SILVERSEA CRUISES changed its commission payment
schedule effective March 4. Under the new policy, the luxury line
will issue commission checks on credit card bookings two weeks
prior to the sail date. The move stems, in part, from a decision by
credit card companies to put a reserve on Silversea's merchant
accounts -- in effect holding a percentage of Silversea's money.
This created a "cash crunch" that has since been resolved, said a
Silversea spokeswoman. In addition, she said, many clients book
Silversea cruises far in advance and then cancel or change their
bookings several times, causing the line to recall a large number
of commission checks.
SOME U.S. SEAPORTS will get a financial boost
from the Transportation Dept. to improve port security. Congress
set aside $93.3 million for port security assessments and
enhancements under the new Port Security Grants Program, headed up
by the Transportation Security Administration. Officials from the
DOT, the Maritime Administration and the Coast Guard will award the
grants, starting in June, to ports they feel have the "most urgent
needs from a homeland security perspective." DOT secretary Norman
Mineta said the program will speed up the installation of enhanced
port security measures for passengers and cargo.
WAIT-Y DEVELOPMENT: The World of ResidenSea's
inaugural voyage has been postponed -- again. The ship was
scheduled to embark on its maiden trip March 4, but a spokeswoman
for ResidenSea said "bureaucratic issues" had come up between the
Fosen Mek shipyard in Norway and the line. She declined to provide
further details, and a new sail date has not been set.
PASSENGERS booked on Royal Caribbean Int'l and
Celebrity Cruises now can view and change flight itineraries and
finalize flight plans 60 days before sailing. Passengers booking
their air through Royal Caribbean's Custom Air service can choose
and secure their flights; itineraries not secured through Custom
Air are subject to change until the time of ticketing, usually four
weeks prior to sailing. A $50 fee ($75 on international flights) is
added for using Custom Air.
CARNIVAL CORP. began the regulatory review
process with the European Commission Feb. 27, when the line
submitted a notification of its proposed takeover of P&O
WATER BEDS: Cruise ship event management
company Landry & Kling is in charge of contracting with cruise
lines to provide extra beds in Jacksonville, Fla., during Super
Bowl XXXIX (That's 39 for the Roman-numerally challenged). The
Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee said it wants eight to 10
ships to be berthed within walking distance of ALLTEL Stadium,
ultimately providing more than 8,000 additional rooms in the city.
Don't worry about making your C-class reservations this week,
though: Super Bowl XXXIX isn't until 2005.
BABY ON BOARD: Carnival Cruise Lines launched a
stroller rental program on its newest ship, the Carnival Pride, and
parents can pick up a stroller for $6 per day or $25 per week.
Stroller rentals will be provided on other Carnival ships if the
Pride's pilot program proves successful.