RCCL, Wildlife Fund to face oceans threats

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and World Wildlife Fund entered a five-year partnership to address major threats facing the world's oceans. Targets of the venture include reducing the cruise company's carbon emissions, increasing seafood sourcing from certified vendors, educating passengers about the dangers facing oceans and engaging them to act and addressing destination stewardship.

Kimpton plans Europe debut in Amsterdam
Kimpton, the boutique hotel brand owned by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), intends to open a property in Amsterdam in 2017, Kimpton's first in Europe. The hotel is currently operating as the Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre, also an IHG brand. Before the conversion, the property will undergo an extensive renovation.

Carrie Underwood to perform on Carnival
Pop country singer Carrie Underwood will give a private concert for military service personnel on the Carnival Vista when it arrives in New York in November and will perform for regular passengers in early 2017 as part of the Carnival Live concert series; dates are to be determined. The concert for the military is part of a partnership between the singer and Carnival Cruise Line to honor military families.

Classic offering its first river cruises
Classic Vacations is offering river cruises for the first time, selling inventory on Scenic's upscale ships in Europe. Classic will offer cruises in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Portugal. The move comes as Classic celebrates 20 years in business.

Virgin Group, Veitch settle $300M suit
The Virgin Group settled the $300 million lawsuit that former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch filed against it last year, alleging that Virgin had used his plans for its cruise line before cutting him out of the venture. The parties filed a joint notice of the settlement to the U.S. District Court in Southern Florida on Jan. 25, and a motion to dismiss the case the next day.

JetBlue cabin refit will boost connectivity
JetBlue said a cabin overhaul on its Airbus A320 fleet will improve in-flight connectivity and add entertainment options. The remodel won't be all good news for passengers, however. The addition of 12 seats will mean a decrease in seat pitch from the 34 to 32 inches, still more than typical for U.S. airlines. The overhaul is scheduled to begin next year and to be completed in 2019.

Oslo first major hub to offer jet biofuel
Oslo Airport in Norway became the first international hub to offer jet biofuel to airlines. Lufthansa, KLM and SAS have signed purchase agreements for the product, which currently costs more than ordinary jet fuel but gives users tax breaks in Norway; in addition, biofuel flights don't count against European Union quotas on greenhouse gas emissions.

Haimark acquired by private equity firm
Haimark's cruise operations were bought by private equity firm VC2 Capital. The Haimark Line, which offers cruises on the Great Lakes and in Canada/New England and plans to start Cuba cruises this month, filed for bankruptcy protection last summer after its ship was damaged.

Friends & Colleagues
Valerie Wilson Travel has a new CFO and vice president. Brian Buttigieg, previously the senior vice president of operations, financial and legal, was named the company's CFO, while Jessica Cook, previously the executive director of human resources, was named vice president. • • • George Stone has been named the editor-in-chief of National Geographic Travel and will lead all of its travel content, including as the editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine, and will oversee National Geographic Travel's digital and social media strategy. Stone has been a writer and editor for Traveler for 18 years; most recently he was an editor at large based in Singapore. The previous editor-in-chief of National Geographic Travel, Maggie Zackowitz, retired in December.

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