ROYAL OLYMPIA CRUISES cancelled the Dec. 22
sailing of the Olympia Explorer from Los Angeles and said its
Olympia Voyager has been held in St Thomas after the line's two
ship-owning subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 last week. The
Olympia Voyager will return with passengers, as scheduled, to Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 2 (the end of its scheduled voyage), and
the company said future plans for both ships "must await the
outcome of current discussions between owners and lenders and
further action by the court." The Chapter 11 filing took place in
U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the district of Hawaii Dec. 17.
CUNARD LINE took delivery Monday of the Queen
Mary 2, the much-anticipated cruise liner. Thus far, the QM2 is the
largest ocean liner constructed, at about 151,400 gross registered
tons, and the most expensive, at a cost of about $800 million.
After several days of at-sea maneuvers Cunard's new flagship will
arrive in Southampton, England, on Dec. 26. Queen Elizabeth II,
meanwhile, will name the vessel at a gala ceremony in Southampton
on January 8. The ship enters service on Jan. 12 with a voyage from
Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
BAYONNE BOUND: Royal Caribbean Cruises is
moving its Royal Caribbean International operations from New York
City to Bayonne, N.J., in time for the 2004 cruising season -- it
hopes A two-mile long, man-made peninsula in the town of Bayonne,
which sits directly across the harbor from New York, already has a
working pier and a warehouse that Royal Caribbean will convert to
use as a terminal for its 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas and
the 2,020-passenger Nordic Empress, starting with its 2004 New York
season. The cruise line said it just couldn't get the berth
schedule it needed on the Manhattan side of the river, although
sister company Celebrity Cruises will continue to offer cruises
from there. Both Royal Caribbean and the Bayonne Local
Redevelopment Authority, which negotiated the deal, noted that
Bayonne is close to Newark airport, the major freeways in New
Jersey and several transportation options from the Big Apple,
including potential ferry service from Manhattan to Bayonne.
CARNIVAL CORP., meanwhile, has been interested
in rehabilitating piers across the harbor in Brooklyn, N.Y. Both
City and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials are
still mulling the deal, but a Carnival spokeswoman said the company
was "still very much interested in it."
OCEANIA CRUISES is on the brink of a
preferred-supplier pact with Expedia, which is already selling Oceania
products via its call center. Oceania CEO Frank Del Rio said the
company had been "convinced that we need to be in Expedia." He
added that Expedia would abide by the line's policy to promote only
its published fares. "No special pricing," he said. Oceania doesn't
yet have an agreement with Travelocity, although a deal with NLG puts the
cruise line's inventory on Orbitz.
MORE REPOSITIONING NEWS from Carnival Cruise
• The Carnival Valor will begin year-round seven-day Caribbean
cruises from Miami Dec. 19, 2004, taking over the Paradise's route
(as reported in the Dec. 16 Cruise E-Letter, the Paradise will
relocate to California and drop its no-smoking designation).
• The Carnival Spirit will offer new eight-day cruises to Mexico
from San Diego between Oct. 16, 2004 and April 2, 2005.