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Articles from 2004 In August


P&O Cruises looks East

P&O Cruises looks East

Offering a contemporary blend of Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine, The Orchid Restaurant will open in April next year when Arcadia enters service.

Drinks available from the adjoining Orchid Bar range from cold Oriental and Asian beers such as Tiger and Kingfisher to green teas.

P&O Cruises' links with Indian cuisine date back to the 1800s, when Indian employees are said to have introduced the first curry to Britain. Neal Martin, director of hotel services and entertainment, comments, 'P&O Cruises has always celebrated its historical links with the East and the Orchid Restaurant brings that association bang up to date.' It will be one of six dining alternatives, including a main formal restaurant, 24-hour buffet, open deck grill, café and fine dining restaurant.

A child-free ship Arcadia will be the largest cruise ship dedicated exclusively to British passengers, with more cabins with balconies than any other UK-based cruise ship.

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Cruise West sets apos;Virtual Cruise Nightsapos;

Cruise West sets apos;Virtual Cruise Nightsapos;

The hosted presentations on itineraries from Costa Rica to Alaska will include photos of scenery and wildlife, deck plans and ship images. Questions and comments from participants will be accepted throughout each hour-long session. Participants may join or sign off at any point.

The Virtual Cruise Nights are scheduled at 6 and 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, beginning Sept. 21 and running until Dec. 2. Information: www.cruisewest.com (select 'Attend Live Presentations').

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AGE: bookings exceed normal pace

AGE: bookings exceed normal pace

Those are key findings of A. G. Edwards' latest survey, which tracks bookings and pricing for three brands: Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

Booking curves are 'noticeably expanding' for the balance of 2004 and into early '05, said AGE analyst Tim Conder. Curves now approximate 120-130 days. That compares to pre-9/11 bookings which generally occurred 180 days before sailing.

For short Caribbean cruises (less than seven days), AGE measured consistently stronger pricing year over year versus longer sailings for the Carnival brand. Pricing trends for RCI and Celebrity are generally stronger for Caribbean cruises of seven days and longer. Conder called RCL's pricing performance 'notable' given the significant industry capacity increase in this segment, especially by Princess Cruises.

Alaska continues as one of the best performing markets, with August/September pricing for Carnival up approximately 50% year over year while RCL is up 80%-90%YoY, AGE said. Both Mediterranean and NorthernEurope/Baltic itineraries demonstrate strong pricing recovery and bookingpatterns for RCL.

AGE reiterated its Buy ratings on both CCL and RCL and price objectives of $53 and $50 respectively. Conder predicted third quarter results could be a catalyst for both companies by boosting investor confidence in 2005 yields and cost metrics.

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Frances alters Florida sailings (**updated**)

Frances alters Florida sailings (**updated**)

One Holland America ship is dropping one port.

Carnival Fantasy's three-day cruise from Port Canaveral on Thursday will depart at 4:30 p.m. as scheduled but the Nassau call is canceled, making the itinerary a 'cruise to nowhere.' Passengers who sail will receive a $100 per person shipboard credit and a 50% discount off a future cruise. Those who cancel will get a full refund or a future cruise credit.

Fascination's three-day cruise from Miami on Friday is canceled. Passengers may choose a full refund or a future cruise credit.

Carnival is posting advisories on other voyages scheduled to arrive and depart from Florida ports on Saturday and Sunday at www.carnival.com. Based on the hurricane's path and subsequent port closures, Carnival warned that some arrivals and departures may be delayed.

In addition to earlier reported itinerary changes, Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas will skip its normal port call at Key West on Thursday and end the current cruise one day early, returning to Miami on Thursday at approximately 7 a.m. Sovereign of the Seas will also end its current cruise a day early, returning to Port Canaveral on Thursday at around noon.

Voyager of the Seas will add a stop at Montego Bay on Thursday and drop its scheduled Friday call at Freeport.

Celebrity Cruises itineraries are so far operating as planned. Look for Hurricane Frances updates on Celebrity at www.celebrity.com and on Royal Caribbean at www.royalcaribbean.com.

Holland America Line's Zuiderdam will drop its Friday call at Nassau and remain at sea. The company expects Zuiderdam's next cruise, from Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, to operate. Other HAL itineraries are unaffected.

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Canaveral battens down for Frances

Canaveral battens down for Frances

Vessels have been ordered to vacate Canaveral Harbor no later than 10 a.m. Friday.

The administrative office is scheduled to re-open on Tuesday, following Monday's US Labor Day holiday. This date could change depending on the storm's severity. For updates, call 1-321-783-7831.

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Summit cancels Alaska cruise for pod fix

Summit cancels Alaska cruise for pod fix

The vessel will enter San Francisco Drydock on Sept. 12 for replacement of a radial-bearing unit that is showing premature wear. Summit is expected to resume service on Sept. 20.

Passengers booked on the canceled cruise will receive a full refund and a free future cruise. Agent commissions are protected and a rebooking fee of $50 per cabin will be paid.

Celebrity said Summit is operating safely but at speed reduced from 23 to 18 knots. The current Vancouver to Seward cruise is not affected. However, the Sept. 3 seven-night sailing from Seward to Vancouver will make minor adjustments to two port calls.

Summit's Sept. 17 departure, a 14-night Alaska and West Coast cruise from Vancouver to San Diego, will be delayed three days and begin instead on Sept. 20. Celebrity is contacting passengers with details.

The canceled cruise and modified cruise are expected to lower Royal Caribbean's third quarter earnings by approximately 3 cents per share.

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Warning of S. Florida ports closure

Warning of S. Florida ports closure

m. Thursday in preparation for Hurricane Frances. Oceangoing vessels greater than 500gt have been ordered to depart at least 24 hours before hurricane landfall, which is estimated at 2 a.m. Saturday. The notice was issued by the US Coast Guard Captain of the Port.

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New Caledoniaapos;s cruise strategy

New Caledoniaapos;s cruise strategy

Australian hotelier Mike Wilson, who was based in Noumea for two years as gm for the InterContinental Hotels Group, has been working on the project for the past five months out of the Sydney regional office of New Caledonia Tourism.South.

Wilson, who moves to The Philippines later this month as gm of Holiday Inn Clark Field Resort, believes there is a market in Australia and New Zealand for fly/float packages built around a New Caledonian cruise operation.

'The airlift is in place, with Aircalin and Qantas operating Australia/Noumea flights and Air New Zealand coming in from Auckland,' he said. 'There will be even more capacity ex-Australia if Virgin Blue comes on line as planned in November.'He said the French Territory can already provide top pre and post-cruise accommodation, with more internationally-branded hotels under construction. As reported earlier by Seatrade Insider, New Caledonia is now a cruise region with eight ports for Noumea/Noumea itineraries.

Wilson, who is also producing a port information brochure, said fly/cruise/stay programmes would increase revenue for the local tourism plant 'overnight' and that is why he believes the government will do everything possible to attract a resident ship for extended seasons.

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Grand day for Dover

Grand day for Dover

The 109,000gt ship arrived at the port's Cruise Terminal 2 from Copenhagen and disembarked passengers for shore excursions. In the evening she continued her 17-night cruise to New York with calls at Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland and Canada.

It was also the busiest day ever for cruise operations at Dover with over 7,000 passengers passing through the cruise terminals. NCL's Norwegian Dream and Saga Cruises' Saga Rose were also in port for turnaround calls.

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Tropical Islander start-up cancelled

Tropical Islander start-up cancelled

Jackson, the former md of Megawest Cruises that was involved in an attempt to rescue OceanBreeze from the breakers, has a 2004-05 brochure in the marketplace, as well as a website, offering itineraries that include Bali and Port Moresby aboard a ship called 'Tropical Islander'. That was to be the new name for Caribic Star, the 1968-built 364-passenger ship he intended to purchase from Anaconda Maritime.

However, on August 20, he told Seatrade Insider: 'The last survey report was unsatisfactory and the cost of refurbishment blew out threefold. This together with the time frame to meet our scheduled cruise programme made it impossible for us to proceed with the Caribic Star.' He said he had just returned from Greece where he had been looking for a replacement vessel.

Today Jackson told Seatrade Insider he has cancelled the first two cruises in the 'Tropical Islander' programme and that people with bookings will receive a full refund.

Meantime, Seatrade Insider has been told it is 'full steam ahead' for another Fremantle-based cruise operation. Grant Hunter, md Australasia/Asia-Pacific for Classic International Cruises, said Arcalia Shipping Company's Funchal will arrive in Fremantle December 16 for an inaugural season that runs until March 5 and includes itineraries with three-night stopovers in Bali. Hunter said Funchal's weekend cruises to nowhere are also selling well.

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