Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: July 23, 2002

A SOURCE CLOSE TO the European Commission's investigation of Carnival Corp.'s bid for P&O Princess echoed reports in European financial newspapers that the EC might clear Carnival's bid, and likely without asking the line to sell off any of its assets. The cruise industry, meanwhile, is holding its collective breath, as an official decision from the EC could come this week. However, even with the EC's blessing, a wedding is far from certain: Carnival's proposal, as well as the rival bid from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., is still awaiting a decision from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. And, if all companies pass all regulatory hurdles, P&O Princess shareholders still have to decide with whom they want to partner.

A PROPOSED HIKE in tolls, and fees for the use of the Panama Canal, would work out to an additional $20 per passenger charge, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association said -- and cruise lines are not happy about it. In fact, one cruise exec said such an increase could prompt the line to consider deploying its ships away from the Panama Canal. The FCCA made an oral presentation at the Panama Canal Authority's public hearing Friday regarding the proposed 13% rate hike. "The cruise industry uses only 2% of the volume of the Panama Canal, but we pay 4% of the revenue," said FCCA president Michelle Paige. The PCA said it will review all submissions and make its recommendations to the Canal's Board of Directors.

LESS THAN a week after Holland America announced it is eliminating its calls to India on the Prinsendam, the U.S. State Dept. withdrew its travel warning to the area. But, HAL said, it's committed to the new 2002 Prinsendam schedule: The Sept. 25 cruise from Cape Town, South Africa, to Mumbai will be shortened to end instead at Mombasa, Kenya, and a previously planned Oct. 17 cruise to Singapore from Mumbai instead will depart Mombasa on Oct. 13. HAL added that it does plan on calling in India in 2003.

CEO SHAKEUPS: The World of ResidenSea named hospitality bigwig Robert Riley president and CEO. Riley replaces Fredy Dellis, who resigned but will remain on ResidenSea's board of directors. Meanwhile, Intrav Inc., the parent company of Clipper Cruise Line (and upscale tour firm Intrav), appointed David Drier CEO, effective Aug. 1. Drier, the firm's senior vp-operations, replaces Ian Coghlan.

• Celebrity's Horizon will sail four, eight-day Bermuda cruises roundtrip from Philadelphia starting Sept. 21, 2003. The series will mark Celebrity's first cruises from the City of Brotherly Love since the Horizon was briefly repositioned there from New York after Sept. 11.
• Carnival Cruise Lines will offer daylong stops in Belize on new five-day itineraries from Miami on the Imagination, beginning Sept. 2.
• Radisson Seven Seas Cruises set itineraries for the inaugural season of the Seven Seas Voyager, which will debut with a 13-day Monte Carlo, Monaco, to Venice, Italy, sailing next April 1. The Voyager will spend most of next year in Europe, before repositioning to the U.S. in November.

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