PRINCESS CRUISES this summer will move the Grand
Princess out of Europe, due to what the line said was
lower-than-expected demand for Mediterranean vacations. Instead of
12-day Mediterranean itineraries, the 2,600-passenger ship will
stay in the Caribbean this summer and offer seven-day eastern and
western Caribbean sailings. Sister ship the Golden Princess will
continue to sail in the Mediterranean as planned. The Golden
Princess, however, will show up in the Caribbean in summer 2004,
along with a yet-to-be-completed ship, which has been renamed the
Caribbean Princess from the Crown Princess. As its name suggests,
the Caribbean Princess will sail in the destination year-round
beginning with its maiden cruise May 17, 2004. This will be the
first time Princess has two ships sailing summer Caribbean routes.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE is close to becoming the
only cruise line that can sail interisland Hawaii cruises: Congress
approved a bill that includes a provision allowing the owner of
American Classic Voyages' former "Project America" vessels -- i.e.
NCL-- to re-register up to three cruise ships, including the
partially U.S.-built Project America ships, under the U.S. flag and
operate them in Hawaii without having to call in a foreign port.
The provision was altered slightly during Congressional conference
sessions, stipulating that the Hawaii-operated ships could not be
repositioned for revenue service in Alaska or the Gulf of
CREDIT FOR CANCELLATIONS
• Crystal Cruises revived its travel insurance program for
last-minute cancellations. With the program, travelers on voyages
between May 15 and Dec. 31 can cancel their cruise for any reason
up to three days before departure and receive 90% of the fare as a
future cruise credit. The program costs $200 per person for cruises
costing under $8,000 or 3% of the cruise fare for voyages more than
• Newly named Royal Olympia Cruises introduced its own
cancel-without-penalty policy for bookings made on the line's 2003
cruises between March and November. Passengers can cancel their
reservation up to 24 hours prior to sailing and receive a full
credit toward another ROC cruise taken within one year. Travel
agent commissions are protected on all final payments, the line
• Linda Ehlenberger resigned as vp-sales at Holland America Line
after 10 years with the company. A statement from HAL said an
"internal and external" search was being conducted for her
replacement, but that Ehlenberger will work with HAL as a
consultant for the time being.
• Mike Applebaum, meanwhile, resigned as vp-sales at Royal
Caribbean Int'l. The line is not looking to replace that position,
a spokeswoman said.
CELEBRITY CRUISES is rolling out some of the
onboard improvements it talked about last year as part of its
"brand transformation" program: expanded hours and added options in
the spas; additional cuisine choices; frosty towels and sorbet
service at poolside; and increased opportunities for guests to
interact with the ship's officers (with or without sorbet in hand).
The line brought in Antony Papageorgiou, Celebrity's new director
of brand essence, and promoted George Traganis to manager of
onboard brand transformation.
CARNIVAL CORP. again received approval from
European Commission antitrust regulators for its merger with
P&O Princess. This latest nod relates to what a Carnival
spokesman called "a technical re-filing": Carnival's original
takeover proposal of P&O Princess was approved by the EC last
summer, but when Carnival agreed to offer P&O Princess
shareholders a dual-listed company deal, the revised plan had to be
re-examined by the EC. The merger offer will be presented to
P&O Princess' shareholders at its next extraordinary general
meeting, which will probably take place next month.