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Articles from 2008 In November


Star Clipper unaffected by turmoil in Thailand

Star Clipper unaffected by turmoil in Thailand

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Seatrade Insider was told the Monaco headquarters 'is monitoring the situation closely' and no changes are planned for the 170-passenger replica clipper's next cruise when she returns to Phuket on December 6. That will be a seven-night sailing to Singapore, followed by a return seven-night Singapore/Phuket cruise.


However, Creative Cruising is advising future passsengers to contact their travel agents or airlines for updated flight information.


At presstime Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports remained closed as the anti-government protests, which began last Tuesday, continue.


Airlines have put on extra flights to repatriate stranded travellers. Qantas is busing some passengers from Bangkok to Phuket to catch an emergency flight it will operate to Singapore tonight.


Singapore Airlines, Creative's airline partner for its Phuket packages, announced today it has commenced specially scheduled twice-daily flights between U-Tapao, a military airport about 200km from Bangkok, to Singapore. SilkAir, its regional carrier, has hiked its services between Singapore and Phuket.


Star Clipper sailed to Phuket from Athens on October 16 to operate the company's annual extended Far East programme, which is scheduled to run until her March 21 repositioning voyage to Athens via the Suez Canal.

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P&O invites passengers to build their own worldwide adventure

P&O invites passengers to build their own worldwide adventure


With two ships, Arcadia and Aurora, sailing round trip from Southampton the 2010 programme will visit 73 destinations in 33 countries and offer a total of 38 holidays ranging from 14 to 53 nights.



The prices for featured holidays will be cruise-only, and 'build yourown' holiday package add-on prices will be available for flights, coach transfers and any hotel accommodation.



Segments of Arcadia and Aurora's world voyages enable passengers to embark and disembark in a number of cities, and holidays can be enhanced with a pre- or post-city stay when starting or ending in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Dubai, Mumbai,San Francisco or Singapore.

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Pacific Jewelapos;s inaugural 2009/10 season

Pacific Jewelapos;s inaugural 2009/10 season


As previously reported, Pacific Jewel is the name for the first of Carnival UK's two Ocean Village ships that will be transferred to the P&O Cruises Australia fleet.


She will make her maiden Down Under cruise from Brisbane, which will be her home port, on December 12 next year. It will be a seven-night round voyage to Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila and ecruising.travel's early booking fare for an inside double cabin is from A$1,399 per person.


This itinerary will be repeated on January 9 and 16, February 13, March 6 and 13 and April 10, 2010.


ecruising.travel has also highlighted Pacific Jewel's seven-night round cruises from Brisbane on January 23 and April 17 in 2010 to the Whitsundays, Cairns and Willis Island.


The ship overnights in Cairns on these voyages to give passengers extra time to explore two attractions on the World Heritage List -- the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.


Pacific Jewel's itineraries range from a 14-night cruise to New Zealand departing Brisbane on February 20, 2010 to a three-night cruise to nowhere on February 10, 2010.

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Celebrity chefs on board with P&O in 2009

Celebrity chefs on board with P&O in 2009

All itineraries depart from and return to Southampton.

Marco Pierre White will be on board five itineraries on Ventura, Oceana and Aurora.

Both celebrities will take part in cooking demonstrations and book signings, in addition to spending time with their teams in the galley and in the restaurant with passengers.

The line will offer other enhancements on selected itineraries in 2009, such
as art talks and workshops in partnership with
Tate Modern and a collection of music cruises with hosts including broadcasters Richard Baker, Henry Kelly, John Suchet and Gabriel Woolf.

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UN urges action on global tourism downturn

UN urges action on global tourism downturn

Stronger marketing and targeted promotions are also needed.

In the face of the global economic downturn, international tourism will experience less and probably negative growth over the next six to nine months, according to UNWTO.

However much the tourism sector has held up in 2008, UNWTO said forecasts suggest the situation will deteriorate over the next six to nine months as turbulence affects the global economy with Europe, Japan and the United States, three major tourism markets, experiencing severe economic downturns.

UNWTO called on governments to include tourism as they implement economic stimulus packages, encouraged more public/private sector cooperation and said the banking and financial communities have a 'vital role to play in supporting financially sustainable industry programs and in considering innovative measures to respond to the economic circumstances.'

The organization also called for targeted, strengthened promotion, particularly increasing marketing budgets and regional promotion, and for integrated new media approaches and co-branding as well as collaborative e-tourism initiatives.

UNWTO further urged initiatives that respond to climate change and reduce energy costs.

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Costaapos;s top producing agents set to sail

Costaapos;s top producing agents set to sail

This year 1,300 agents from around the world -- including, for the first time, agents from China, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico -- will sail together on board Costa Fortuna from Tuesday to Saturday, visiting Bari, Malta, Naples and Savona.

The ship is fresh from its EUR4m-plus drydock at Fincantieri's Trieste yard.

The agents will learn about new projects and initiatives for Costa in 2009, and the top sellers of 2008 will be recognized in categories ranging from total turnover to honeymoon voyages.

Attention will focus on the new Costa Luminosa and Costa Pacifica, scheduled to be christened together on June 5 in Genoa. Also, agents will get briefed on incentives linked to 'Made in Italy' partners Fiat and Piaggio.

Top sellers will have opportunities to win Fiat 500s customized for Costa or specially designed Piaggio 'C' Vespa scooters.

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Recovery seen after direct hit on Mumbai calls (**updated**)

Recovery seen after direct hit on Mumbai calls (**updated**)


However, the country's leading ship's agent for cruise, a seasoned itinerary planner and a major US cruise retailer with clients on one of the redeployed vessels all told Seatrade Insider they expect India's cruise market to recover in time.


'I would think that this is a short-term reaction and the market shouldstabilize in a few weeks as investigations are on, and foreign investigative agencies are also cooperating with their Indian counterparts as they suspect international terror groups to be behind the incidents,' said Keki Master, vp of Mumbai-based J.M. Baxi & Co., India's leading ship's agent for cruise.


He added: 'We are in touch with the cruise lines and their security departments to update them regarding the latest developments.'


Royal Caribbean International's Legend of the Seas dropped its Sunday-Monday visit to Mumbai and proceeded to Goa, the next stop. Also bypassing Mumbai are Azamara Quest (Dec. 7-8), Seabourn Spirit (Dec. 7) and Oceania Cruises' Nautica (Dec. 9-10). Azamara Quest and Seabourn Spirit will substitute Goa, while Nautica is adding Male in the Maldives.


Peter Cox, Seabourn's director of itinerary planning and land development, called the events in Mumbai 'very sad indeed.'


He added: 'But, the world goes on and destinations learn from disasters such as this one. Rarely does one see them occur again in the same place and new events occupy the headlines as time goes by. It's the nature of things.'

Cox said though many people may look with suspicion at Mumbai at present, he is confident that the destination will be a regular port of call on future cruise itineraries: 'Most likely with increased security on land as well as on the ships. And that's a good thing.'


Jerry Davis, president of Alice Travel in Fairfield, N.J., a top cruise agency, has two couples on board Nautica, which plans to keep calls at Mormugao, Mangalore and Cochin. (The ship also repelled a piracy attempt in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday.)


Alice Travel typically packages India cruises with extended land programs. 'The people have been thrilled with India. It is a wonderful destination,' Davis said, noting that his Nautica clients will be disappointed to miss an overland tour to Agra which was to operate from Mumbai.


Security needs to improve following the India atrocities, he told Seatrade Insider.


'It takes something like this to wake them up,' Davis said of India's security officials. 'It's unfortunate but probably we will start to see more metal detectors and other measures to beef up security at the hotels. They have a lot of work to do over there.'


Davis noted that after the massacre of 58 tourists in Egypt's Valley of the Queens in 1997, Egypt took dramatic steps to improve safety for tourists. 'They have security people on every bus,' he said.


The Alice Travel chief expects India will go through a similar transformation. Because it is such an intriguing destination, the country will remain at the top of many clients' lists, he predicted.


'It really is up to the cruise line to investigate and carry out their due diligence,' he said. 'I would not say at all that ships should not go, as long as the security is such that the operators feel it is safe.'

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Cruise West chair to host agent seminars

Cruise West chair to host agent seminars

Participants will be able to interact with West and ask questions during the Dec. 9 and 11 programs. Also in attendance will be a Cruise West Exploration Leader who will share insights and day-to-day activities available to passengers.

Agents who book a cruise within two weeks of attending a presentation will get a $100 shipboard credit for their clients.

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Miami memorial for KJ Spurkeland

Miami memorial for KJ Spurkeland

) Spurkeland at noon Tuesday at the Norwegian Seaman's Church at the Port of Miami.

Spurkeland, whose cruise career included working as a sales representative for Callenberg Engineering and for Royal Caribbean's purchasing department, died at his home on Wednesday. He was 68.

Born in Norway, Spurkeland was active in Miami's Norwegian Shipping Club/Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce. He was known for enlivening social events by playing his accordion.

Spurkeland is survived by six children and a large extended family in Norway.

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Shares sink as US recession is confirmed

Shares sink as US recession is confirmed

The news coincided with all major market indexes falling on concerns about consumer spending.

Cruise shares were off more than 5% in trading.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, considered the arbiter of economic cycles, reported that the US has been in a recession since December last year.

Mixed retail sales at the start of the holiday season and weak data from the construction and manufacturing sectors contributed to a gloomy session on Wall Street.

Carnival shares opened at $19.85 following Friday's close at $21, and Royal Caribbean opened at $9 following Friday's close of $9.42.

The stocks remained above their Nov. 21 nadirs of $14.85 for Carnival and $5.97 for Royal Caribbean.

And there was another bright spot for cruise operators -- oil dipped to $50 a barrel, down from its all-time high of $147 in July.

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