Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: January 15, 2002

LOVE-BOAT TRIANGLE: P&O Princess rejected an offer to meet with Carnival Corp. to discuss Carnival's hostile takeover bid, saying Carnival has not made a proposal it believes is "superior financially and deliverable" to the one made by Royal Caribbean Cruises. P&O had said it would consider an improved offer from Carnival through Friday. Carnival, meanwhile, said it cannot make another proposal to P&O shareholders until it meets with P&O to discuss "poison pill arrangements" in the Royal Caribbean agreement; Carnival also is asking P&O shareholders to postpone its Feb. 14 vote on the Royal Caribbean deal.

REPORTS THAT Carnival Cruise Lines is moving employees to a new location in Broward County, Fla., and hiring personnel to handle direct sales are "overblown," a Carnival spokesman said. The original idea was to lease extra space for a Carnival call center; but after Sept. 11, plans were shelved -- for now -- and Carnival found 20,000 square feet of space for current employees in a building across the street from its Miami headquarters. Carnival enacted a hiring freeze last year and has no plans to hire "personal vacation planners," the name Carnival gives to consumer sales agents who handle calls and Internet inquiries, said the spokesman.

WINDSTAR CRUISES submitted a formal application with French Polynesia to allow the Wind Song to once again ply Tahitian waters. Windstar vp-sales and marketing Tom Russell said he "feels very strongly" that government officials would approve the application, but he stressed that it had not yet been done. If Windstar gets the green light, the Wind Song would reposition from New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti, for a series of seven-night cruises. Wind Song cruised Tahiti for 10 years; after its agreement with the French Polynesian government expired in 1997, the ship was moved to southeast Asia.

SECURITY MEASURES at U.S. cruise terminals remain at the highest level possible, but additional funds will be needed to cover additional Congressional security mandates, according to Ted Thompson, executive vice president of the International Council of Cruise Lines. "All the additional security measures that we have put in place are consuming resources and money at a rapid pace," Thompson told the Senate Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee during a field hearing on seaport and ship passenger security. Thompson said new technology that can detect plastic weapons and biological and chemical agents must be developed to aid in port and passenger security. And he said that the Coast Guard does not have the resources to adequately handle waterside security patrols.

CRUISING'S "WAVE PERIOD" is gearing up. Norwegian Cruise Line launched its annual "Sale of all Sails" promotion with a two-category upgrade on all 2002 sailings and, on select cruises, 50% discounts, four-category upgrades and $50 shipboard credits per stateroom. The sale applies to cruises booked through March 1.

MEANWHILE, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is offering a free cabin (minus port and handling charges) to travel agents who book one stateroom on any Panama Canal or Caribbean cruise on Radisson Diamond from Jan. 27 through April 9. The agent cabin is cruise-only, cannot be resold, and must be on the same sailing as the client's. The offer is good on nine Diamond cruises. For more information, call (800) 477-7500.

CELEBRITY CRUISES upgraded its Web site, www.celebritycruises.com, to include enhanced booking capabilities, bigger images, special promotions and destination information. Celebrity says the site now is more functional, easier to use, and portrays a "warmer, more inviting look and feel."

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