Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: December 4, 2001

AN ENGINEER was killed and five Carnival Cruise Lines passengers suffered minor injuries Dec. 2 when a historic shore excursion train operating near the Panama Canal struck another engine that was stopped on the tracks. About 217 passengers from Carnival Cruise Lines' 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit were aboard the train when the accident occurred. A Carnival spokesman said it was too early to determine the cause of the accident. The Panama Canal Isthmian Railway, which is operated by an American railroad company not connected to Carnival, suspended operations indefinitely after the accident. The train operates a one-track service that runs along the Panama Canal from Colon to Panama City.

CELEBRITY CRUISES will follow the successful move of the Galaxy to Baltimore by adding new cruises from that harbor to New England and Canada. The Galaxy will depart May 27 and Sept. 9 from Baltimore on 11-night cruises that will call in Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia; Quebec City, Quebec, and Portland, Maine, and cruise on the Saguenay River. Fares start at $1,199 per person, double occupancy.

THE RENAISSANCE CRUISES ships R1, R2, R5, R6, R7 and R8 were sold to Cruiseinvest LLC, a Marshall Islands-based company, during auctions held in Gibraltar and Tilbury, England. The company will be headed by Dominique Prunier, former CFO of Festival Cruises. Cruiseinvest is reported to be setting up a representative office in Paris, which will oversee the management of the fleet. The technical management of the fleet will be handled by Martinoli S.A.M., a ship-management company based in Monaco. It will be marketed by American Marine Advisors, a New York-based investment bank that will seek to sell or lease the ships to cruise operators.

STEINER LEISURE renewed its agreement with Princess Cruises to provide spa and fitness programs aboard its existing ships and four new vessels -- the Coral Princess, the Diamond Princess, the Island Princess and the Star Princess. The extension expires in December.

HEAVY CANCELLATIONS of U.S. bookings prompted by the events of Sept. 11 will depress Royal Olympic Cruises' final results for 2001, said Yiannos Pantazis, CEO of the Greek Isles specialist. "The [cancellations] will have a serious negative impact on the fourth quarter and, consequently the year-end numbers will show a higher loss than previously expected."

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