Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: June 4, 2002

THE AMERICAN WEST Steamboat Co. said it expects to take possession of the Columbia Queen, a former American Classic Voyages' Delta Queen Steamboat Co. vessel, by mid-July. American West submitted the highest bid for the Columbia Queen, according to a company official. Meanwhile, the remaining Delta Queen Steamboat ships, the Delta Queen, the Mississippi Queen and the American Queen, were sold to Delaware North Cos. Friday.

MONDAY WAS "Prinsendam Day" in New York, by official proclamation of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. All of HAL's 10,000 employees are serving as godparents; since that would make the dock a little crowded, three company executives broke the champagne bottle at the ship's dedication proceedings.

MEANWHILE, HAL senior vp-marketing and sales David Giersdorf said the line was investing $50 million in its Alaska tour programs. The money will go to new rail cars, motorcoaches and hotel expansions and improvements. The line's 2003 cruisetour program includes 16 new or revised itineraries, HAL said.

SEATTLE IS HOT, and it's getting hotter now that Princess is homeporting two ships there in 2003 for the Alaska season (bringing the total number of Princess ships in Alaska next year to six). The Star Princess and the Diamond Princess will join the Norwegian Sky, the Norwegian Sun and HAL's Amsterdam there.

CARNIVAL CORP. said it is not interested in selling Cunard Line in order to get regulatory clearance to acquire P&O Princess. However, Carnival said it would consider disposing of P&O Princess' U.K. brand P&O Cruises-UK if necessary. The announcement from Carnival came in response to a "fair amount of unfounded speculation" from the U.K. press on the Cunard question, a Carnival spokeswoman said. And, she added: "This is not a reaction to the statement of objections" that the European Commission sent Carnival in mid-May.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN and Celebrity Cruises revamped their agent Web site at Company officials said their daily hits have doubled since the site relaunch. "We didn't do this on our own," said Barbara Shrut, vp-customer loyalty and e-marketing. "We went out and asked agents, 'What do you want?' "

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