Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: May 21, 2002

CUNARD'S QE2 will make 16 final transatlantic crossings next year before bequeathing the New York-Southampton route to the new Queen Mary 2 in 2004. The QE2 will continue to do its annual World Cruise (which usually includes a transatlantic crossing as part of the itinerary) and will offer Europe cruises from its base in Southampton. The QM2 is under construction at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France.

ALASKA GOV. TONY KNOWLES' bill calling for a $30 head tax on the state's cruise ship passengers "can safely be pronounced dead, at least for this year," a spokesman said. "The legislature showed little inclination to deal with any revenue measures this session and on the final day of the regular session, the main proponent of the passenger tax announced his intent not to run for re-election." In addition, a measure calling for emergency tourism marketing funds "fell off the legislative radar a long time ago," the spokesman said, "as surveys no longer pointed to a decline in bookings and, in fact, pointed to a possible record cruise season ahead."

"BASICALLY WHAT WE'VE DONE is to be sure our chips are stacked in the right places." That's how Rod McLeod, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s vp-travel industry relations, described a move by the firm to increase the number of its key account managers and consolidate its sales regions in the U.S. from six to five. Said McLeod: "You look at the changing census of travel agencies, and that reflects a shift in the volume of business."

THE TROLLFJORD, Norwegian Coastal Voyages' newest ship, entered service May 18 after a series of delays at the Fosen Mek shipyard in Norway pushed back the delivery date by about two weeks. The ship's original maiden cruise on May 7 was canceled. The Trollfjord was christened May 14 in Trondheim and then sent on its way to Bergen, where it will operate NCV's "Hurtigruten" coastal service, sailing 12-day itineraries.

THE CARNIVAL LEGEND will shift its winter home to Fort Lauderdale from Miami, making it Carnival's first new ship to homeport there as well as the line's first long-term cruise operation from Fort Lauderdale in more than a decade. The Legend will sail alternating eight-day southern and western Caribbean cruises.

NORWEGIAN Cruise Lines' Norwegian Star, which operates in Hawaii, was diverted from last week's call at Fanning Island after one of two crew members who suffered steam burns during a boiler room mishap had to be airlifted to Honolulu. The ship's itinerary was altered to include a call in Kona as a result of the accident.

• Holland America Line launched a new travel agent promotion, creatively named "Summer Caribbean Sail-a-bration," to promote the Maasdam, which is sailing 13 Caribbean cruises.
• The World of ResidenSea was christened Friday in Venice, Italy, sandwiched between a masked ball Thursday and a gala celebration Friday night. Festivities aside, the ship sails next to Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival; a representative said the ship, as well as the accompanying Abercrombie & Kent shore tours in Cannes, are sold out.
• Carnival Cruise Lines implemented Amadeus Cruise into its on-line reservations system, following a six-week beta test. Travel agents in the U.S. and Canada with an Amadeus-connected computer can book Carnival cruises on-line.
• Princess Cruises opened its fifth Alaska property, the Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. The 85-room lodge, situated on the edge of Alaska's largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias, is included in Princess' cruise-tour program.
• Windstar will offer free or low-cost upgrades to business class on Lufthansa for its Europe-bound guests. Prices vary depending on departure city and cruise itinerary.

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