Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter June 10, 2003

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE Monday cancelled another three months of cruises on the Norway, effective through the ship's Sept. 28 voyage. A boiler on the ship exploded during a turnaround in Miami on May 25, killing seven crew. "Although a detailed work specification has yet to be finalized," NCL said in a statement, "it is becoming clearer, with each additional day of inspections, that the repair work is likely to take months rather than weeks." Future Norway passengers will be given a full refund and a $50 credit, good for one year; agent commissions will be protected at 10% on bookings paid in full by June 8. Last week the line confirmed it was contacting shipyards regarding the Norway repairs. Meanwhile, five crew members who were being treated for injuries related to the explosion were discharged from the hospital. Four crew members remain hospitalized; one is in critical condition.

THE NUMBER of cruise passengers who cruised on Cruise Line Int'l Assn.-member lines jumped 23% over first-quarter 2002, to 2.2 million in first-quarter 2003. Of the total, 1.9 million were North Americans, which represented a 20% increase over the first three months of 2002. First-quarter industry occupancy was 101.3%, CLIA said. CLIA chairman Mark Conroy said the numbers were "an encouraging vote of confidence."

RESIDENSEA introduced the ultimate commission offer: Travel agents can make 50% commission--that's the big five-o--on two cruises this summer on its floating condominium, the World. The departures are a 10- to 12-day cruise from San Francisco to Ensenada that embarks Aug. 26, 27 or 28, and a 13-day roundtrip Mexico cruise from San Diego on Sept. 6. The line said the extraordinary commission level is meant to attract new agent partners to the one-ship line and, of course, to sell cabins on the World.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN AND CELEBRITY CRUISES revamped the price structure of their travel insurance to parallel the per-person price of the cruise. Previously, insurance was purchased based on the cruise length and destination.

DELTA QUEEN Steamboat Co. reestablished its preferred-supplier pacts with AAA, Liberty Travel, TravelSavers, Virtuoso and MAST Vacation Partners. It also forged new ones with Cruise and Vacation Specialists, and Cruise and Travel Stores. Under its national accounts program, member agents can earn up to 15% commission.

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