Instant Communicator links agents, suppliers

Instant Communicator links agents, suppliers

The tool connects agents directly to suppliers, without a middleman, using a programme which can be downloaded free at www.instant-communicator.com/schedule/new_agent.asp (a CD or other software is not required).

Instant Communicator can help agents work more productively, says eMarketing president Michael Goldberg. It connects agents to suppliers instantly and at all times so agents can access information and promotions as well as book packages in less time than connecting directly through the Internet, Goldberg adds. 'The system allows freedom and flexibility for both agents and suppliers. Agents need to have a faster way to check on supplier promotions, especially when they have clients seated in front of them or on the telephone. Suppliers need the flexibility and capability to reach a large group of travel agents with immediate communications on new promotions and special offers.'

Suppliers must register to be listed on Instant Communicator. They then control the information provided and the links to their booking engines. Holland America Line, Holland America Tours and Windstar Cruises are among the cruise suppliers registered. 'We recognise how valuable an agent's time is and keeping up with the latest information can be difficult,' said Mark Kammerer, HAL's vp worldwide marketing. 'Instant Communicator puts the latest Holland America Line information right at their fingertips.' For more information or to register, suppliers can e-mail mgoldberg@travelagentpromos.com.

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Swan Hellenic to introduce new ship April 2003

Swan Hellenic to introduce new ship April 2003

The rolling charter will be initially for seven years Carolanne Dieleman, Swan's sales and marketing director told Seatrade Insider. The company's1996-built Minerva will be returned to owner Monaco-based Vlasov Group next year.

Swan Hellenic does not anticipate any structural changes to R8 but will be adapting her interior to the company's established elegant country-house hotel style says Dieleman. R8 is over twice the size of Minerva giving SH greater accommodation flexibility and the chance to offer more solo rooms and outside cabins. 71% of cabins have balconies whilst Minerva offers just 12. In the last 18 months Dieleman says there has been an increase in guests requesting balconied cabins and 'with a repeat factor of 60%, Minerva II will enable us to accommodate this demand.'

Whilst 2003 itineraries have yet to be finalised Minerva II's 20 knot capability compared with Minerva's 14 knots gives SH the chance to visit a wider range of destinations in its discovery itineraries, with the benefit of increased speeds. These itineraries will continue to focus on both well-known and off-the-beaten-track places, with a team of Guest Speakers on each cruise to bring each area to life. Dieleman confirms South America is an option it is looking at.

Carol Marlow, md, Swan Hellenic, says 'The decision to introduce a new ship demonstrates our confidence in the growing demand forthis special type of holiday, which offers the chance to explore the worldin country-house comfort, in the company of like-minded travellers and Swan Hellenic Guest Speakers, who bring the history and culture of eachdestination to life.'

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Lee Robinson joins Cunard as vp sales

Lee Robinson joins Cunard as vp sales

He will oversee the sales force, sales administration and the national accounts department, reporting to Debbie Natansohn, svp worldwide sales and marketing. Robinson most recently was vp sales for American Classic Voyages and earlier had a long career with Princess Cruises.

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Fosen and ResidenSea thrash out World delay

Fosen and ResidenSea thrash out World delay

Whilst Fosen Mek says the ship is ready for handing over, ResidenSea is refusing to accept the vessel. Bryn Freberg, spokesman for ResidenSea told Seatrade Insider delivery is now a few days away and says the talks are 'moving in the right direction'. He noted that once an agreed delivery date has been set, the next stage would be for the bankers and lawyers to close the deal. The World is financed by Centre Solutions and West LB.

Fosen Mek reports the vessel has passed its final inspections by classification society DNV and flag state Bahamas Registry. Freberg confirmed that the ship is seaworthy and it was now a question of sorting out some matters related to the interior finish. ResidenSea wants to resolve these issues as fast as possible as, 'our 80 buyers (the residence owners) are disappointed about the two previous postponements.'

Norwegian press reports that the US Coast Guard has not cleared the ship are misleading. Rajiv Khandpur, passenger vessel programme manager for the USCG's Foreign and Offshore Compliance Division, said certificates are not issued on site for newbuilding inspections overseas. Rather, the Coast Guard presents a list of outstanding items which the company should attend to before the ship's first arrival at a US port. That is when USCG officials conduct an inspection (including crew fire and lifeboat drills) leading to the issuance (or not) of a certificate of compliance.

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Manatee offers to custom-build a cruise terminal

Manatee offers to custom-build a cruise terminal

The terminal would serve the new 1,550ft Berth 12 (of which 1,000ft will be operational by December, with the additional 550ft already funded and scheduled for completion by December 2003).

'Our hope is that if one cruise line accepts our invitation and commits to Port Manatee, we'll build the cruise terminal to their specifications,' says Steve Tyndal, Manatee's director of trade development and special projects. The terms of qualifying for a custom-built terminal are not carved in stone. Tyndal would like to see something like Disney Cruise Line's 20-year commitment to Port Canaveral, but he says a five-year contract might be a reasonable starting point. 'We've made a commitment to the cruise industry,' he stresses. 'We have something that we know will work, and the cruise line that selects Port Manatee will have a significant advantage that no other cruise line has. It's a case of first come, first served.'

Tyndal describes Manatee as 'a unique, quiet, peaceful place to launch your vacation from.' He points to the memorable view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the surrounding nature preserve, ample airlift (four international airports within an easy drive), the proximity of Sarasota with its high-income population of avid cruisers and 5.6m Floridians living in a two-hour radius. He also says that by using Manatee instead of other Tampa Bay ports, ships can shave off two to four hours in transit time one way across the bay. Any cruise lines wishing to talk to Tyndal can find him at next week's Seatrade Convention at the Port Manatee booth (#3016).

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Carnival urges P&O Princess to consider a dlc combo

Carnival urges P&O Princess to consider a dlc combo

Arison stressed two points: that Carnival is still willing to pursue a dual-listed company structure with P&O Princess and that the British company's board should work toward securing regulatory clearance for both the Carnival and Royal Caribbean deals 'without prejudice to either.'

Arison appealed to Lord Sterling to consider the interests of his shareholders, whose February 14 decision to adjourn rather than vote on the Royal deal indicated a desire to weigh the Carnival and Royal offers side by side. Sources close to Carnival said the Miami company was concerned about public statements by P&O officials that 'could poison the regulatory atmosphere' by painting Carnival in the worst possible light. They cited Peter Ratcliffe's pre-egm warning to analysts that Carnival faces a tougher regulatory challenge because it will have 140,000 beds by 2005 versus Royal Caribbean's 60,000. The sources said such comparisons mislead because in most national markets (except Southern Europe), Carnival and Royal hold similar shares.

In the letter, Arison reiterated his willingness to meet with the Princess board to develop a dlc structure, which (like the Royal deal) would allow both companies to maintain their separate listings. Such a combination would be attractive to the many British institutional shareholders who are required to invest in mostly UK stocks. 'Under a dlc structure, we envisage that the economic interest of P&O Princess would reflect the 550p per share valuation of P&O Princess under our increased offer,' Arison wrote. 'This would be equivalent, based on the current market values of P&O Princess and Royal Caribbean, to P&O Princess shareholders receiving 62% of the equity in the proposed combination with Royal Caribbean.' Under the Royal dlc, P&O Princess gets 50.7%.

The Carnival camp said the P&O Princess board had dismissed Arison's latest invitation to a meeting. It remains to be seen whether Royal Caribbean will revise its offer for the British line.

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Cunard to sign world-famous chef

Cunard to sign world-famous chef

The identity of the chef is being kept strictly under wraps, but Seatrade Insider understands he is award-winning. The announcement will take place at 4:30 pm on Wednesday, March 13 in Hall D, Room D235-236 of the Miami Beach Convention Centre.

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Darwinapos;s new cruise ship strip

Darwinapos;s new cruise ship strip

The proposed multi-million-dollar project, first mooted in1999, has been approved by the Northern Territory Government and includes a maritime museum as well as restaurants, bars and retail shops.

Richard Doyle, manager international markets for Australia's NorthernTerritory (the promotional tag of the Northern Territory Tourist Commission) told Seatrade Insider today that Darwin, which has a harbour twice the size of Sydney's is gearing for more cruise calls in the future. Holland America's Amsterdam and Silversea's Silver Shadow botharrived last Saturday.

Doyle, the tourism representative on Cruise Down Under's managementcommittee, was hosting a road-show of 40 leading Territory tourism operators that moves to Brisbane tomorrow and Melbourne Thursday as part of Australia's 2002 Year of the Outback.

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Crystal draws repeaters to Alaska

Crystal draws repeaters to Alaska

Adam Leavitt, vp marketing, surmises the repeat figures for a destination that (unlike Europe, for example) isn't noted for high repeat business could be related to the fact that Alaska now offers too many appealing excursion options to try in a single cruise. Also, he says the state is drawing repeaters due to the increased interest in domestic, close-to-home destinations.

Crystal is selling five new Alaska tours including a helicopter glacier trek and dog sled ride in Skagway, added because of the popularity of a similar one in Juneau, and a kayak expedition in Ketchikan's Tongass National Forest. Fifty other excursions are also available.

Crystal offers 12-day Alaska cruises roundtrip from San Francisco and this year has added three new 10-day itineraries between Vancouver and Seward or San Francisco. The Alaska season on Crystal Harmony has also been extended from June through September.

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Integrated Dynamics unveils new telemed service

Integrated Dynamics unveils new telemed service

The new service provides cruise ship medical centres with a 'no charge to the sender' Internet telemedicine communication service, giving them immediate access to radiology, cardiology and other medical expertise from anywhere in the world.

MedServe Cruise-Net will supersede Integrated Dynamics' current ISDN-based file transmission technology and will allow ships to send and receive medical data over their existing C-band or other Internet service provider. Integrated Dynamics does not charge the sender for the Cruise-Net file communication service so ships operating MedServe systems can now send x-rays and other medical data to shoreside providers free of charge.

Based in Cambridge, England, Integrated Dynamics supplies telemed services to a host of ships including Golden and Grand Princess, Aurora, Amsterdam and Carnival Spirit. The company will exhibit in the UK Pavillion at Seatrade.

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