Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: September 18, 2001

DESPITE THE DISRUPTIONS caused by last week's terrorist attacks, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. embarked 30,000 passengers on company ships over the last several days, with sailings about two-thirds full, said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO. Fain said his "best guess" on the financial impact or the week of Sept. 11 "will be in the range of $20 million to $25 million" with "the biggest cost [being] loss of revenue, but also extra security costs, lodging and transportation costs, etc."

IN A "BUSINESS UPDATE" posted at the RCCL's Web site (www.royalcaribbean.com), Fain said Royal Caribbean, the industry's second-largest operator, ran at close to 90% occupancy" on ships that operated in "heavy drive-in markets" during the week of the attacks. He added that Royal Caribbean's biggest challenge was in air transportation. "With the closure of the nation's airports, there were many difficulties in getting our guests to and from ships over the past week," he said. "We were moved by the determination of some of our guests to get to their ships." Some passengers drove up to 3,500 miles to reach their vessels, he said.

MEANWHILE, passenger bookings for Carnival Corp., the cruise industry's largest supplier, are running at 60% of normal levels, Micky Arison, the company's chairman said on Sept.17. Arison said Carnival is expected to be profitable in the current quarter ended Nov. 30, even with the consumer uncertainty created by last week's terrorist attacks. "We have not had significant cancellations for future cruises yet," said Arison.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE delayed the Sept. 17 departure of Norwegian Wind to accommodate expected security-related delays in disembarking and embarking the ship in Vancouver. The ship's 5:30 p.m. departure was re-scheduled to 3 a.m. Sept. 18 to allow guests delayed by air service delays to embark the ship for a six-day Alaska cruise. NCL delayed the sailing after being "advised that the transfer time between Seattle and Vancouver has been taking between 6 and 8 hours" and "the estimated debarkation time will be between 4 to 6 hours for disembarking passengers." NCL also modified the ship's itinerary, removing a port call at Juneau and reducing the cruise's scheduled length by one day. NCL will give passengers a $100 per person shipboard credit in lieu of the missed day.

THE IMMIGRATION and Naturalization Service officials released two Carnival cruise ship passengers late Sept. 14. The pair were removed from Carnival's Fascination by Coast Guard officials at 3:15 a.m. on Friday as the ship sailed 20 miles south of Miami. The men were released after questioning, according to an INS official who declined further comment. A source with knowledge of the investigations confirmed that the passengers, an uncle and his nephew, were detained primarily because the uncle's name is similar to that of a suspect in a bombing in India.

THE U.S. COAST GUARD also stopped Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas from coming into the Port of Miami for three hours on Sept. 16 after an open door was discovered leading to secure areas of the port's passenger terminal.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES will donate $50 for each stateroom sold over the next 30 days to the American Red Cross to aid in relief efforts following last week's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The donation is expected to generate about $1.5 million for the American Red Cross. "Our guests and travel agent partners, along with our company and its employees, are doing their part in enabling the American Red Cross to help those affected by this inconceivable tragedy," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival's president.

GOCRUISEDIRECT.COM, a cruise retail technology provider, named Steve Toffler vice president of sales and marketing and David Lovely vice president of business development.

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