Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: July 27, 2004

THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION will have a new chairman come December. Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line's executive vice president of sales and marketing, will take over for David Giersdorf. Giersdorf resigned as executive vice president-sales and marketing for Holland America Line this month.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE'S $10 per-person daily service charge will become nonrefundable fleetwide by next summer. It's already nonrefundable on the U.S.-flag ships in Hawaii but optional elsewhere as a gratuity charge. NCL said 5% of passengers elect to remove the charge from their bill.

DEBORAH NATANSOHN was to take over Monday as president of Seabourn, and Rick Meadows has relocated to Seattle as the new senior vice president of sales and marketing for Holland America (the two were the top sales and marketing execs for Cunard and Seabourn, respectively). "I guess my first order of business will be to oversee the weaning away of the Cunard organization so [Seabourn] has its own infrastructure," Natansohn said. She added that Seabourn "can exist as a standalone ... in an entrepreneurial environment quite successfully." As for Meadows, he'll be spending his time getting in step with the HAL team: "Look at the investment that's being made, not only in the Signature of Excellence but the new tonnage ... I think it's a pretty exciting time for them."

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE touted about a dozen 2005 voyages longer than 12 days that depart from U.S. homeports. Included are a 34-day cruise Sept. 25 from Vancouver to Tampa via Costa Rica, the Panama Canal and the Amazon River; a 35-day transatlantic voyage July 16 that runs roundtrip from Boston; and a 62-day cruise on Oct. 6 from Seattle to San Diego which visits ports in Japan, China and Hong Kong, Australia and Hawaii.

• MSC Cruises purchased the European Stars, a 1,500-passenger ship that was operated by the former Festival Cruises, for about $270 million. The ship is to be renamed the Sinfonia and start service in the Mediterranean in March, said Rick Sasso, the line's U.S. president. The European Stars is a sister ship to the European Vision, which MSC Cruises bought at auction in April and renamed the Armonia.
• Costa Cruises newest ship, the Costa Magica, sailed into the open seas for the first time July 19 in its first series of sea trials. The 2,720-passenger Magica is to be delivered in November.
• Hapag LLoyd, a German-focused cruise line, said it will offer additional bilingual cruises on three of its ships next year to "make them more accessible to the U.S. market." That translates to 16 German/English cruises in 2005 compared with 11 this year.


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