CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES said it will pay Carlson
Wagonlit agents its industrywide preferred rate, even though the
agency group dropped the cruise line as a preferred supplier. Under
its defunct agreement with CWT, Carnival was paying Carlson agents
at a higher commission structure than its other preferred groups.
"They had, in a sense, a little sweeter of a deal, and we really
wanted to get everybody on an even playing field for national
accounts," Vicki Freed, Carnival's VP-sales and marketing, said.
IN OTHER CARNIVAL NEWS, the cruise line revised
the way it charges vacationers who want to opt out of a cruise. The
change applies to cruises of three to eight days in duration and
canceled between eight and 29 days before departure. Instead of
charging vacationers a flat fee for the cancellation, the line now
will impose a fee equal to half the cost of the booking. For
example, canceling a five-, six- or seven-day cruise eight to 29
days before embarkation used to carry a $350 penalty, regardless of
the cost of a cabin; now it will set back a consumer 50% of the
total booking. A Carnival spokeswoman called it a "more equitable"
way to handle cancellations.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE'S newest ship, the
Norwegian Star, will call at Hilo, Hawaii, instead of Kona through
March 31. A spokeswoman said the tendering operation in Kona was
taking too long during inclement winter weather. "Hilo has a dock
and people can get right on the ship," she said. NCL has not
decided if the Star will return to Kona for the summer.
WINDSTAR CRUISES' Wind Song will return to
Tahiti after a four-year absence. Windstar received approval from
the French Polynesian government to operate the 148-passenger yacht
in Tahitian waters. Wind Song will reposition from New Zealand to
Papeete, Tahiti, and will begin a series of 34 cruises May 14.
SPA OPERATOR Canyon Ranch is moving ahead on
its long-standing plan to build two cruise ships devoted to fitness
afloat. The Tuscon, Ariz.-based company agreed to a memo of
understanding with the Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Finland for the
construction of two 37,000-ton vessels. Deliveries tentatively are
scheduled for 2004 and 2005.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN said a lawsuit filed against
the company by a shareholder is "totally without merit." The suit,
filed in the llth Circuit Court of Florida in Miami, alleges that
the proposed merger between Royal Caribbean and P&O Princess
would subject the companies to U.S. tax liabilities. The lawsuit
seeks to stop a shareholder vote on the merger scheduled for Feb.
A MEMORIAL SERVICE will be conducted Feb. 6 in
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for Gary Brown, who died Wednesday of a
heart attack. Brown was CEO of the new Cruise and Vacation
Specialists consortium and former president of Cruise and Vacation
Shoppes of America. Brown sold the Cruise and Vacation Shoppes
network to Travelbyus two years ago, for which he worked until
SEAESCAPE ENTERTAINMENT, which operates day
cruises from Port Everglades, Fla., extended its charter of the
Island Adventure through March 31, pending a final agreement to
acquire the vessel. The charter of the 1,150-passenger ship was to
have expired Jan. 21. The Island Adventure recently underwent a