Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: December 11, 2001

PASSENGERS WHO BOOK any of Crystal Cruises' 10 sailings to the Orient, Scandinavia or Russia in 2002 will receive a two-for-one discount for nearly 50 departures in 2003 on either Crystal Harmony or Crystal Symphony, under the company's "Crystal Dividends" program. The discount applies to every stateroom category, excluding penthouse accommodations. The 10 cruises will be offered between March and July, and include 14- and 15-day cruises between Yokohama and Beijing, 12-day Baltic cruises and 10-day Pacific voyages.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE named Noel DeChambeau director of marketing and sales, a newly created position under which he will oversee sales promotions, marketing initiatives and travel agent relations for HAL's cruises, tours and land programs in Alaska. DeChambeau joins HAL from sister-brand Windstar Cruises, where he was director of charter and incentive sales. Prior to Windstar, he served as HAL's product manager for Alaska cruise-tours from 1991 to 1999.

ADVENTURE-CRUISE specialist Cruise West launched a "Peace of Mind Travel Assurance" option that allows passengers who book 2002 voyages or cruise-tours to cancel or postpone without penalty up to 90 days prior to departure. Vacationers who buy the travel insurance are eligible to receive cash refunds if they cancel their booking for any reason covered under the policy. In other news, Cruise West is offering free air fare for vacationers from Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona who book a seven-night or longer cruise by Feb. 15.

FIRST EUROPEAN CRUISES' 1,500-passenger European Stars will offer weekly sailings from Barcelona to Marseilles, Genoa, Naples, Messina, Malta and Palma de Mallorca, upon its debut in March, company officials said. European Stars is a sister vessel to European Vision, which launched in June. First European, the North American marketing arm for Genoa-based Festival Cruises, attracts 20% of its passenger base from the U.S., said Makis Xenatos, the company's CEO.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE will introduce an MBNA MasterCard just prior to January's "Wave" period, according to a company spokeswoman. NCL will market the card to past passengers, and travel agents will receive a $25 commission for every client who applies for the card and activates it.

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