Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: May 14, 2002

THE PATRIOT GAMES are over as Holland America Line's former Nieuw Amsterdam is heading back into service in the U.K. HAL signed a long-term agreement to charter the ship to Cyprus-based Louis Cruises, which in turn subchartered the ship to Thomson Holidays. The U.K. operator will market the ship as the Thomson Spirit. The ship had sailed as the Patriot for the now-defunct American Classic Voyages line and was repurchased at auction by HAL in February.

DELAWARE NORTH COS. is making its first voyage into the cruise industry with its winning bid for American Classic Voyages' steamboats Mississippi Queen, American Queen and Delta Queen. The Buffalo, N.Y.-based holding company paid $80 million for the three ships at an auction in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on May 6; regulatory approval is expected within 21 days. According to the company, the steamboat operation will be managed for DNC by Dennis Szefel, president of its Hospitality and Entertainment Group. The company said it plans to keep the operation in New Orleans, where American Classic Voyages has its reservations and sales center, and intends to retain most of the employees.

CELEBRITY'S Constellation set sail Sunday on her maiden voyage. The ship's May 5 charter voyage was canceled after the line discovered a leak in the ship's starboard propulsion pod during sea trials.

DISNEY CRUISE LINES kicked off its new seven-day western Caribbean voyages on the Disney Magic Saturday. The Magic sails every other week to Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas.

WANDERING STAR: Norwegian Star settled on Kahului on Maui for its permanent port on the island. The Star previously called at Lahaina on Maui, where it had to anchor and use tenders to ferry passengers ashore. Kahului, on the opposite side of Maui from Lahaina, offers a dock where the Star can pull along side, a more convenient arrangement. In March, NCL changed its port call on the Big Island from Kona to Hilo for the same reason.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES made a slew of repositioning announcements for September 2003:
• Carnival Cruise Lines said its Jubilee will move from Galveston to operate a series of "unique" cruises: Seven ports in seven days. Usually, ships make three or four calls during a weeklong sailing. The Jubilee will depart from San Juan every Saturday and call in St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts and Tortola.
• The Elation, now based in Los Angeles, will fill the Galveston slot for the line's first seven-day western Caribbean cruises from that port. The line decided to offer longer cruises from Galveston because of the popularity of the port city, said Bob Dickinson, Carnival president.
• Meanwhile, the line's 2,124-passenger Pride, now based in Port Canaveral, Fla., will be moved to the new cruise terminal in Long Beach, Calif., for seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises.

SEADREAM Yacht Club teamed with Buddy Bombard's European Balloon Adventures to introduce Flights of Fancy, a program that adds a hot-air balloon package to SeaDream's seven-day Mediterranean cruises. The balloon trips are available either pre- or post- cruise, depending on the sailing date, and will float over France's Burgandy, Tuscany or Loire Valley regions. Prices for the combined program start at $9,190 per person, double, and the trips range from 11 to 14 days, depending on the length of the balloon program. Air fare is not included.

PROMOTION MANIA
• Norwegian Cruise Lines introduced a "Freestyle National Holiday" promotion. For agents who book an NCL cruise before July 4, the line is offering agents a variety of gifts based on the number of cruises they sell, plus a chance to win one of five NCL cruises (grand prize is Independence Day weekend in New York in 2003, followed by a seven-day Bahamas/Florida cruise on the Norwegian Dawn). Plus, 40 agents will receive barbecue "party packs" with enough grub to feed 10 people, delivered right to their door. God Bless America.
• Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is offering free roundtrip economy airfare from select gateways for Tahiti cruises on the Paul Gaugin Sept. 7 and 14 and Dec. 14. Guests also receive $500 per person bonus savings and extended Early Booking Savings.
• Silversea, meanwhile, launched an aggressive price and incentive deal: Under its new Simplicity Pricing promotion, the line set a pre-assigned savings amount to particular voyages between June 29 and Dec. 22; depending on the voyage selected, guests can save up to 50% on a Vista or Veranda cabin. An accompanying Profit Sharing program for agents gives retailers a flat cash award based on the number of suites confirmed under the Simplicity Pricing program.
• SeaDream linked with Air France to offer discounts of up to 46% on the airline's Concorde flights to and from the Continent for the cruise line's Mediterranean series.

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