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Articles from 2003 In October


Festival eyes bold newbuild platform

Festival eyes bold newbuild platform

Theodore Kontes, vice chairman operations, said Festival is considering a vessel in the 1,200-1,250-cabin range.

At a Seatrade Europe session today on 'The Demand for Newbuildings and Refurbishment of Older Vessels,' Kontes gave an example of what Festival could have in mind when he outlined Delta Marin's new platform for a 'Super Panamax' ship of 99,000gt, with 1,340 cabins, 15 decks and a length of 305mtrs (a fold-up bow keeps the ship Panamax). Kontes described the Super Panamax concept as 'the ideal ship,' but cautioned that Festival is not committed to this particular platform.

Festival expects to firm its expansion plans in coming months. If it were to go with a prototype like Super Panamax, the time frame for a delivery would be 'not 2006 -- 2007 possibly.'

Kontes also suggested that Festival could grow sooner if market conditions show demand for more capacity. 'We have some other ideas,' he hinted. Expansion could come in 2005-06, he told Seatrade Insider, but not via newbuilds.

Longer term, though, Festival's focus is on a large newbuild. If it goes with the Super Panamax concept, that would mean a dramatic capacity increase for the pan-European cruise operator, whose largest ships, European Stars and European Vision, offer 783 cabins each.

And when it comes to propulsion, it's also possible that Festival could consider using the Rim Drive Propulsion (RDP) concept under development by General Dynamics in the US.

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RCI names Hispanic agency of record

RCI names Hispanic agency of record

S. Hispanic markets.

Royal Caribbean said dRM DDB will help the cruise line reach Hispanic consumers, with a particular focus on travelers who are active, and adventurous people of all ages and backgrounds who want to do, learn and experience more on vacation. The new campaign, which will include print, radio and television elements, will harmonize with the company's 'Get Out There' campaign, first launched in 2000.

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Raymond James downgrades Steiner

Raymond James downgrades Steiner

STNR shares closed at $13.76 Friday, down $1.63 (10.59%) on much higher than average volume trading in New York.

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Princess to manage 2 spas in-house

Princess to manage 2 spas in-house

Steiner will continue to operate the spas on the remainder of the fleet, Princess Cruises said.

The two new Lotus Spas will feature sea-based treatments and services for men and women, with some special services for teens, plus custom staff uniforms designed by noted L.A. fashion designer Sue Wong. In an industry first, passengers will be able to book spa appointments in advance of sailing on Princess' web site.

The first new Lotus Spa will debut on Caribbean Princess in April, and the second will launch on Sapphire Princess when the ship enters service in May. Princess passengers will be able to begin booking their treatments at www.princess.com in February.

The spas will feature exclusive Princess products supplied by Phytomer, the French company specializing in marine-based cosmetics. Carita Paris will be featured in the hair salon, and CreativeSpa will supply the manicure and pedicure treatments.

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CLIA adds Elite agent training level

CLIA adds Elite agent training level

Elite certification is the next step for agents who have earned their Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC) and Master Cruise Counsellor (MCC) certification. To qualify, an agent must complete any 10 live or online CLIA seminars and exams (cumulative over the course of their certification) and must personally experience an additional cruise of at least seven days, conduct five additional ship inspections and present proof of 50 cabins sold within 12 consecutive months.

Agents will have two years from the date of enrollment to complete the ECC requirements; the enrollment cost is $60. Once qualified, agents can also earn Scholar honors by chalking up additional cruises, courses and cabin sales.

Additionally, CLIA in 2004 will raise the bar for ACC and MCC certification, requiring a minimal cruise sales element along with -- not as alternative to -- ship inspections.

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Crystal expands online tour pre-booking

Crystal expands online tour pre-booking

The pre-registration program originally launched on Crystal Harmony is now available fleetwide. To obtain a pre-registration form, passengers go to www.crystalcruises.com and click 'Destinations' on the homepage, choose a destination and click on their voyage number. Forms can be printed out and faxed or mailed back to Crystal.

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Port Everglades gears up for 7 new ships

Port Everglades gears up for 7 new ships

The seven newbuilds can carry a total of 14,300 passengers and would stretch well over a mile if docked bow to stern.

The QM2, which is replacing the Queen Elizabeth 2 in North America, will make her US debut at Port Everglades on Jan. 26, when she crosses the Atlantic for the first time.

During the 2003-04 Caribbean season, new additions to Port Everglades' home fleet also include: Princess Cruises' Island Princess, Crystal Cruises' Crystal Serenity on Nov. 17, Costa Cruises' Costa Mediterranea on Nov. 23, Holland America Line's Oosterdam on Dec. 3, MSC Italian Cruises' MSC Lirica on Jan. 15, Cunard Line's QM2 on Jan. 26, 2004, and Princess' Caribbean Princess on April 24.

More than 45 cruise ships and 19 cruise lines call at Port Everglades.

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Oceania targets sales Down Under

Oceania targets sales Down Under

Gm Australia Philippa Stevens, who was sales manager for Orient Lines when she worked for gsa Cruise Abroad, told Seatrade Insider that attractive air-sea-land tours are being prepared by CruiseCo, the consortium of cruise specialists and Fiesta Holidays.

English-born Stevens, who worked for The Cruise Line before moving to Sydney, said feedback from the travel agents who attended training sessions held by international sales director Steve Novello during a whirlwind trip around the country earlier this month has been 'extremely positive.

'Our itineraries will appeal to Australians because we offer them longer stays and overnights in port,' she said. She could not comment on plans to convert R Five into Nautica and operate Australia itineraries (Seatrade Insider 23/10/2003). 'It would be wonderful,'she said. 'I would love the opportunity to showcase our product to the industry here.'

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Optimism grows among affluent Americans

Optimism grows among affluent Americans

The latest semi-annual study by the American Affluence Research Center (AARC) found a more positive outlook on business conditions, the stock market and personal household income than during the spring survey.

AARC compiled Affluent Consumer Expectation (ACE) indexes from the survey data. A reading of 100 is neutral, below 100 is negative, and above 100 is positive. The ACE 12-month economic outlook index of 141 is 12 points higher than in the spring and 23 points above what it was one year ago, AARC said.

The ACE vacation travel spending index of 111 is an average of the domestic vacation index of 122 (up from 105 last spring and 111 a year ago) and the international vacation index of 100 (up from 71 last spring and 88 a year ago). The overall vacation-spending index is up 23 points from last spring and up 11 points from a year ago.

Thirteen percent of those surveyed indicated plans to take at least one cruise during the next 12 months. This number has held steady over the past year, AARC said, and represents some 2.8m cruises (about a third of the total market). Intent to cruise was highest among those over 60 years of age (24%) and those with a net worth in excess of $6m (27%).

Survey information: www.affluenceresearch.org.

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Caribbean markets to European lines

Caribbean markets to European lines

'September 11 made the Caribbean very aware of our dependence on US operators. We need to partner with the European cruise industry,' said Jan Sierhuis of the Curacao Port Authority.

Sierhuis spoke at a Seatrade Europe session on 'Itinerary Strategies for European Lines' on behalf of the 11 destinations that comprise 'The Caribbean Village' marketing group. He said islands are now teaming to promote the region overall. 'The Caribbean has always been very fragmented. In other parts of the world, organizations represent various cruise regions. The Caribbean never had that,' Sierhuis noted.

While the Caribbean remains the world's most important cruise region by far, the growing trend by US-based lines to homeport from domestic ports has knocked some destinations out of itineraries because they are too far to reach in standard five-five-four and seven-day itineraries.

Speaking to Seatrade delegates, Sierhuis emphasized the cultural and historic ties between Europe and the Caribbean, good airlift from European cities, a growing number of attractions and the variety the Caribbean offers. 'We need to make Europeans aware that there is enough diversity [in the region] that they can go back, not just visit once,' Sierhuis said.

Members of The Caribbean Village include Antigua, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago. Sierhuis said the group aims to launch The Caribbean Village in the trade show at the Seatrade Mediterranean convention in Genoa next year. The group exhibited jointly for the first time at Seatrade Miami in March.

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