Thursday, September 08, 2005

Seabourn Caught in Hurricane Aftermath

KATRINA DEEP-SIXES CHARTER: Because of hurricane destruction in New Orleans, the city’s National D-Day Museum has cancelled charter of Seabourn Legend departing Oct. 16. Now Seabourn offers opportunity to book the all-suite ship at exceptional pricing on a 7-day cruise between Monte Carlo and Rome. The new Mediterranean itinerary includes calls at Cannes, Nice and Corsica, France; plus Portofino, Florence and Elba, Italy. Featured are Seabourn's Signature Delights, including complimentary open bars, gourmet cuisine, amenities by Molton Brown and an Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experience in one port. The 104 suites are likely to fill quickly, says Seabourn president Deborah L. Natansohn, noting the short-notice “exceptional value.” Seabourn has two ways to save: To book a specific suite, the rate is 50 percent off brochure fares, from $2,998 per person, double. Special Guarantee Fare is $2,495 per person, double, assigned at sailing. To book, call (800) 929-9391.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

CCL Decision: "The Right One ..."

KATRINA IMPACT: Chartering of three Carnival Cruise Lines ships -- Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday -- to the Military Sealift Command (MSC), on behalf of FEMA for six months as part of Hurricane Katrina relief, has led to line redeployments and potential loss of up to three cents per share, with most impact in the fourth quarter, according to Carnival Corporation chairman Mickey Arison. The three charters are Ecstasy, Sensation and Holiday. The Ecstasy, normally homeports at Galveston, Texas, and Sensation homeports in New Orleans. Initial plans were for both vessels to dock in Galveston although that strategy is in flux now that some evacuees are balking over being moved from land-based shelter. Holiday, homeported at Mobile, Ala., will remain docked in Mobile. Apologizing to cruisers booked on those ships, Bob Dickinson, Carnival president and CEO said, “… given that Hurricane Katrina is the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, we trust our guests will understand that the decision to enter into these charters was the right one.” All guests whose bookings have been cancelled will be offered full refunds and can re-book on Carnival, with a $100 per person shipboard credit. Carnival is protecting travel agent commissions. Elation, with an identical layout to Ecstasy, takes over Ecstasy’s four and five-day Galveston program effective Saturday, Sept. 10. Guests will be assigned to the same cabins on Elation that they had booked on Ecstasy. Carnival Conquest, normally based in New Orleans, moves to Galveston after completing its current drydock on Sept. 11, to operate her original seven-day itinerary to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Carnival shipboard employees will staff the three chartered ships. For details, call 1-800-CARNIVAL.

MSC Seeks Yankee Family Market

KIDS SAIL FREE ON MSC: Italian traditions blend with familiar American celebrations onboard MSC Cruises’ Caribbean sailings this holiday season. To make it easier to share with the entire family, kids ages 12 and under sail free on MSC Lirica’s Dec. 17 and Dec. 27 roundtrips from Fort Lauderdale when stayin in the same stateroom with two paying adults. Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises USA, says “one of the Italian signatures that distinguishes MSC Cruises is our attention to family values.”Jm Henwood, v.p. sales, says “Adults can relax knowing that, while they are working out in the gym, being pampered in the spa or swimming on deck, the youngsters are enjoying themselves, too.” MSC Lirica’s Dec. 17 10-night roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale includes calls at San Juan, Antigua, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and Nassau, and three days at sea, starting at $1,150 per person, double, cruise only. The Dec. 27 11-night sailing calls at Montego Bay, Cartagena, Cristobal, Puerto Limon, Roatan Island and Cozumel, with three days at sea, starting at $1,350 per person, double, cruise only. MSC Cruises USA has emerged as a fast-rising star in the European-style premium cruise market. Two 2,600-passenger ships are on order, with MSC Musica debuting in spring 2006 and a second ship in 2007.
While you’re at it, check out Metroguide.com’s cruise port guide at http://www.portofcallguide.com/