News Briefs, Week of Feb. 7, 2011

NCL completes sale of SS United States


Norwegian Cruise Line closed on the sale of the historical ocean liner the United States to the SS United States Conservancy for a reported $3 million. The conservancy plans to redevelop the ship, which ceased operating in 1969, as a multipurpose attraction with lodging, retail and museum offerings and said New York, Philadelphia and Miami have all expressed interest. NCL acquired the liner in 2003 for a planned U.S.-flagged fleet in Hawaii. The conservancy said that NCL worked with the group to find a buyer and even declined higher bids to save it from scrappers.

New display tested for airport scans
The Transportation Security Administration began testing new software for its millimeter wave airport body scanners that display detected items on a "generic outline of a person," without showing anatomic details, the TSA said. The technology was designed to quell complaints about graphic images. Tests began at Las Vegas and are slated to expand soon to Atlanta and Washington Reagan.

Cruise lines return to Mazatlan
Cruise lines resumed calls to Mazatlan, Mexico, after canceling stops in January when a passenger and crew member were mugged near the cruise terminal. Carnival said the Carnival Spirit resumed calls after its security management team met with local officials, who agreed to place extra security personnel in all main tourist areas, including all shore excursion sites. Holland America Line and Princess said they also planned to resume calls last week.

Marriott opening caps Indy project
Marriott opened the JW Marriott Indianapolis, completing the centerpiece to the Marriott Place project that clusters five Marriott hotels on a seven-acre site near the Indiana Convention Center. With 1,005 rooms and 104,000 square feet of event space, the new JW Marriott is the brand's largest. The five hotels, all of which are connected to the convention center, combine to offer 2,248 rooms. The other brands represented are Marriott, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites.

Antarctic rocks ding another ship
Eighty passengers on the Polar Star, an expedition cruise vessel in Antarctica, were to be evacuated after a rock strike caused damage to the ship's outer hull on Jan. 31. The Polar Star Expeditions ship's inner hull remained intact, but the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators reported that the operator decided to disembark the passengers as a "precautionary measure" before returning to Ushuaia, Argentina. The Feb. 6 cruise was canceled. The company was arranging alternate transportation for its passengers from King George Island.

Biz travel group adopts global name
The National Business Travel Association changed its name to the Global Business Travel Association to more accurately reflect its global scope. The GBTA said it plans to hold more networking and educational events worldwide. Based in Washington and with a branch in Europe, the GBTA also has a presence in Canada, Mexico and Australia/New Zealand and plans to broaden its reach into Asia.

Friends & Colleagues

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide named Tad Wampfler senior vice president and chief supply chain officer. Wampfler brings to Starwood more than 20 years of leadership experience with a variety of well-known brands. Most recently, he spent three years as senior vice president of Wendy's International. • • • Orient-Express Hotels named Roy Paul chief development officer. Paul, whose career in hospitality spans three decades, joins Orient-Express from Cedar Capital Partners, a hotel investment firm, where he participated in the sale of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Prague in the Czech Republic and the purchase of the Richemond Hotel in Geneva. • • • Southern Air Holdings, a cargo-only airline based in Norwalk, Conn., appointed Bob Crandall, former chairman and CEO of AMR Corp. and American Airlines, to its board of directors. Crandall spent 25 years with American, serving as chairman and CEO from 1985 until his retirement in 1998. • • • Danny Smart has been promoted to the newly created position of national accounts manager, West Coast for Collette Vacations. Smart began his career at Collette in 2005. • • • Saboto Caesar has been named minister of tourism and industry for St. Vincent & the Grenadines. His predecessor, Glen Beache, has been appointed the CEO of the SVG Tourism Authority.

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