CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
will eliminate the
preferential pricing it gives large retailers and Internet agencies
for individual bookings." If you want to take a certain seven-day
cruise on a certain date," explained Carnival president Bob
Dickinson, "the price for the same category on Expedia, Orbitz,
Travelocity, 'Bob's Travel', Cruise Holidays, American Express,
Carnival and everybody else will be exactly the same." The new
policy, which will take effect within the next 30 days, is aimed at
restoring "price stability" to the marketplace, Dickinson said.
"The rest of the industry may or may not follow us," he said. The
line also will reduce the discounts given on group bookings from
the current $100 down to $50 per booking.
PRICE DIFFERENCES on Carnival cruises will
continue to surface through agencies that voluntary rebate
commissions. But Dickinson said the rebates are "relatively small
dollars," compared to base-price differentials, which could
typically run $100 per passenger.
TRAVELOCITY rolled out new technology yesterday
that allows consumers to book a cruise and the accompanying air
tickets in the same transaction. Shoppers have the option of
choosing between a selection of flights that coincide with the
ship's embarkation and debarkation schedules -- flights that might
arrive in Miami at 11 a.m. for a ship's 5 p.m. departure, for
example -- and the cruise line's own air package. Previously, said
Bryan Salzburg, Travelocity's vice president-cruises, if consumers
weren't buying the cruise line's air/sea package they would have to
return to Travelocity's main screen to purchase the air component
of the package.
THE NORWAY, Norwegian Cruise Line's damaged
ocean liner, will not sail again until spring 2004 -- at the
earliest. The ship, which suffered a boiler explosion in May, had
been slated to return Oct. 5, but that timetable was too ambitious
for any boiler manufacturer to meet, NCL said in a statement. All
passengers booked and deposited on the Norway will receive a full
refund and a $50 onboard credit per person to switch to other NCL
ships if they rebook by Sept. 30. Passengers eager to sail on the
Norway should hold off, at least for now: NCL will take the ship
off sale, saying "it would not be fair or appropriate to announce a
further launch date." The ship will lay up at the Lloyd Werft
repair yard in Bremerhaven, Germany, until a final decision has
been made on which yard will win the repair contract.
IT IS "NO LONGER NECESSARY" for cruise lines to
screen and monitor passengers for SARS symptoms, the International
Council of Cruise Lines said. "The SARS virus appears to be
presently contained," ICCL said in a statement. "We will however
remain vigilant to any threats and take appropriate actions to
ensure that cruising remains the safest vacation available to the
traveling public." Guidelines adopted in April included requiring
embarking passengers to fill out a questionnaire related to their
recent travel history; and barred passengers from sailing if they
had passed through SARS hot-spots like Hong Kong and mainland
CELEBRITY CRUISES -- and parent Royal Caribbean
Cruises -- took a fairly big hit July 16 when Celebrity canceled
today's sailing of the Millennium on a Mediterranean itinerary. The
ship's port-side, thrust-bearing unit needed to be replaced after
it showed "premature wear," Celebrity president Jack Williams said.
Passengers on the canceled cruise, which was to sail from Barcelona
to Venice, will receive a full refund, plus a free future cruise.
The ship is slated to be back in service Aug. 2. Celebrity's
Millennium-class ships have had periodic problems with their
propulsion systems; Celebrity placed the Millennium in drydock in
early 2001 to fix an electric motor on one of its two Mermaid
propulsion units. Meanwhile, the Summit returned to service after
it was sidelined for two days for repairs -- the ship had touched
bottom while leaving Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.