THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL and Prevention
received reports of 21 outbreaks of "acute gastroenteritis" on 17
cruise ships between January and Dec. 2. In 2001, the CDC received
reports of seven outbreaks. The agency classifies an outbreak as
more than 3% of passengers or 3% of crew displaying symptoms. "It
looks as though there has been a change between 2001 and 2002, but
two points do not make a trend," said Elaine Cramer, a medical
epidemiologist with CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program. According to
CDC's research, she said, between 1990 and 2000 the agency found a
decline in outbreak-related diarrheal illnesses.
THOSE 2002 FIGURES do not include a recent
outbreak on the Carnival Conquest, which sails seven-day round-trip
cruises from New Orleans. About 229 out of 3,160 guests reported
symptoms of gastroenteritis on board the Conquest, Carnival's
newest cruise ship, which returned to port Dec. 15--and departed
again, after "aggressive sanitizing."
MEANWHILE, P&O Cruises' Oceana skipped a
visit to St. Maarten on Dec. 10 after St. Maarten government
officials ruled that all passengers with Norwalk-like virus
symptoms could not debark, and healthy passengers wouldn't have had
enough time to visit the island, said P&O. According to an
official from the CDC, 269 of 1,862 passengers and 24 of 871 crew
members aboard the Oceana reported suffering from gastrointestinal
illness. The ship left Fort Lauderdale Nov. 29 and returned Dec.
NO CANCELLATION OUTBREAK... AAA surveyed its 32
AAA Clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada and found 93% reported no
increase in cruise cancellations following the much-publicized
stomach virus outbreaks on cruise ships.
CHICAGO'S PRITZKER family is planning to split
up its $15 billion empire, which includes a 25% stake in Royal
Caribbean Cruises, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sources
told the paper no final decisions have been made. The report
indicated a breakup could take several years to unwind, and Robin
Farley, an analyst with UBS Warburg, said there is "not likely to
be any immediate impact."
SILVERSEA CRUISES expanded its Personalized
Voyages program to its entire four-ship fleet beginning with
January sailings. The program, originally slated to roll out next
year aboard the Silver Cloud, was expanded because of the favorable
response, according to CEO Albert Peter. Personalized Voyages
enables guests to custom-design their cruise vacation by choosing
the cruise length (minimum of five nights in a row) and their
embarkation and debarkation ports from a list of approved ports.
Rates are calculated on a per diem basis.
CRYSTAL CRUISES' yet-to-be-debuted Crystal
Serenity will handle the line's 2004 world cruise, which for the
first time will finish in New York. Crystal, meanwhile, completed a
multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the Crystal Harmony, which
included new spa facilities, the addition of a Connoisseur Club and
remodeled public rooms.
PORT EVERGLADES said a record 3.5 million
passengers sailed from the Fort Lauderdale-area port, a 13.5%
increase this fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, over the same
period last year. Cruise revenue increased by 26%, to $25.6 million
in fiscal year 2002.
IT'S A GIRL! Holland America Line's Zuiderdam,
which was christened by Joan Lunden Saturday, set sail on its
maiden voyage from Fort Lauderdale, and the Navigator of the Seas,
Royal Caribbean Int'l's newest baby, also departed Saturday on its
maiden voyage, from Miami. The Norwegian Dawn, meanwhile, was
christened Monday in New York by "Sex and the City" star Kim
Cattrall. The one missing from the lineup is the Coral Princess:
Delivery from the yard was delayed for a second time, forcing the
line to postpone its inaugural Panama Canal sailing from Dec. 24 to