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Olympia Explorer dispute still unresolved

Olympia Explorer dispute still unresolved

Arbitration currently taking place in Bremen is expected to end by early April and, failing a satisfactory solution, B+V says it will sell the vessel to a third party. Expressions of interest have already been received but remain undisclosed.

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Argentine tourism chief seeks cruisers

Argentine tourism chief seeks cruisers

Scioli also aims to expand the cruise season. Ships now call from November to March but the secretary would like to see visits during October as well.

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Innovation vital to luxury cruise market

Innovation vital to luxury cruise market

' Lonsdale observed that upscale lines face a challenge now that luxury features like open seating dining and suite accommodations have been adopted throughout the premium and contemporary sectors.

Silversea ceo Albert Peter dismissed the notion that mass-market lines now sailing to exotic locations pose a threat to upscale operators. 'If that were the case, you would only see Holiday Inns in exotic locations,' he quipped.

In the US, the truly affluent market - the primary target for upscale travel - is probably around 2m US households with a net worth of $3m or more, according to consultant Ron Kurtz of the American Affluence Research Centre. A fraction of those people cruise, and they are not necessarily booking onto luxury lines. 'The potential of the market dwarfs the capacity that exists,' Kurtz said. Matthew Upchurch noted that for his Virtuoso consortium of top luxury-selling travel agents, the 'No. 1 worry is not having enough luxury products to sell.'

Gary Milner of Canyon Ranch explained his company's target for the world's first floating resort spas is the high-end soft adventure buyer, not the traditional cruiser. 'Our strategy is to position this as the world's first and only ocean-going health resort. We are not going to promote it as a luxury cruise product.'

Panelists agreed that constant innovation is essential. Residensea's Nikki Upshaw described a variety of new ideas being offered by The World, including port stays of up to several days. SeaDream Yacht Club chairman & ceo Larry Pimentel urged destinations to come forward with ideas for unique shoreside offerings that offer the kind of personalised experiences upscale clients seek.

Panelists stressed that creativity, richly rewarding experiences and offering a highly individualised service level are necessary elements in satisfying upscale clientele. 'Luxury lives in the minds of the consumer at the moment where reality exceeds their expectations,' said Seabourn's Rick Meadows. Branding, he added, is crucial: luxury consumers 'want to buy a brand that's known for being the best.'

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Call for a luxury cruise association

Call for a luxury cruise association

' Speaking from the audience, Laurent Monsaingeon of the French Riviera ports proposed the creation of a luxury working group to gather data on the sector. 'We really ought to have an association of small lines,' agreed SeaDream chairman and ceo Larry Pimentel. 'The small guys like us need a voice.'

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NCL remains cautious on far-flung itineraries

NCL remains cautious on far-flung itineraries

'We are experiencing a very strong response to "Homeland Cruising,"' he told reporters at a Seatrade Miami news conference. NCL will continue this strategy at least through 2003. Saying 'We don't want to be as exposed as we were with four ships in Europe,' Veitch noted that NCL together with the Orient brand would deploy, at most, just 20% of its capacity away from mainland US turnaround ports.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Star in Hawaii continues as NCL's strongest booking product. 'Yields are good and customer satisfaction is extremely high. We're making good money there,' Veitch said. 'Hawaii is a market that has shown to us it has great potential. We wish we had two ships there.' Come autumn, it will - temporarily - when the Norwegian Wind (originally scheduled for Asia) offers a series of 10- and 11-day Hawaii cruises. Veitch said the company is weighing whether it will continue to offer voyages of longer than a week in this market. As for Norwegian Star's seven-day product, after initial problems keeping the schedule, NCL revised ports and reduced the number of tender calls to one. Now things are running smoothly.

Deployment for Norwegian Dawn, delivering in September from Meyer Werft, will be announced soon. Veitch said the ship will be Miami-based, offering either year-round or seasonal Caribbean itineraries. Dawn will bring slightly different features from sister ship Norwegian Star. They include an even larger spa and a steak house where the tapas restaurant is located on Star. Veitch also said Freestyle Cruising is now very favourably accepted. Adding service personnel to launch the concept last year increased costs 'significantly,' but the NCL chief said some positions could now start to be consolidated.

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ResConcepts signs The World

ResConcepts signs The World

The application has been installed on The World of ResidenSea, reports Cruise Technologies president Ben Tipps.

'This has been a very challenging installation due to the fact that ResidenSea required a product that could solve the different needs of a cruise line and resort property, all within one system,' Tipps said. 'I am very pleased that our application has demonstrated and proven its flexibility in being able to perform all of these functions for ResidenSea within one, user-friendly, quick application.'

'Cruise Technologies has done a tremendous job in developing a comprehensive system for ResidenSea that incorporates elements of both a hotel, cruise, resort and villa rental system,' says Cris Casanueva, ResidenSea's vp of guest services. ResConcepts is exhibiting at Booth 2224 at Seatrade Miami.

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Coors brews up Carnival special edition

Coors brews up Carnival special edition

The product is being sold in bars, restaurants and lounges throughout the Fun Ship fleet in 2002.

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Europe sales pick up for Crystal

Europe sales pick up for Crystal

The company has just posted its strongest booking period yet for the 14 Northern Europe and Mediterranean itineraries aboard the 940-passenger Crystal Symphony, and Crystal is moving toward summer with a solid base of business - though customers are shopping for deals.

The line expanded its future savings plan, 'Crystal Dividends,' to most European departures. Travelers who book any of a dozen designated sailings this summer receive a 2-for-1 savings certificate applicable to almost every cruise aboard Crystal Harmony and Crystal Symphony in 2003. 'Today's consumers are looking for the best value' said svp marketing Adam Leavitt.

Crystal has just published its 16-page 2003 cruise guide, listing itineraries for Crystal Harmony, Symphony and the inaugural season of the 1,080-passenger Crystal Serenity, delivering in June 2003. The line will sail to all seven continents, calling at 107 destinations in 55 countries. Itineraries will be posted at www.crystalcruises.com starting Friday, and the full 136-page cruise atlas will be available in April.

The 68,000gt Crystal Serenity, under construction at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, will bring two full decks of penthouse suites and four top-of-the-line Crystal Penthouses. Michel expressed confidence about the decision to significantly boost number of suites on the newbuild. 'Our penthouse decks are booked (on Harmony and Symphony). People want verandas. They want suites.'

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The World, at last

The World, at last

The news was announced during this morning's Upscale Products session at Seatrade Miami by Nikki Upshaw, vp sales. Financial closing will take place on Friday and the vessel will sail Saturday. Residents will board March 28 in Oslo.

The World is not coming to the US this spring as planned but will remain in Europe where she'll be showcased to partners and potential residence buyers at a series of events. May 2 is the first revenue voyage, from Lisbon to Venice.

The World will be christened in Europe, vp marketing Signe Bjorndal told Seatrade Insider. 'We're so excited that we're finally there. It's almost like giving birth,' she enthused. 'We've had some challenges and it's long overdue. The owners have been extremely graceful, extremely understanding.'

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Seatrade Cruise Mexico announced

Seatrade Cruise Mexico announced

3.8 million cruise visitors arrived in Mexico in 2001 and this figure is set to rise dramatically. Progreso has 124 calls scheduled, Mazatlan projects a 50% increase in arrivals with just under 300,000 passengers expected and Costa Maya will have five cruise ships a week. In recognition of this popular year-round destination, Acapulco will host the Seatrade Cruise Mexico Conference April 2003.

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