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NCL UK relaunches group sales programme

NCL UK relaunches group sales programme

0 survey. As well as offering a free place to one in 16 group members based on double occupancy, NCL is awarding agents with 'amenity points' which can be used to enhance their groups' on board experiences.


The amenity points, which are given a value based on sailing date and itinerary, can be redeemed to offer group members up to $200 of on board credit per stateroom, 'bon voyage' gifts or can be grouped together to host a cocktail party on board. This allows agents to offer a personalised, value-added service to their customers.'


'Once a group is set up, guests can be added and managed online through our partnership with Amadeus, meaning it is also ideal for homeworkers as they can access the information whenever they need to." says Sally-Anne Beasley, director of passenger services, NCL UK.


The re-launch of its group sales programme also includes group savings on winter Mediterranean 2008/09 itineraries.

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NCL targets Irish market

NCL targets Irish market

Features include NCL's first winter cruises in Europe aboard Norwegian Jade and summer European cruises featuring roundtrip departures from Dover and Southampton, as well as sailings from Mediterranean ports.


'We believe there is great potential for growth in the Irish market, so are coordinating a range of activities to allow agents to learn about what we have to offer. Likewise, it's important for us to have an in-depth understanding of the issues that face the Irish travel industry,' said Nick Wilkinson, director of sales, UK and Ireland.


The line has recently become an affiliate member of the ITAA(Irish Travel Agent Association) to build closer ties with travel partners in Ireland, bringing training, sales and marketing opportunities.


NCL is also coordinating two agents' ship visits on Norwegian Jade, in Cobh on July 16 and Dublin the day after.

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Cyprus forges ahead with twin port expansion

Cyprus forges ahead with twin port expansion

Partly funded by the EU, the project will cover a total area of 7,000sq mtr and is expected to cost some EUR17m. It is due to be completed in 2011 and will become the island's main centre for homeporting business.

Meanwhile the redevelopment plan to transform Larnaka port and marina into the main transit passenger port for Cyprus is entering its final stages. 42 hectares of waterfront land are being set aside to create a dedicated cruise port as well as areas for retail, offices and hotels and marina.

The technical evaluation was completed in December 2007 and the financial aspects are now under review and will soon be completed. The contract to manage the terminal is out to international tender and selection of the successful bidder will take place soon with a contract due to be signed by the start of 2009. Three major cruise lines are seeking joint participation in the running of the Larnaka terminal, Yiannakis Kokkinos, general manager of Cyprus Ports Authority tells Seatrade Insider.

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Creative Cruising bought by NRMA

Creative Cruising bought by NRMA


Creative Cruising, a preferred wholesaler for a number of major cruise lines, is the gsa in Australia for Star Clippers Monaco and Thomson Cruises.


NRMA director Wendy Machin said today the purchase of Creative Cruising is part of the expansion of its travel wholesale operation.
'The purchase will also offer NRMA members more travel benefits in future,' Machin said.


In January 2007 NRMA became a 70% shareholder in Adventure World, the company founded by its current md, Peter Newsom, that represents Cruise West and G.A.P. Adventures in Australia.


Last September the motoring organisation, which has an NRMA Travel Cruise Club, acquired specialist South Pacific travel operator Coral Seas.

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Eurodam additions apos;relevant,apos; not iconic

Eurodam additions apos;relevant,apos; not iconic

Compared to other prototype newbuilds, Eurodam is mid-sized and has few iconic aspects -- no live-grass lawns, glass-blowing, ice bars or zip-lines. Instead, HAL aimed for what it describes as 'relevant' features.

This first 86,700gt, 2,104-passenger Signature-class vessel is just slightly larger than HAL's Vista series. It has an additional deck and 56 spa staterooms with special amenities. New dining choices include the by-reservation Tamarind for pan-Asian dishes, Canaletto for family-style Italian dinners and Slice for round-the-clock pizza.

There's a dedicated space for the new HAL Digital Workshop Powered by Microsoft Windows, with an expert-led program of free courses. Twenty-two private cabanas priced starting at $30 a day are found poolside and in a secluded deck space called The Retreat. These new elements feel very consistent with the brand.

'We are not about gimmicks. We are about giving the product and service that people expect today, at an unprecedented value,' Kruse said.

'We want to do things that are relevant and fit the premium brand positioning,' added HAL's Rick Meadows, evp marketing, sales and guest programs. He cited courses where passengers can learn how to blog as very relevant. 'With Holland America, it's not the icon. It's the sum of many small features that are well-priced,' Meadows said.

Kruse compared HAL to the Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton concepts of overall outstanding service, amenities and accommodations, without individual, attention-grabbing elements.

'Premium is really a good position to be in now,' Meadows told Seatrade Insider. Upscale customers can book a Eurodam suite and get a host of perks plus concierge lounge access and multiple dining choices, at significantly less cost than a luxury ship or hotel.

'I think the spa cabins are going to be one of the great little finds, at a great value,' he added. A premium of $10 to $15 per day for those accommodations is expected relative to comparable non-spa categories.

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Arison: Fuel can be albatross for new orders

Arison: Fuel can be albatross for new orders

& plc. 'We're not alone,' he added. 'We're crying with a lot of companies right now.'

A recent business-news ranking comparing corporate valuations to General Motors put Carnival at three times the value of the automotive giant. 'While we're getting hammered, it's not any worse than others,' Arison told reporters on board Holland America's new Eurodam.

But he warned that if current conditions continue for an extended period, future capacity growth will slow.

'The cost for the dollar brands to build in Europe and the operating profit based on $140 fuel means the returns are not higher than the cost of capital right now,' Arison said. If today's scenario holds, 'it is likely you will see a slowdown in newbuilds after 2011.'

Carnival Dream and Magic were the last contracts inked by Carnival. That was one year ago. Meanwhile, the company is taking a very high pace of deliveries for orders placed three or four years ago, particularly for European-sourced brands.

However, Arison cautioned that even the sterling- and euro-denominated lines face steeper capital costs due to the skyrocketing price of shipbuilding components, on top of fuel. 'The margins are starting to narrow,' the Carnival chief said.

It's hard to put today's dynamics into a historical context. During the gas lines of the 1970s in the United States, Carnival was just a two-ship entity. Now it's 88 vessels strong, with a global portfolio of brands.

'We were very U.S.-centric. Now we're global. While times were as difficult or more difficult than today, having to deal with these issues globally is much more complicated for us,' Arison noted.

Each brand faces its own challenges. On the corporate level, he added, the dynamics are 'intriguing.'

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Queen Beatrix names HALapos;s Eurodam

Queen Beatrix names HALapos;s Eurodam

The ceremony was contemporary but gave a strong nod to the line's 135-year-old Dutch heritage.

HAL's 160th ship, 80th passenger vessel and 14th in the current fleet was alongside at Wilhelminakade with a backdrop of barges, ferries and pleasure boats zipping along the River Maas. Hundreds of office workers and highrise apartment dwellers gazed down on the festivities.

The nearly 2,500 guests rose as Queen Beatrix arrived, wearing a lavender hat, and was saluted by HAL officers on a blue-carpeted stage.

'When we carry the Dutch flag, we are ambassadors of your country,' HAL president and ceo Stein Kruse told the queen. Holland America enjoys 'a very special connection' with Rotterdam and the Netherlands, he added, recounting how the line had transported troops in both world wars and yesterday hosted a dozen World War II veterans who had served aboard HAL ships.

Capt. Jeroen van Donselaar, a 22-year HAL veteran, called it the pinnacle of his career to be appointed as the ship's first master. He presided over HAL's traditional blessing of the ship's bell and spoke of his excitement at bringing the Eurodam up the River Maas, lined with thousands of spectators.

Fincantieri executive chairman Corrado Antonini noted that the Marghera yard delivered the ship fewer than 16 months after its keel-laying. He called the name 'Eurodam' appropriate for a vessel built in Italy and flying the Dutch flag, as both countries are founding members of the European Union.

After the guests were entertained by an a cappella quartet and a duet of opera sopranos backed by an orchestra, they viewed historic footage of members of the Dutch royal family christening past Holland America ships.

The captain, Kruse and Carnival Corp. chairman and ceo Micky Arison then escorted Queen Beatrix to the stage, where she named the Eurodam, rang the ship's bell and sent a bottle of champagne smashing against the hull.

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Bookings open for Carnival Dream

Bookings open for Carnival Dream

The ship is to debut on Sept. 21, 2009, with a trio of 12-day 'Grand Mediterranean' cruises from Civitavecchia to Naples, Livorno, Venice, Dubrovnik, Messina (Sicily), Monaco and Barcelona.

Carnival Dream will then sail a 16-day Atlantic crossing from Civitavecchia to New York with calls at Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Las Palmas and Bermuda. From New York, the ship will operate two eight-day Bahamas/Florida cruises.

Carnival Dream will then reposition to Port Canaveral for year-round seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises beginning Dec. 5, 2009. The Eastern route visits Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, while the Western route takes in Cozumel, Belize, Costa Maya and Roatán.

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Crystal offers agent training apos;en españolapos;

Crystal offers agent training apos;en españolapos;

The free course is available through CrystalCruisesAcademy.com, and can be completed in two hours. Agents who complete Course I will receive a certificate identifying them as a certified Crystal luxury cruise seller and will be entered into a drawing for a free cruise.

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Cruise West extends Panama/Costa Rica season

Cruise West extends Panama/Costa Rica season

Additionally, one enhanced and two new land tours are offered as add-ons.

Customers may choose from two holiday cruises, two PENTAX photography cruises or the option to travel in the company of a Panama Canal expert on two departures.

The nine-night 'Between Two Seas' itinerary sails on the 100-passenger Pacific Explorer.

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