THE DISNEY MAGIC will reposition out of the
Caribbean for the first time next year and head for a summer
homeport in California as part of Disneyland's 50th anniversary
celebration. The Magic will offer a series of 12 seven-day cruises
from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera; the cruises will depart
Saturdays between May 28 and Aug. 20, 2005 and call in Puerto
Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. The line will offer pre- and
post-cruise stays at Disneyland Resort hotels. The 2,600-passenger
Magic is one of a pair of Disney cruise ships; both have
historically sailed from Port Canaveral, Fla.
ANOTHER CRUISE-ONLY home-based program is in
the works, this time from Carlson Travel Franchise Group, which
already operates three travel retail brands (including Cruise
Holidays). The new home-based program will be called SeaMaster
Cruises; Roger Block, executive vice president of Carlson's
franchise group, projected about 50 participants by year's end and
another 100 in 2005. The Carlson announcement comes just one week
after American Express began wooing the at-home segment by signing
on Cruise Planners of Coral Springs, Fla., as an American Express
ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL said Kathy
Mellor, the National Teacher of the Year for 2004 (a Scholastic,
Inc-sponsored program), will be the godmother to the line's newest
vessel, the Jewel of the Seas. Mellor will name the ship May 7 in
Southampton, England, before the ship's maiden voyage.
MSC CRUISES' presence in the North American
market is about to get much bigger: The European-focused line
tapped cruise industry veteran Richard Sasso to be its president
and CEO of MSC Cruises U.S.A. The line recently was awarded the
European Vision, formerly operated by Festival Cruises, and renamed
it the Armonia. In March, it placed orders for two 2,550-passenger
ships to be delivered in 2006 and 2007. The company will add a
Florida base of operations to supplement its current New Jersey
office, Sasso said; plans also call for year-round U.S. operations.
MSC Cruises is based in Naples, Italy. Its parent company is
Mediterranean Shipping Co., a privately owned line based in Geneva,
Switzerland, that operates 225 container vessels.
ON THE SEAS: According to figures released by
the Cruise Lines International Association, the Caribbean will
remain the top cruise market, with a 40.38% market share, in 2004,
but that's down nearly a percentage point from 2003, when it
represented 41.03% of the overall berth deployment. The Caribbean's
total number of bed days (which measures the number of berths
available on a per-day basis) will be more than 31 million this
summer, a 7.63% year-over-year increase. Bed days in Europe,
meanwhile, rose 22.4% to capture 12.55% of the market.
NOT EVERY DESTINATION picked up more capacity:
The number of bed days in Bermuda will drop by 10% in 2004 compared
with last year, the report said. Cruise capacity to the south
Pacific is down 37% (although Hawaii will be up 34.62% this year).
Meanwhile, the number of CLIA agent affiliates declined to 16,000
in 2003, a 5.3% drop, CLIA said. It attributed the decline to
"general consolidation and attrition" in the agency business.