CRUISE EXECUTIVES pointed to post-Sept. 11
redeployments -- and a quicker-than-anticipated rebound in cruise
travel -- as an indication that the cruise industry could weather
an Iraq attack. "Ships move," noted Seabourn senior vp-sales and
marketing Richard Meadows. "You can redeploy your business mix.
And, you can adjust your pricing or add value to the product."
Added Dean Brown, Princess Cruises senior vp-sales and marketing,
"When you're a cruise line, you're in a constant state of
monitoring anyway. We're watching ... consumer demand, the appeal
of the destination, and the safety and security. And because we've
[redeployed] before, there's a procedure."
ONBOARD ILLNESS: Holland America's Amsterdam
was undergoing a deep cleaning and sanitizing process after 163
passengers and 18 crewmembers came down with a "Norwalk-like" virus
following a 10-day cruise in the southern Caribbean. The ship
returned to Fort Lauderdale Monday. A Holland America spokeswoman
said the cleaning process is being done in accordance with Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention regulations. There were 1,905
people on the ship.
FRED OLSEN Cruise Lines scrapped plans to
return to the U.S. next year, citing high costs and time-consuming
red tape at the U.S. ports it recently visited. The line, which
caters mostly to Europeans, canceled four U.S. cruises in 2003 on
its ship the Braemar, including two New York turnarounds. The line
will continue to market its cruises to U.S. passengers and keep its
membership in Cruise Lines Int'l Assn.
RESIDENSEA'S condo-at-sea the World became the
latest ship to revise its itineraries in southeast Asia to avoid
calls in Indonesia. The World will sail to Singapore from Australia
on March 29 and then cruise an eight-day roundtrip itinerary from
Singapore to Thailand and Malaysia.
SEADREAM YACHT CLUB inaugurated its winter
sailings from the port of Palm Beach Saturday with the
110-passenger SeaDream I. The vessel will sail seven-day cruises to
the Bahamas through Jan. 11, when it repositions to St. Thomas and
joins sister ship SeaDream II.
THE FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION proposed
eliminating the current $15 million maximum on cruise line
performance coverage. Ships departing from U.S. ports currently are
required to post a bond or other surety to protect passenger
deposits in the event of a cruise cancellation or bankruptcy. In
its public comments, the FMC noted the current ceiling was
insufficient to cover passenger compensation in several recent
bankruptcies. In August, the FMC eliminated self-insurance as a
coverage option. The FMC is accepting comments until Jan. 8.
EUROPE RIVER CRUISE operator Uniworld is
offering guests a new form of transportation to or from their
Europe cruise: transatlantic crossings on Cunard Line's Queen
Elizabeth 2. The QE2 trips can be taken as either pre- or
post-cruise options on 35 Uniworld Europe sailings in 2003; guests
have the option of spending up to five nights between cruises in a
hotel. Overall pricing for the combined sailings begin at less than
$3,500 per person for 13 nights, Uniworld said.
DESPITE LOSING merger partner P&O Princess,
there's still "a lot to like" about Royal Caribbean Cruises, UBS
Warburg analyst Robin Farley said. The company will not benefit
from margin improvement through a merger, but pricing and capacity
increases are moving in the right direction, Farley said. She
pointed to RCCL's accelerated delivery schedule for three of its
four upcoming ships as a "positive sign."
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE is now offering same-day
access to full editions of 150 different newspapers, including the
Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and USA Today. The
newspapers, which will be repackaged in a tabloid size, are
available on four NCL ships; the line plans to expand the service
fleetwide by the end of the year.