Carnival enhances group management tools

Carnival enhances group management tools

Among a number of enhancements are the ability to berth group cabins and select/modify cabin assignments, to submit cruise payment information by posting a credit card payment or a check number and to assign/modify land packages.

Sailings effective Sept. 1 and beyond are accessible through BookCCL.com for agents to manage their group cabins.

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RCIapos;s Independence is named in Southampton

RCIapos;s Independence is named in Southampton

Royal Caribbean International's newest ship was christened on a drizzly afternoon in Southampton, its homeport for the coming months.

Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean chairman and ceo, called Independence of the Seas 'the largest, most innovative cruise ship ever to sail from these shores.'

Fain, who lived in England for a decade, noted Royal Caribbean has maintained an office outside London since 1973, employs nearly 300 people in the UK and Ireland, partners with nearly 1,000 British travel agents and has seven ships calling at or homeporting in UK ports. Britons are the line's second largest source market after Americans.

'We as a cruise company and Britain as a cruise market have grown up together,' he said.

Godmother Elizabeth Hill, selected in a UK nationwide search for an 'ordinary' woman who has made an extraordinary contribution to the common good, operates a farm where troubled and learning disabled children can learn new skills. Fain called her an 'unsung hero.'

Five-time Olympic gold medalist Redgrave, who leads a children's foundation that partners with Royal Caribbean, also spoke at the ceremony in the ship's Alhambra Theatre.

Top Royal Caribbean executives including president and ceo Adam Goldstein and evp maritime Harri Kulovaara filled the first rows, along with guests including Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the UK, and Bill Gibbons, chairman of the Passenger Shipping Association.

'It's a huge endorsement of the UK market that Royal Caribbean have put their newest and biggest ship here for a full season,' Gibbons told Seatrade Insider. 'This class of ship is particularly good for the UK extended family holiday market -- grandparents, parents and kids -- because it's so big, there's something for everyone to do.'

The bottle didn't break, which itself is becoming something of a British tradition. 'Put it down to the English weather,' quipped a Briton in the audience.

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Vacation.com: Cruise sales robust

Vacation.com: Cruise sales robust

Vacation.com members also reported consumers are spending more cautiously, booking closer to travel dates and opting for both mass-market and premium cruises while reducing the overall number of days at sea.

The findings come from a post-wave season study Vacation.com conducted of its membership.

Steve Tracas, president and ceo of Vacation.com, said his organization is encouraged by the continued growth in the cruise market compared to last year.

'All indications are that consumers are still taking cruises, but they are adjusting their plans to shorter cruises spread out over the growing and diverse products offered by the many cruise lines,' Tracas added.

Vacation.com agents sold cruises at an average rate of $1,426 per person, slightly higher than last year.

Most agencies reported a shorter booking window for cruises, however some retailers said they were booking departures as far out as 2009.

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Carnival buys back senior debentures

Carnival buys back senior debentures

Carnival bought back the debentures at a price of $646.88 per $1,000 principal amount at maturity, plus accrued and unpaid interest.

As of today, $421,953,000 aggregate principal amount at maturity of the Senior Convertible Debentures remain outstanding.

Carnival said the agreement governing the Senior Convertible Debentures was amended on April 25 to add additional semi-annual cash interest payments at a rate of 0.50% per year through Oct. 29, 2009, and certain other covenants and agreements for the benefit of the holders.

'We're pleased with the results of the amendment process as we were able to keep almost half of this debt outstanding at a very attractive rate,' said David Bernstein, svp and cfo for Carnival Corp. & plc.

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Crystal unveils Costa Brava land program

Crystal unveils Costa Brava land program

18 voyage from Rome to Barcelona, the optional four-night, five-day program offers historical, architectural and culinary enrichment in Barcelona and the Spanish countryside.

Highlights range from the medieval city of Figueres, the birthplace of artist Salvador Dalí, to the castle of Perelada, which houses a fine restaurant, casino, glass and wine museums and a library of more than 80,000 antique books. Participants will also dine at a 13th-century farmhouse restaurant.

The Costa Brava program is $4,599 per person, double occupancy.

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QM2 hosts Martha Graham Dance Company

QM2 hosts Martha Graham Dance Company

Guests of the event, 'Celebrating Excellence in Education,' included donors and members of the dance company's board of directors.

Cunard hosted the event and luncheon to support the dance company's mission: perpetuating the artistic legacy of Martha Graham.

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Regent ships rendezvous in Hamilton

Regent ships rendezvous in Hamilton

Seven Seas Mariner was in the middle of a 12-night Bermuda cruise round-trip from Fort Lauderdale, and Seven Seas Voyager was nearing the completion of a 17-day voyage from Piraeus to Fort Lauderdale on the final leg of its world cruise.

To commemorate the rendezvous, Regent Seven Seas hosted a dual-vessel, bloody mary cocktail party, welcoming passengers to visit either ship for a celebration that began at 10 a.m. Saturday and lasted through the day.

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Celebrity Galaxy tapped for TUI Cruises

Celebrity Galaxy tapped for TUI Cruises

and TUI AG.

Celebrity Galaxy will complete its scheduled sailings through the March 2, 2009, itinerary before entering service for TUI Cruises in May 2009 under a new name. The ship will sail in the Baltic in the summer, and the Caribbean in the winter.

Celebrity Cruises president and ceo Dan Hanrahan said the 1996-built ship will continue to offer Celebrity's style and service 'right up until the shift to TUI Cruises.' He said the shipboard staff will be transitioned to other vessels in the fleet as the brand grows with its new Solstice class.

'We look forward to customizing the ship for our German customer base, growing our brand, and providing our guests with an incredible vacation experience,' said Richard Vogel, ceo of TUI Cruises.

Vogel said the ship will offer a contemporary/premium experience with a product tailored to German tastes in food, entertainment and amenities.

Celebrity invested $4m into Galaxy upgrades this month, including new carpeting, upholstery and lighting in a variety of public spaces and staterooms. The 77,713gt ship carries 1,870 passengers, double occupancy, and 909 crew.

Newbuilds are planned for TUI Cruises in 2011 and 2012.

The company's website is www.tuicruises.com.

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ICCA releases 2007 Australian passenger survey

ICCA releases 2007 Australian passenger survey


Unveiling ICCA's 2007 Australian passenger survey, Cranmer, md of Discover the World Marketing, said 251,674 Australians took an ocean cruise last year. This was a 14% increase over the 2006 figure of 221,033.


The number of Australians taking European river cruises in 2007 -- the first time ICCA's annual survey has covered this segment of the industry -- was 11,761, bringing the total number of Australians taking cruise holidays last year to 263,435.


Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific ports were the most popular in 2007, accounting for 61% of total passenger numbers.


Asia came next, with 23,721 passengers, or 9% of the market. Alaskan/Canadian and European cruises each attracted 8%. The 20,638 passengers on European ocean itineraries represented an increase of 67% over 2006.


Cruises of eight to 14 days were most popular, attracting 137,063 passengers, or 52% of the market and shorter five- to seven-day cruises accounted for 94,783 passengers, or 36%.


The 24 cruise line members of ICCA are APT Amadeus, Avalon Waterways, Azamara, Captain Cook Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, MSC, North Star Cruises, NCL, Orion Expedition Cruises, P&O Cruises, P&O World Voyages, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea, Star, Trafalgar Uniworld Grand River Cruises and Viking River Cruises.


ICCA is expected to release its 2007 New Zealand passenger survey mid-May.

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MSC venue a masterstroke for ICCA

MSC venue a masterstroke for ICCA


Securing MSC's new ship, which was christened by Sophia Loren in a blaze of publicity this month, has been a big drawcard for the annual event previously hosted by Norwegian Capricorn Line, Captain Cook Cruises, Star Cruises, Carnival, NCL, Costa, P&O Cruises Australia and Royal Caribbean.


The ICCA Accredited Cruise Consultants who attend all the sessions aboard Poesia and complete a post-conference case study will gain Master Cruise Consultant accreditation.


As reported last month, ICCA gm Brett Jardine said there have been 1,100 Accredited Cruise Consultant graduates in Australia and 250 in New Zealand since 1997. To date, there are 251 Master Cruise Consultant graduates in Australia and 68 in New Zealand.

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