Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: September 17, 2002

THE CRUISE INDUSTRY has rebounded dramatically since last September, CLIA said. The association, which represents 23 North American cruise lines and 17,000 affiliated travel agencies, reported a 3.8% increase in the number of cruisers in the first half of 2002 compared with the same period in 2001. It said more than 3.6 million North American vacationers have taken cruises so far in 2002, compared with nearly 3.5 million in the first half of last year. CLIA said the cruise industry is on track to meet its target of a record 7.4 million North American passengers this year.

AN ATTORNEY for a group of disabled passengers who filed a lawsuit against Norwegian Cruise Line in August 2000 said they would appeal last week's decision by judge John D. Rainey, of U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, who said NCL will not have to make any structural changes to its ships as a result of the suit. Rainey also ruled the court will hear the plaintiffs' other discrimination claims. NCL said the lawsuit was "completely without merit" and said the line "provides appropriate accessibility accommodations to all its passengers."

THREE-QUARTERS of the bookings for studio residences and available apartments aboard the World of ResidenSea are coming from travel agents, according to ResidenSea president Robert Riley. The World is a 198-unit floating resort that debuted last spring and made its first visit to New York earlier this month. It has 110 apartments offered for sale with 50-year leaseholds and 88 "studio residences" available for booking through agents.

ALTHOUGH RESIDENTS of the World are not subject to U.S. cabotage laws, vacationers who cruise from the U.S. still must visit a foreign port before disembarking. The residents' arrangement, which was discussed at the recent Seatrade Cruise Shipping conference in Italy, has been in place for some time, said a spokeswoman, adding that it is an interpretation of Jones Act statues--not a waiver--that enables the owners of shipboard apartments to embark and disembark the vessel at will.

HOLDING THE LINE: Peter Deilmann Cruises, for the second consecutive year, will not raise prices on its European river cruises. One-week sailings on the Danube in 2003 start at $1,455 per person, for an outside twin cabin, and eight-day cruises on the Frederic Chopin, Deilmann's newest ship, between Potsdam, Germany, and Prague, start at $1,375. The line, meanwhile, will sell its Prussian Princess, which cruised the Rhine River, and move the Katharina to the Rhine while a new ship is being constructed for the 2004 season.

TRADE WINDS
• Passengers on Uniworld's Global River Cruises ships will be able to use special audio headsets to better hear their tour guide's narrative. The Clear VoiceSM Audio Program currently is available aboard the company's newest ship, River Empress, but will be expanded across the entire fleet by the start of the 2003 Europe season.
• Princess again will offer a series of travel agent seminars to present information about selling the company's 2003 Alaska and Europe programs. The seminars will run in 140 cities across North America between Sept. 16 and Nov. 17.
• In January and February 2003, Radisson Seven Seas' 350-guest Radission Diamond will begin departures on a new itinerary that traces the route of Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the Spanish explorer.
• Metropolitan Touring, a Galapagos cruises operator, added San Cristobal island to the Galapagos itinerary of its 90-passenger flagship the Santa Cruz.

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