Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter June 24, 2003

ASTA plans to file a class-action lawsuit this week against the bankruptcy estate of Renaissance Cruises on behalf of travel agents who received a summons seeking the return of commissions for canceled sailings. Renaissance ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Lauderdale in September 2001. According to a copy of a summons obtained by Travel Weekly, the Renaissance Cruises' liquidating trust is seeking to recall commissions on cruises that never sailed, but were paid for within the year prior to the bankruptcy filing on Sept. 25, 2001, as well as commissions paid after the bankruptcy filing date that were "not authorized" by the court.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES' Jubilee will undergo a refurbishment and be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in fall 2004. The 1,486-passenger Jubilee, one of the smallest ships in the Carnival fleet, will become the largest ship based year-round in Australia and will more than double the size of the P&O Cruises operations in the region. The announcement was made during Carnival's first annual shareholders meeting with the former P&O Princess, held Monday in Southampton, England.

DISNEY CRUISE LINE will add Antigua on two 2004 sailings and San Juan on three sailings of the Disney Magic. In addition, the Magic will offer the line's first 10-day itinerary on Dec. 18, 2004, which includes a new call in St. Lucia.

AN EIGHTH CREW MEMBER died as a result of the May 25th boiler explosion onboard Norwegian Cruise Line's ocean liner the Norway. NCL said the five other crewmembers who had been hospitalized were released last week. Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board and the U.S. Coast Guard completed their onsite investigation of the explosion; NCL said it is finalizing the ship's repair plans.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES had a busy week. Among its announcements:
• The corporation appointed Luis Leon its executive vice president and CFO. Leon formerly was CFO for Graphic Packaging International Corp.
• The Nordic Empress rescued two people from a capsized 50 foot racing sailboat about 80 miles northwest of Bermuda on June 20. Earlier this month the Radiance of the Seas rescued three men from a capsized boat near Vancouver.
• A new "Get Out There" Royal Caribbean International road show focused on "land-locked travelers" debuted and will make 60 stops in U.S. cities through the end of next year.
• The line plans to restore the reef surrounding its private Bahamian island, Coco Cay. Sovereign of the Seas crew will help place "reef balls," which resemble giant concrete whiffle balls, in the water to assist in coral growth.

PODS WITH KA-POW: The Queen Mary 2 was fitted with four Rolls Royce Mermaid propulsion pods, which will propel the ship through the water at nearly 30 knots, Cunard said. The QM2's pods were in the spotlight earlier this year, when they were pulled and sent back to the manufacturer for additional testing.

STAR CRUISES' SuperStar Leo and SuperStar Virgo will return to their homeports of Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively, in July. The two ships were pulled from the ports in April and deployed to Australia after SARS broke out in the Asian cities.

ROYAL OLYMPIA CRUISE LINES posted a $26.7 million loss for the fiscal year ending November 2002, compared with a $25.5 million loss in 2001. The line, formerly known as Royal Olympic Cruise Lines, said additional costs from the Olympia Explorer as well as after-effects of 9/11 impacted the company's results. Revenue decreased slightly, to $127.7 million, "reflecting the lower ticket prices that had to be applied due to market conditions," Royal Olympia said. Operating expenses such as additional dry-docking, a write-down of spare parts, increased insurance and port expenses and additional expenses related to the Olympia Explorer, increased by 8%, to $101.1 million.

CORRECTION: The Ultra-Voyager cruise ship, if built by Royal Caribbean Cruises, would carry 3,600 passengers. Incorrect information appeared in the June 17 Cruise E-letter.

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