Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: September 11, 2001

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE to say you're sorry... or is it? Carnival's Vicki Freed, senior vp-sales and marketing, apologized to AAA travel agents for the line's commission cut on air/sea sales. Speaking at the group's annual Travel Industry Conference in Brussels, Freed said that with the airlines' recent decision to cap commissions, Carnival had little choice but to cut its air commissions. "For that I apologize," she said. With more capacity coming on line, Freed said, the cruise lines, including Carnival, will have "more of a reliance on travel agents, not less."

AN "INTERIM SUMMARY" of waste-disposal data compiled from Alaska-bound cruise ships during the 2001 season found "no problems with ambient air quality in downtown Juneau," a possible improvement on overall cruise-ship air emissions and "inconclusive information on wastewater discharges." However, a spokesman for Alaska's Dept. of Environmental Conservation, which compiled the information and released it Sept. 7, said, "We committed to release midseason data, [but] we're waiting for the rest of the picture before drawing conclusions." He also acknowledged that "until new waste water treatment systems using state-of-the-art technology are installed and proven," more than half of the large Alaska-bound ships are legally discharging black water outside the three-mile limit, leaving them out of the monitoring program as well.

• The DEC is reviewing 19 of 238 smokestack opacity readings for potential violations. The readings were taken in Juneau, Skagway and Haines.
• Twenty-nine wastewater samples from holding tanks of five ships show "considerable variability in conventional pollutants."

AMERICAN CLASSIC VOYAGES dropped commissions on the air portion of air-sea bookings from 10% to 5%, joining several other cruise lines. The reduction is effective for new bookings made after Oct. 29 and applies to the U.S.-flag operator's American Hawaii Cruises, Delta Queen Coastal Voyages, Delta Queen Steamboat Co. and United States Lines brands. Meanwhile, Viking River Cruises, the largest supplier in the river-cruise market, confirmed its commitment to pay a 12% commission on its European river-cruise packages, including air fare. And Renaissance Cruises is offering retailers a $50 per-booking bonus for new bookings made through Nov. 1 for all sailings departing through April 30. The bonus program applies to all new bookings but does not apply to group, reduced rate/fam or interline bookings.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES scheduled two pre-inaugural cruises aboard the 2,124-passenger, 85,000-ton Carnival Pride, which is in the final stages of construction at Kvaerner Masa-Yards in Helsinki, Finland. The Pride will offer a six-day New Year's cruise to the western Caribbean departing Miami Dec. 30 and a three-day Bahamas sailing departing Port Canaveral, Fla., on Jan. 9. The Pride's regular service will begin Jan 12, when the ship launches year-round, seven-day cruises from Port Canaveral.

BORA BORA CRUISES, a small-ship Tahitian cruise operator, joined CLIA. Bora Bora offers three-, four- and seven-day cruises in and around the islands of French Polynesia, including Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora. The line operates a 38-passenger vessel, Haumana, with plans to introduce two 74-passenger sister ships in December 2002. For more information, call Bora Bora at (866) 907-8148. The company's Web site address is

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI