News Briefs, Week of Sept. 14, 2015

Cruises cancel Lesbos visits to avoid refugees


Several cruise lines temporarily stopped calling on the Greek island of Lesbos, citing the influx of refugees seeking to escape warfare in Syria. Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises and Silversea Cruises all adjusted itineraries to avoid the 630-square-mile island, which lies only 3.5 miles from Turkey and where some 25,000 refugees have landed, according to media reports.

RCCL negotiating for bigger Miami terminal
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. began negotiations for a new $100 million terminal at Port Miami that would accommodate Oasis-class ships and be developed and owned by RCCL except for a small county contribution. Specifications are being considered by the Miami-Dade county commission. The terminal would be expected to open by the end of 2018.

United debuts new first-class seating
United Airlines will debut a newly designed first-class seat on Airbus A319s that will also be installed on its A320s, Boeing 737s and Boeing 757s through 2016. Features include an articulating seat bottom, adjustable headrest, granite cocktail tables, extra in-seat storage and a tray table that enables passengers to use tablet devices while eating.

Deal with Fox makes NatGeo a for-profit
The National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox entered into a $725 million deal giving Fox a majority stake in the company, now called National Geographic Partners, which includes National Geographic Traveler magazine and National Geographic Expeditions. The deal takes National Geographic from nonprofit to for-profit.

Celebrity cancels Istanbul overnights
Celebrity Cruises canceled overnight port stays in Istanbul as a result of the security climate in Turkey, affecting cruises on the Celebrity Equinox, Reflection and Constellation in September and October. Last month, Costa Cruises canceled all cruises to Istanbul for the balance of the year, following an attack on the U.S. Embassy there.

Sheraton kicks off marketing campaign
Sheraton debuted the first parts of a five-year, $100 million marketing effort. A print campaign will run through 2017 in major newspapers and business publications. On Sept. 21, Sheraton will debut its first TV ads in almost a decade, and video and banner ads will run on YouTube, AOL and Facebook, all touting Sheraton's upgraded amenities and food and beverage programs.

Lacoste, Herrera to open on the Escape
Carolina Herrera and Lacoste will open their first boutiques at sea on the Norwegian Escape, which debuts in November. Lacoste will offer signature polos, T-shirts, dresses and footwear; Herrera will sell handbags, leather goods, pashminas, scarves, jewelry, footwear and accessories.

Tourico makes cruise booking better
Tourico Holidays enhanced the way agents book cruises on its reservations system with new connectivity between cruise lines and retailers that provides better real-time price and inventory information. Tourico also added Viking Cruises to its inventory; it now works with 15 cruise lines and more than 10,000 itineraries.

Friends & Colleagues
ASTA has named Peter Lobasso its general counsel. In that role he will serve as policy adviser to ASTA CEO Zane Kerby, assist in the development of the organization's industry and government affairs agenda and serve as ASTA's media spokesman on industry issues. Lobasso joins ASTA from Berenson LLP in Great Falls, Va., where he was the managing attorney and counsel to a number of corporations. • • • ARC has selected Ann J. Bruder to serve as vice president and general counsel. She replaces retired general counsel Kathi O'Neill and will begin her tenure at ARC later this month. Bruder, a 25-year legal veteran, is the president of Global Strategic Services and is on the board of the Center for American and International Law and the International Women's Forum, Dallas Chapter. • • • Greg Webb has been named to the new role of Sabre Corp. vice chairman, effective immediately. Webb was most recently the executive vice president of Sabre and president of Sabre Travel Network. He has been with Sabre for 20 years, including leading Sabre Travel Network for the past five. Sabre also announced that Sean Menke will join the firm next month as executive vice president of Sabre and president of Sabre Travel Network. Menke was most recently the executive vice president and COO of Hawaiian Airlines. He was previously the executive vice president at global information technology company Resources at IHS, president and CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, president and CEO of Frontier Airlines and executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Air Canada. Hani Joakim has been named senior vice president of Hospitality Solutions Product Development at Sabre Corp. Joakim has been with Sabre for 19 years, serving Sabre Airline Solutions in a senior technology leadership role for the last eight years. He was most recently vice president of eCommerce digital platform and technology services for Sabre Airline Solutions.

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