Princess, Cunard, hook up with Trams

Princess and Cunard Lines POLAR online reservations system will become the first major in-house cruise booking system to link directly with TRAMS ClientBase software.

At the end of this month, travel agents will be able to transfer Princess and Cunard booking information from POLAR into ClientBase via the Trams Live Connect solution, which enables agencies to book Web-based inventory and integrate it with GDS bookings regardless of the agencys GDS affiliation. 

Union Square gets Marriott flagship

Marriott reflagged the former Pan Pacific San Francisco Hotel in the citys Union Square as the JW Marriott Hotel San Francisco. The hotels new owner, Ashford Hospitality, said it plans a multimillion-dollar renovation of the 338-room property.

Northwest tweaks Coach Choice plan

Citing customer feedback, Northwest modified its Coach Choice program so that its WorldPerks Elite members wont have to pay extra for exit-row and aisle seats. As rolled out a month ago, the Coach Choice program offered some of those seats for an extra $15, payable at check-in.

Flyers get elite status for at least 25,000 miles or 30 qualifying segments per calendar year.

Northwest also took some of its most popular coach seats out Coach Choice and returned them to its Select Seating zone, which is available for elite members to reserve up to 90 days out.

Southwest adds Philadelphia routes

Southwest will begin serving two more nonstop destinations from Philadelphia July 2, when it launches three daily flights to Columbus, Ohio, and two dailies to Nashville.

With the additions, Southwest will be flying to 19 cities nonstop from Philadelphia, where it began service in May 2004.

Maxjet offers peek at load factor data

Maxjet, a business class-only transatlantic airline, disclosed its load factors for the first time and said it filled more than 50% of the seats on its flights between New York and London (Stansted) in March and will average 70% in April.

CEO Gary Rogliano said the New York-London load factors prove Maxjets business model is working, and he said the airline, which added Washington-London as its second route April 3, is negotiating to add a third and fourth aircraft to its fleet.

KOR Group grabs two Mayan resorts

The Kor Hotel Group agreed to acquire the 46-room Mosquito Blue and the newly built, 33-room Mosquito Beach, two upscale resorts in Playa del Carmen, for an undisclosed sum.

Kor has two other properties slated to debut in 2008, both in the Riviera Maya: the Viceroy Riviera Maya and the Tides Playa del Carmen Resorts and Residences.

Hilton kiosks issue boarding passes

Hilton tricked out select hotel lobby check-in kiosks to permit guests to print boarding passes for most major airlines, at no charge.

The kiosks offer links to the Web sites of 18 airlines where guests can check in, change seats, request upgrades and print their boarding pass. Fairmont Hotels pioneered the technology at some of its properties last June.

GSA: New York on $200 a day

The General Services Administration revised its per-diem spending limits for government travelers for several major metro areas, effective May 1. Through Aug. 31, the New York rate increases to $202, rising to $282 in September. Details are online at www.gsa.gov.

Luxury hotel group nabs GDS code

The Dorchester Group, a collection of luxury properties, was slated to go live with the GDS code DC, effective April 25, as part of a plan to broaden its distribution.

In addition to its London namesake, the Dorchester, the group includes the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles; Le Meurice and Plaza Athenee in Paris; and Principe di Savoia in Milan, Italy.

Westin reflags first resort in Fiji

Westin flagged its first property in the South Pacific, rebranding the former Sheraton Royal Denarau Resort in Fiji as the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, following a $15 million renovation.

Rail operator adopts new name

The American Orient Express, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based rail tour operator, changed its name to GrandLuxe Rail Journeys to end confusion with the U.K.-based Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, which operates the historical route to Istanbul. Grandluxe specializes in North American itineraries.

Friends & Colleagues

Regent made organizational changes at its Fort Lauderdale headquarters. Mark Conroy will be president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Regent Hotels. Christian Sauleau, executive vice president of operations for Regent Seven Seas, will also be responsible for operations of the Regent Hotels in the Americas. His team will include senior director Andrew Nordseth, who maintains responsibility for ship product and service performance, and vice president Monica Neumann, operations leader for Regent hotels in the Americas. Ken Watson, executive vice president of sales and marketing for cruises, will add Regent Hotels in the Americas to his title. Sophie Vlessing, vice president of customer strategy and marketing will also market the cruise lines and the Regent Hotels in the Americas. John Cardona joins the company as senior director of sales. " " " A. Ady Gelber, president of IsramWorld since 1979, stepped down from his position at the end of his contract with Koor Corp., the owner of Isram. He still holds a seat on Israms board of directors. " " " Jorge Landa was named general manager of the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino. Landa formerly held the same post at the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort and Emerald Casino. " " " Ontario-based RBC Travel Insurance Co. appointed Lore McGuire as head of its U.S. travel sales. McGuire has worked at RBC for the past 17 years.

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