Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: April 13, 2004

FEDERAL LEGISLATION introduced this month would prohibit cruise ships from discharging waste less than 12 miles from U.S. shores and would set higher standards for ships discharging less than 200 miles offshore. The Clean Cruise Ship Act of 2004, which was referred to committees after it was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, would establish national standards for discharges from cruise vessels into U.S. waters and set up an inspection system. A per-passenger fee, "not to exceed $10," according to the bill, would pay for the law's enforcement.

THE BILL effectively would prohibit ships without advanced wastewater treatment systems from discharging within 200 miles of U.S. coastline, said the International Council of Cruise Lines' president Michael Crye. About 25 cruise ships currently carry advanced wastewater systems, he said. If the bill were to become law, he said, "It would require the immediate installation of advanced wastewater treatment systems [on ships] if they were to continue operating in the US," which he estimated would be a $250 million capital investment.

AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION begun last month by Carnival Corp. into improper bilge water processing on the Noordam determined that improper operations might have occurred "sporadically" between January and March 4. In its 10Q form submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission April 8, Carnival Corp. said Holland America Line notified governmental authorities of the incident on March 5. HAL and three shipboard engineers have received grand jury subpoenas from the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Tampa, Fla.

THE NORWEGIAN DREAM was operating on one engine last week after a broken crankshaft affected the other engine. A new crankshaft has been ordered, and a spokeswoman for Norwegian Cruise Line said the issue will not affect the Dream's next three Europe cruises, but added NCL is "still assessing [the situation] beyond that." The line meanwhile said it is not yet clear what fine would be assessed under the Passenger Services Act for the Norwegian Star's Hawaii cruises -- the ship is skipping its foreign port calls in Fanning Island this month because of problems with its propulsion system.

THE FINCANTIERI GROUP recorded a 90.7 million euro profit -- about $109 million -- in 2003, a 17% increase over 2002. The Italian shipbuilder delivered 14 cruise ships to different owners in 2003, and the company said its current workload, on the basis of orders placed in 2003 and 2004, is about 5 billion euro, or about $6 billion.

MOVIES UNDER THE STARS will be added to all of Princess Cruises' vessels that operate in the seven-day Caribbean market, i.e. the Grand-class Grand Princess, Golden Princess and Star Princess. The poolside theater concept debuted in early April on the Caribbean Princess with a 300-square-foot LED screen, a 69,000-watt sound system and up to three feature-length films a day (chaise lounges are available by reservation). Peter Ratcliffe, Princess' CEO, said the movie screens would be used in Princess' marketing "to signify the type of experience we're trying to get in the Caribbean." What was the first movie shown aboard the Caribbean Princess: "Pirates of the Caribbean," of course, Ratcliffe said.

VINTAGE 1994: As part of Silversea's 10th anniversary celebrations, the line will offer a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and a $250 per cabin onboard credit to couples sailing on any Silversea cruise this year who are celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. Cruises must be booked by July 31 and proof of wedding date will be required at the time of booking.

DUTCH ACTRESS Renee Soutendijk will act as godmother of Holland America Line's new ship, the Westerdam. Soutendijk will christen the Westerdam during a ceremony in Venice on April 25.

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