Holland America Considers More Alaskan Cruises after Head Tax Reduction

Cruise ShipsHolland America’s CEO said the cruise line is looking more favorably on Alaska this week after state legislators reduced the head tax imposed on cruisers from $46 a passenger to $34.50.

CEO Stein Kruse said that the move “will certainly be a positive influencing factor” as Holland America decides when and where its cruise ships will sail in 2012.

“I can’t say right here and today what we will do because those decisions haven’t been made, but I can tell you that it’s a far more positive outlook than it has been for the last couple of years,” Kruse said.

Jamaica Remains World’s Leading Cruise Destination

The Wall Street Journal likens the World Travel Awards to the Oscars of the global travel and tourism industry, and earlier this week, the group named Jamaica as the world’s leading cruise destination for the fourth consecutive year.

The island nation also received its fifth win for the Caribbean’s leading cruise destination, and Ocho Rios was named the leading port in the Caribbean.

Travel professionals from nearly 200,000 companies and tourism organizations in 160 countries vote every year on the top destinations.

“Without a doubt, our success at the World Travel Awards must be attributed to the increasing diversity of experiences that we have to offer cruise visitors,” said William Tatham, of the Port Authority in Jamaica. “We have everything from shopping and historical tours, to high impact adventures and that allows Jamaica to connect with almost every passenger on a cruise ship in ways no other destination can.”

Ocho Rios may have some competition in the future, though, since construction will soon begin for a new port in Falmouth, Jamaica. The new port will be in-itself a tourist destination, and will be able to accommodate the newest megaships like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

New Cruise Ship Terminal Breaks Ground in Singapore

Singapore is hoping to ride the wave of growth in the cruise industry with a new $500 million International Cruise Terminal which broke ground on Friday.

The groundbreaking comes as global demand for the cruise market is estimated to hit 27 million passengers by 2020.

The cruise industry is still doing well despite the economic downturn. Global cruise passengers are expected to number 13.5 million this year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

Asia Pacific currently accounts for 7 per cent of the world’s cruise market and Singapore wants to become a cruise hub.
By 2015, Singapore hopes the new terminal can host the world’s largest Oasis-class cruise ships and attract 1.6 million cruise passengers. The terminal can handle 6,800 passengers at any one time and will double Singapore’s berth capacity.

STB says greater efficiency and accessibility will allow passengers to disembark and depart from the terminal within 30 minutes.

The 28,000-square-metre terminal, equivalent to about three football fields, is one of the biggest in Asia. Reclamation work will start next month and when completed in 2011, it is expected to create 3,000 jobs in the tourism and related industries.

Observers said cruise passengers tend to spend about 30 per cent more on average, which could boost Singapore’s economy.

6 Carnival Cruisers Jailed in Antigua After Refusing to Pay Cab Fare

Carnival Victory

It’s never fun to be at the mercy of a cab driver that knows an area much better than you. Even here in America, cab drivers from New York and Las Vegas have been known to take unsuspecting tourists on the LONG, EXPENSIVE route to their destination. So what happens when you feel like you’ve been similarly duped abroad? Well, six American tourists in Antigua decided to take the law into their own hands.

The group took a $50 tour from the Carnival Victory, which they assumed would bring them back to where they started. However, the cabbie told them their tour ended at the beach (only once they reached the beach), and that if they wanted a ride back to the ship it would run them another $50. The group refused to pay, so the cabbie drove them to the police station where a fight broke out and two officers were allegedly injured.

The six were charged with assault and malicious damage, were released on $5,000 bail each and are expected to be in appear in court tomorrow.

This could really end up being a black eye on Antigua’s record. For an economy based so heavily on tourism, it’s foolish to make such a big deal out of dispute that was clearly a tourist scam. With that said, we don’t know how the group acted once they arrived at the police station, or if they initiated the confrontation. One thing’s for certain: it’s not good for Antigua’s reputation as a tourist destination.

Princess Cruises Plans New Sailings to South Pacific and Hawaii

PrincessCruiseSydney

The fall 2010 to spring 2011 schedule for Princess Cruises is now available, and the line has added two Pacific crossings between California and Sydney in addition to several Hawaiian cruises.

“Due to the enthusiastic response to our 2009 Trans Pacific sailing we wanted to offer additional opportunities to experience this unique itinerary,” says Princess Cruises executive vice president. “The two new month-long sailings visiting 13 tropical ports of call will give cruisers a true taste of the idyllic South Pacific.”

Here is a list of the new Princess Itineraries:

• 2-day Pacific Coastal (Vancouver to San Francisco) – September 20, 2010
• 30-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific (San Francisco to Sydney) – September 22, 2010
• 29-day Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific (Sydney to Los Angeles) – October 23, 2010
• 10-day Mexican Riviera (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – January 5, 2011
• 14-day Hawaiian Islands (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – January 29, 2011
• 14-day Hawaiian Islands (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – February 26, 2011
• 14-day Hawaiian Islands (roundtrip out of Los Angeles) – March 26, 2011

The fares for a two-day coastal cruise start at $199, the Hawaiian cruises at $1995, and the nearly month-long-cruises across the Pacific start at $4195.

To make room in the schedule, Princess canceled approximately 15 cruises that were scheduled for Mexican Riviera itineraries.

Cruise Port Aqaba Looking to Double Port Calls

Aqaba, a small port town in the south of Jordan, is aiming to keep their global tourist appeal with a new marketing strategy.

Aqaba is best known for its beaches and diving, and now they have developed a strategy for promoting the Red Sea Port.

The details of the plan weren’t released, but the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), along with the USAID-Jordan Tourism Development Project (JTDP) and the Aqaba Development Corporation, hope to double the amount of cruise traffic by 2015.

Last year, 103 cruise ships docked in Aqaba bringing around 40,000 tourists to the area.

Carnival Cancels Canadian Cruise Ports

Carnival Glory

Carnival Cruse lines is blaming the weak economy for its latest cancellation of three stops on its “Québec – After the Glaciers” itinerary.

Originally, The Carnival Glory was scheduled to depart on a 9-day cruise that included stops in Québec City, Baie-Comeau, and Havre-Saint-Pierre. Now, Carnival has scrapped those stops, and says it will concentrate on 4, 5, and 7 day sailings instead.

All three ports still expect to have increased cruise traffic this year, since each has had a number of incentives to attract visitors, and have future projects on the way. Despite the cancelations, Carnival says they are still interested in Québec City, Baie-Comeau, and Havre-Saint-Pierre, and will see if they can be added to their 2011 sailing schedule.

If you already booked one of these 9-day cruises, Carnival is offering the option to rebook.

Port of Marseilles Sees 17 percent increase in Cruise Traffic

Mostly due to regular calls by the Costa Concordia and the MSC Fantasia, the Port of Marseilles has seen a 17 percent increase during the first half of 2009. The two ships have passenger capacities of 3,700 and 3,500, respectively.

The port of Marseilles typically has about 40 cruise ship visits a month during the busy summer season.

Sitka, Alaska Excursion Peddlers Get New Rules

SitkaCruiseVendorsAlaskaWhen cruisers stepped off the ship in Sitka, Alaska, many were immediately hassled and pressured by vendors selling floatplane rides, fishing trips, and boat tours, etc. The town’s officials worried that this was making a poor first impression for their town and set new restrictions for those selling excursions.

The new rules require that vendors stay in designated areas that are approximately five feet wide and are marked with yellow lines.
The move by Sitka’s officials may actually help the vendors increase business, since many cruise-goers prefer to look at different options and make their own decisions, void of an aggressive sales pitch. Having all the vendors in one place will allow passengers to see different options all at once rather than searching through a crowd of people for someone who looks legit.

The real winners will be the passengers who have already booked an excursion through the cruise line or through having done prior research have arranged their own trip, and now won’t have to deal with 10 different vendors pitching trips when they already have plans.

Seems like a good idea – we’ll see if any other cruise ports will follow suit.

Barbados Cruise Traffic Could Reach All Time High

BarbadosCruise

According to Barbados regional news provider Caribbean360, the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) and the Ministry of Tourism are projecting record cruise traffic in 2010-2011.

Barbados saw a 5% increase in traffic in 2009, which is one of the indicators that between 2010 and 2011 the island should expect to see 800,000 cruise visitors, and possibly as many as 900,000.

Barbados has recognized the importance of making itself a desirable cruise destination, especially since the annual cruise traffic is higher than airline traffic to the island. Part of the plan is to increase the number of home porting ships, which would increase business to local suppliers. Studies show that up to 40% of visitors are not part of organized group activities, and Barbados is working to tap that market as well.

Barbados is located just east of the Caribbean Sea, and is an independent West Indian Continental Island-nation in the western Atlantic Ocean. Its closest island neighbors are Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Saint Lucia to the west. To the south of Barbados lies Trinidad and Tobago.

Source: Caribbean360