2002, the line said Monday. Net income,
however, fell $11 million to $55.7 million, compared with $66.7
million in second-quarter 2002. Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said
profits were better-than-anticipated because of "a dramatic pick-up
in business" following the Iraq war. Wave-season booking had been
PRINCESS CRUISES cut its booking-option period
to 24 hours for all cruises booked within four months of departure.
The change, effective Aug. 4, requires customers to make their
initial deposits within 24 hours of the booking confirmation,
rather than seven days, as is currently allowed. Princess said the
new policy is designed to help agents close sales.
PRINCESS MARGRIET of the Netherlands christened
the Oosterdam during a pier-side ceremony in Rotterdam Tuesday. The
Oosterdam was docked bow-to-bow with Holland America Line's
flagship the Rotterdam, which had arrived in town just for the
festivities. The Oosterdam's champagne bottle was rigged next to
the Rotterdam's bridge, and, as the princess named the ship, the
champagne bottle slid down a wire and broke cleanly on the
Oosterdam's hull. The 1,848-passenger Oosterdam is the second in
HAL's 85,000-ton Vista series.
MEANWHILE, KIRK LANTERMAN, CEO of Holland
America Line, was named an Officer of the Order of Orange Nassau,
an honor bestowed by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Ivo
Opstelton, lord mayor of Rotterdam, presented the decoration to
Lanterman on board the Oosterdam during the inaugural festivities
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Norwegian Cruise Line's newly renamed Norwegian Crown will resume
fall foliage cruises next year and return to South America in 2004
and 2005. The 1,104-passenger Crown will sail 11- and 12-day fall
foliage cruises between Sept. 13 and Oct. 17, 2004, from Baltimore.
The ship also will offer a series of 14-day sailings between Buenos
Aires and Valparaiso, Chile.
• Oceania Cruises signed a preferred sales and marketing agreement
with National Leisure Group July 29.
• Star Cruises' SuperStar Leo and SuperStar Virgo are both back in
their respective homeports of Hong Kong and Singapore. The two
ships had temporarily been deployed to Australia after SARS broke
out in parts of Asia.
• Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Navigator will conclude
its first Bermuda season with four voyages -- on Aug. 27, Sept. 3,
Sept. 10 and Sept. 17 -- featuring top New York chefs from the
restaurants Zoe, the Four Seasons, and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar and