News Briefs, Week of April 4, 2016

Regent orders a sister for upcoming Explorer

Regent Seven Seas Cruises ordered a fifth ship, a $480 million sister to the upcoming 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, with delivery from the Italian shipyard Fincantieri expected in 2020. Regent said the Explorer, due in July, has had record-breaking predelivery sales. Regent's other ships are the Seven Seas Voyager, the Seven Seas Navigator and the Seven Seas Mariner.

Carnival ship to have first brewery onboard
Carnival Cruise Line will brew three beers at an onboard brewery on the Carnival Vista. The ship, entering service in May in Europe, will be the first to sail for a U.S. brand with a brewery onboard. The beers, produced in partnership with Concrete Beach Brewery in Miami, will be ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin' IPA, ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat and FriskyFrog Java Stout.

American challenges Delta for LAX-Beijing
American Airlines applied for approval to fly from Los Angeles to Beijing, challenging Delta, which applied for the same route. If the Department of Transportation approves American, service begins Dec. 16; it currently flies from L.A. to Shanghai and begins service from LAX to Hong Kong this year. Delta flies from LAX to Shanghai.

Norwegian Pride 'a new ship' after refurb
Norwegian Cruise Line's Hawaii-based ship the Pride of America returned from drydock with new venues, redesigned public spaces and refreshed decor, becoming what Norwegian president Andy Stuart called, "essentially a new ship." New venues include the Soho Art Gallery, the Perspectives Photo Studio and Dolce Gelato.

Royal gratuities rise second time in a year
Royal Caribbean International will raise gratuities starting May 1 by 4.2%, or 55 cents per person, per day, to $13.50 a day or $16.50 per day in suites. Gratuities are automatically added to shipboard accounts, but can be adjusted up or down at the end of the cruise. Royal Caribbean last increased gratuities in June 2015 by 8% to the current rate of $12.95, and $15.95 for suites.

Star Clippers to name ship the Flying Clipper
Star Clippers will name its newbuild vessel the Flying Clipper when the 300-passenger ship debuts in 2017. The masted vessel's features include three pools, a water sports platform and 34 suites with balconies. The Flying Clipper will be the fourth and largest Star Clippers ship, joining the 170-passenger Star Flyer and Star Clipper and 227-passenger Royal Clipper.

Riu opens its first New York property
Riu Hotels & Resorts opened its first New York hotel, the 647-room Riu Plaza New York Times Square. The $310 million hotel has two conference rooms that can accommodate 70 and 75 people, respectively. Riu now has five hotels under its Riu Plaza urban brand, in Berlin; Panama City; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Miami Beach, a conversion from the Riu Florida Beach.

Dubai airport to levy a new passenger fee
Dubai Airport on July 1 will begin collecting a service charge of about $9.50 on departing passengers. Airlines will collect the fee when issuing tickets. Proceeds are to be used for airport improvements. Last year, Dubai International processed 78 million passengers, making it the third-busiest airport in the world.

Friends & Colleagues
Las Vegas Sands promoted Patrick Dumont to CFO. Dumont, who joined the hotel-casino operator in 2010, has been the company's senior vice president of finance and strategy since 2013. He was previously an investment banker. Dumont succeeds Kenneth Kay, who stepped down two years ago. • • • Former National Tour Association president Lisa Simon has been tapped by the International Inbound Travel Association (IITA) to serve as the organization's executive director. IITA is a trade group that represents the U.S. inbound travel industry. IITA had named Simon as interim executive director in November. Simon had served as National Tour Association president from 2006 to 2013. • • • The Gansevoort Hotel Group named Gemma Keating corporate director of sales. Keating arrives with significant experience in the sales and marketing industry, having represented an array of four- and five-star properties. Most recently, she was the director of sales and marketing of the Knickerbocker New York, where she developed the opening strategy and branding for the launch of the property. Keating previously held positions at the Waldorf Astoria and the Chatwal New York. • • • Thompson Hotels filled two management-level posts at its Thompson Seattle property, appointing Amanda Parsons general manager and Serena McCabe the director of sales and marketing. The hotel is set to open in June. Parsons brings more than 15 years of experience in national hospitality operations, sales and marketing and management to her role. Most recently, she served as general manager of the Hotel Vintage Seattle. Her experience also includes various positions with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. Before joining Thompson Seattle, McCabe served as director of group sales at the Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, Calif. Prior to that she served as the group sales manager at the Carneros Inn in Napa, Calif.


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