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Articles from 2002 In August


QE2 record breaker

QE2 record breaker

In celebration of this historic occasion the 1,611 guests and 1,000 crew onboard were each presented with a certificate. Currently positioned mid-Atlantic en route for Southampton, QE2 is in her 33rd yearof operation during which time the liner has visited New York 680 times and Southampton 598 times. Captain Paul Wright told guests onboardthe historic crossing, in steaming 5,000,000 nautical miles QE2 could have sailed around the world 230 times and travelled to the moon andback approximately nine times. Due to arrive in Southampton on September 1, QE2 will undertake a 12-day Med cruise finishing inCivitaveccia before resuming her transatlantic programme through to end of the year.

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Industry executives head Down Under

Industry executives head Down Under

Their sales mission comes hot on the heels of a roadshow World's Leading Cruise Lines vp Asia Pacific Jackie Foggitt took  to major markets around Australia (Seatrade Insider 7/8/2002).

The following week on September 11 Star Cruises Group's director sales and marketing for Australia and New Zealand, Braydon Holland, will host lunch at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron for Norwegian Cruise Line snr vp marketing and sales Andy Stewart. Star's publicist Craig McCarthy of communications giant Read McCarthy tells Seatrade Insider Miami-based Stewart will update key customers with NCL's latest news, including the inaugural cruise of Norwegian Dawn from New York in December.

On October 28 Silversea's London-based vp sales and marketing international Steve Odell is due to make his fourth journey Down Under since taking up his current position with the company early last year. Odell's forthcoming trip will cover Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

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Visa rule ends Silja cruises to St. Petersburg

Visa rule ends Silja cruises to St. Petersburg

Petersburg, scheduled from now to January 6, because of a new Russian requirement that all St. Petersburg cruise passengers must have a visa and proof of travel insurance. Silja was informed of the requirement by the Foreign Ministry in Helsinki, which received a note from the Russian Embassy in Finland.

According to the line, the sudden change in visa requirements is contrary to an agreement intended to facilitate international sea traffic and to its information from St. Petersburg authorities last week. Previously, Russian visas were not required for passengers participating in a ship's shore excursions.

Instead, Silja Opera will cruise from Helsinki to the Latvian capital of Riga, where a passport is sufficient for entry. The ship was scheduled to start Riga service on January 7. St. Petersburg reservations are automatically being transferred into bookings for the Riga cruise, which operates on the timetable planned for St. Petersburg: departures from Helsinki on Wednesdays and Fridays at 4 pm and returns on Fridays and Sundays at 10 am. The Opera will moor in Riga from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Advance payments for passenger tours in St. Petersburg will be refunded.

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Windstar, Seabourn discounts jumpstart apos;03

Windstar, Seabourn discounts jumpstart apos;03

'For the very best prices you're going to see on Windstar in '03, people are going to have to before October 15.' Russell says a second tier of discounts, not as deep, will be offered during Wave Season for bookings made by February 28. The current promotion combines Windstar's Early Booking Discounts with an Advanced Savings Advantage Programme for 174 cruises, offering savings up to $1,000 per cabin. Windstar released its 2003 Voyage Planner last week.

Seabourn Cruise Line is now promoting free air in the US market on selected seven- to 14-day Mediterranean cruises next summer. Free roundtrip coach air from 28 North American gateways is being offered in conjunction with a range of Med departures from April through June on Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend. With Early Booking Savings up to 40%, air-inclusive fares start from $3,884 per person. Value-priced business-class air upgrades and cruise only savings are also being offered. The promotions are capacity-controlled and may be withdrawn at any time.

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Russian visa issue applies only to Finnish ships

Russian visa issue applies only to Finnish ships

Petersburg (see story below) applies only to Finnish ships, Seatrade Insider is informed. 'Other cruise companies are not affected at all. This is something that is between Russia and Finland,' says Helen Maltchenok, product development manager for Artcur Travel in St. Petersburg, tour supplier to Silja and many other cruise lines including NCL, Cunard/Seabourn, RCI, Celebrity and Hapag-Lloyd. 'We are absolutely sure this misunderstanding will be overcome within a short period,' she adds.

Seatrade Insider understands the dispute hinges on the definition of a cruise, with Russian authorities taking the stance that Silja's new two-night cruises from Helsinki to St. Petersburg qualify as a ferry product, not a cruise. Silja disagrees. European sources close to the issue, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also inform Seatrade Insider that the Silja case could be related to politics and involve possible reciprocity for recent Finnish actions concerning Russian trade matters.

Cruise passengers from non-Finnish vessels are allowed to tour St. Petersburg without individual visas as long as they participate in organised excursion programmes. 'Today we have the Pride in St. Petersburg and we are not affected by the visa issue,' says Peter Cox, director of itinerary planning and development for Cunard/Seabourn.

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SeaDream sold 89% of its first Med season

SeaDream sold 89% of its first Med season

The twin-megayacht company sold 94% of its initial Caribbean season and today reports it has sold 89% of its first Mediterranean season.

SeaDream chairman and ceo Larry Pimentel credits the line's promising start to its casual, unstructured yachting concept and a seasoned, flexible staff: 'We have only 12 people in our Coconut Grove headquarters including me and everyone does everything.' (There are also five business development directors in North America, the UK and Middle East and seven operations/finance people in Oslo). Additionally, Pimentel cites an 'entrepreneurial' business plan which included outsourcing tech needs and the manpower-intensive, low-rate-of-return air, land and transfer arrangements.

'We adopted a simple pricing structure and deployment model. Without an expensive field sales force we train travel agents by telephone conference calls and teach them to use our website,' the SeaDream chief says. The company established a limited distribution network of retail agents and a consortia of preferred vendors, and it launched with discounted pricing to stimulate bookings. Pimentel says he'll continue to emphasise training for both staff and agents, brand awareness and new services and products as the company enters its second year.

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HAL sets 12 Canada/New England sailings

HAL sets 12 Canada/New England sailings

Itineraries range from seven to 16 days and include two new sailings aboard the 794-passenger Prinsendam and 10 sailings aboard the 1,380-passenger Rotterdam. All cruises offer scenic cruising in Saguenay Fjord and St. Lawrence River, and the 12- and 10-day options include a two-day visit to Quebec City.

Shore activities include cycling Acadia National Park or across Prince Edward Island and kayaking the coves of Maine or Nova Scotia. HAL's special Medallion Shore Excursion programme also offers unusual experiences such as becoming a soldier for a day at the Halifax Citadel where passengers dress in the uniform of a 1870s Highland regiment and learn about a soldier's life, drills, activities and meals. Other Medallion excursions include a horse-drawn carriage tour of Quebec and gourmet dinner at the Chateau Frontenac and a day with a lobster lunch at Dalvay by the Sea, the 19th-century summer home built by Standard Oil chief Alexander MacDonald.

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An Impressionist theme for Conquest

An Impressionist theme for Conquest

The 110,000gt ship will be the largest Fun Ship ever built and will carry 2,974 passengers on year-round seven-day cruises from New Orleans.

Architect Joe Farcus designed Conquest's interior spaces based on the works of great Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters, from Matisse to Van Gogh. The main lobby is dominated by a large hand-painted mural collage of details from famous period paintings. The collage effect is picked up again in the promenade and in other public areas. The Toulouse-Lautrec Show Lounge takes as its inspiration the French painter's portraits of subjects he found in the cabarets and brothels of Paris' Montmartre district. A pair of two-level dining rooms pay tribute to Monet and Renoir. Both rooms feature panels of stylised wood-veneered images of the Eiffel Tower, with the fabrics and colours based on different works by the two namesake painters.

Henri's Dance Club takes its theme from the jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau. Other rooms include the two-level Restaurant Cezanne on Lido Deck, the Tahiti Casino (a nod to Paul Gauguin) and Gauguin's Bar, the sports bar. The ship's supper club is called The Point and features circus murals in Georges-Pierre Seurat' pointillism style. New for the Conquest class is an expanded game room and teen area that serves as 'a second promenade for teenagers,' in Farcus' words, decorated to resemble the back alleys of the Montmartre district.

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HAL slates Pacific Northwest restaurants

HAL slates Pacific Northwest restaurants

The Pinnacle Grill will debut in October on Statendam and Ryndam. Dungeness crab, salmon, halibut and other regional specialties will be featured at this reservations-only venue which carries a per-diner charge of $15. 'Whenever possible, Northwest items will be used in preparation and noted on the menu, with all fruits and vegetables selected based on the season,' says David Giersdorf, senior vp marketing and sales. A bar will offer wines from Pacific Northwest vineyards such as Chateau Ste. Michelle, Canoe Ridge, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Tualatin Estates.

The 66-seat restaurants will be installed during the scheduled Seattle drydockings of the Statendam (September 23-October 2) and Ryndam (September 27-October 5). The new 1,800 sq ft venue will be constructed in space now occupied by a portion of the Explorers Lounge and the Kings Room private dining area adjacent to the Rotterdam Dining Room.

The décor will feature rich warm fabrics in reds and golds and wood accents. There will be many window tables for two, and each place setting will feature a large Bvlgari show plate. Other china patterns have been chosen from Rosenthal, the glassware is Reidel, and the linen is Frette. An iron breadbasket was designed by Seattle artist Mary Gioia.

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Carnival Legend earns RINA Green Star

Carnival Legend earns RINA Green Star

The recently delivered vessel qualified in clean sea and clean air categories.

The clean sea notation requires double bottoms to protect fuel tanks from oil discharge in a low speed accident, holding tanks for black and gray water, compliance with IMO MARPOL Annex IV, special requirements for safe garbage discharge and the cleansing of oily bilge water plus the use of environmentally friendly anti-fouling bottom paint. The clean air notation sets limits on SOx and NOx emissions from the engines, requires MARPOL Annex VI compliance, limits fuel sulphur content to 3%, sets requirements for refrigeration gases and their containment in an accident and sets controls for incineration plants.

'We know that passengers want to visit environmentally sensitive areas, but they want to leave them as they found them, pristine,' said Ugo Salerno, ceo of RINA, who presented the award to Carnival Legend's master. 'The Green Star standard is visible proof that their ship is designed and operated to protect the environment and keep the sea and air clean.'

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