Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Jan. 6, 2004

WAVE SEASON is revving up, and most cruise executives predicted a banner -- or at least, a normal -- period of cruise bookings. Jeff Dash, the president of Royal Viking Cruises, predicted a "tremendous" season -- "if the fourth quarter [was] any indication." Several cruise lines rolled out promotions to tie into Wave, which typically runs from early January through mid-March. Cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Holland America Line are stepping up advertising efforts; meanwhile, at Norwegian Cruise Line, executives said its annual "Sale of all Sails" had its "best reception ever" with the trade.

THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION will name New York tourism executive Terry Dale its president and CEO. Dale, who has been the executive vice president of NYC & Co., will start at CLIA in mid-January. The organization has been without a president since June 2001; Bob Sharak, who was promoted to executive director after CLIA's former president, Jim Godsman, retired, will remain with the organization.

THE QUEEN MARY 2 will be officially named Thursday by Queen Elizabeth II in Southampton, England. Cunard senior vice president of sales and marketing Deborah Natansohn didn't want to spoil the surprise, but she predicted "a huge display of pageantry" in Southampton this week. "And there will be lots of lords and ladies in attendance," she added. Verve Clique, which has a branded Champagne bar onboard the QM2, is providing the Champagne bottle for the historic occasion.

CARNIVAL CORP. confirmed it signed an agreement to construct a facility for port calls on Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. The deal is still subject to legislative approval in the Turks and Caicos, but, if approved, a Carnival spokeswoman said the company estimated a construction start in July, with completion by November 2005.

ROYAL OLYMPIA CRUISES' woes continued last week, as the Athens-based cruise line cancelled the next voyages of the Olympia Voyager, a 17-day cruise that was to have departed Jan. 2 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to the southern Caribbean and South America, and the Jan. 5 sailing of the Olympia Explorer from Los Angeles to the Hawaiian Islands. The cancellations leave the ships out of service until at least Jan. 19. The vessels have been restricted from entering foreign ports as a result of ongoing Chapter 11 negotiations between the companies that own the ships -- subsidiaries of Royal Olympia -- and a group of lenders. A spokesman for Royal Olympia said refunds will be made available through an escrow account. Information on obtaining a refund will be made available through the Federal Maritime Commission Web site [www.fmc.gov].

NEW BUSINESS CARDS at Crystal Cruises:
• Bill Smith, the former Silvers Cruises president and COO, will join Crystal Cruises as senior vice president of sales and marketing, taking over from Adam Levant, who left to join an advertising agency.
• The line also announced a handful of promotions: Barbara Gillian was promoted from director of Crystal's air department to vice president of passenger services. Thomas Mazola transitioned from vice president of hotel operations to senior vice president of hotel operations. Mimi Weisband was promoted from director of public relations to vice president of public relations.

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