A few weeks ago in this space we welcomed the policy changes at Renaissance Cruises and urged agents to listen to what the line had to say.

Co-chief executive Frank Del Rio has said quite a lot since then, in an open letter to agents, in a one-on-one interview with this newspaper and elsewhere.

We have to hand it to the guy. Rarely, if ever, have we seen a senior executive so candidly repudiate his company's previous mistakes while laying out a plan to gain the trade's trust and support.

There's not a lot more that he could have said. And, with a few exceptions (such as an admission that the line plans to continue some direct sales), he said exactly the sorts of things that agents like to hear.

To top it off, Renaissance is offering a deal to ASTA: a million bucks goes to ASTA's consumer awareness campaign if the line breaks any of five specific promises to the trade.

If the cruise line delivers on every one of its many promises, Renaissance and the nation's travel agents could end up just about where Claude Rains and Humphrey Bogart ended up at the conclusion of "Casablanca."

But this movie isn't over yet. Del Rio himself said, "I don't expect you to believe what I'm saying, but watch what we do." Hang on to your popcorn, folks. This could get interesting.


While we're on the subject of cruise line promises, a short round of polite applause is in order for Carnival, which took its first booking at its first Carnival Vacation Store at a mall near Dallas, and passed it on to a local retailer. Carnival said it "thru-passed" the sale.

The travel commentator in us says, "Nicely done." The editor in us says, "Can't we come up with better word than thru-pass?"

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