Norwegian, HAL Launch Tools for Agents
by Dori Saltzman /

Norwegian Rolls Out New Agent Booking Tool
Norwegian Cruise Line introduced a new booking engine, designed exclusively for travel agents. The new booking tool gives travel agents the ability to complete all aspects of a cruise reservation online, including being able to book multiple staterooms simultaneously and attach multiple promotional codes to each reservation. Independent air information, land packages, shore excursions, and onboard entertainment and dining reservations (only on the Epic) also can be added to a guest’s booking.

The new booking platform also allows agents to submit special requests. Additionally, the tool gives agents quick access to agency information and offers a quick search feature on all screens that includes an option to search for guests’ Latitude Rewards numbers. Other features include the option to send cruise travel kits to alternate addresses, the ability to copy reservations and reinstate bookings.

Holland America Unveils New Marketing and Sales Tools
Holland America Line added a variety of new marketing, sales and training tools for travel agents to its online portal, Travel Agent Headquarters. Among the new tools are new marketing direct mail and email pieces.

Oceania Designs Beverage Packages for 2012
Oceania Cruises will introduce two new beverage packages on sailings beginning in 2012. The House Wine and Beer option is priced at $29.95 per guest, per day and includes house wine by the glass and beer with lunch and dinner in any dining venue or via room service. The Open Bar option is priced at $49.95 per guest, per day and includes beer and premium house wine by the glass and most beverages on the bar menu. The beverage package prices include gratuities and can be pre-booked online on purchased onboard.

Royal Caribbean Debuts Specialty Dining Packages
Royal Caribbean International debuted seven new dining packages enabling guests to more affordably dine at the line’s numerous specialty restaurants on select ships. The packages range in price from $50 to $120 per guest and save passengers at least 25% compared to the sum of the individual restaurants’ cover charges. Aboard Oasis and Allure of the Seas, guests have the choice of three dining packages, while those onboard the Radiance of the Seas have two choices and guests on the Splendour of the Seas have one option. Packages can be pre-reserved online or onboard ship.

New Leadership, Ship Arrival Date at Costa
Ruben Perez officially assumed his position as general manager at Costa Cruises, N.A., following the retirement of Maurice Zarmati as president and CEO of the North American office at the end of November. Perez is responsible for the day-to-day management of all operations. At the same time, Scott Knutson has been promoted to vice president of sales and marketing and is responsible for travel agent relations. Also, Costa Fascinosa, the 16th ship in the Costa Cruises fleet, is scheduled to debut May 2, 2012 on the first of two mini-cruises, which will bring the ship to Savona, Italy for a naming event on May 6.

Wind Surf Finishes First Phase of Makeover
Windstar Cruises’ Wind Surf yacht has completed the first phase of its refurbishment, which encompassed the updating of all staterooms, suites, bridge suites and corridors. Staterooms now feature leather headboards, arm chairs, linen wall coverings, new lighting features and more, while suites were additionally outfitted with new furniture that converts to lounging, dining or accommodating a third guest. Corridors were completely renovated from floor to ceiling. The second phase of refurbishment is slated for fall 2012 and will focus on public spaces.

Carnival Inspiration Takes Over Catalina Cruises
Carnival Inspiration launched year-round three- and four-day cruises from Long Beach, Calif. The three-day cruises depart Fridays and visit Ensenada, while the four-day cruises depart Mondays and visit Ensenada and Catalina Island. The Carnival Inspiration replaces the Carnival Paradise on this itinerary.

Princess Details 2012 Canada, New England Season
Princess Cruises will offer two ships (the Caribbean Princess and Emerald Princess) sailing 11 voyages on three itineraries to Canada and New England in 2012. The three options are a weeklong roundtrip sailing from New York; a 10-day, one-way voyage between New York and Quebec City, featuring an overnight stay in the city; and a 12-night Canada & Colonial America cruise from Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale.

American Cruise Lines Offers Lewis and Clark Theme Cruises
American Cruise Lines will offer Lewis and Clark theme cruises aboard its Queen of the West paddle wheeler that operates on the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. Available this April, between Portland, Ore. and Clarkston, Wash., the itinerary will follow in the footsteps of the explorers’ expedition. Onboard lecturers and entertainers will bring the story of the expedition to life.

Crystal Cruises Opens All of 2013 for Booking
Crystal Cruises opened its entire 2013 list of sailings for bookings, with all itineraries featuring a “Book Now” fare offering guests the best prices for bookings made by Feb. 28 or June 30, 2012 (depending on cruise departure date). Highlights of the 64 itineraries on offer include an increase in shorter cruises, a larger ship in Northern Europe, 16 maiden calls, a 74-day World Cruise with focus on South America, 25% more port days, cruises without any days at sea, and an increase in New England/Canada itineraries.

Norwegian Announces Summer 2013-14 Sailings
Norwegian announced its summer deployment for the 2013/14 season, including the addition of a third ship in Alaska, the Norwegian Sun, sailing seven-day, open-jaw itineraries between Vancouver, British Columbia and Whittier, Alaska. The line’s summer deployment also features four ships sailing in Europe, along with two ships cruising to Bermuda and one running quick Bahamas “Getaways.”

Scenic Cruises to Launch Rebuilt Ship in Russia
Scenic Cruises will launch the completely rebuilt Scenic Tsar in Russia in May 2012, offering 15-day sailings between St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Variety Cruises Announces New Itineraries
Variety Cruises will add four new itineraries in 2012, including Arabian Journey, debuting in November, exploring the Arabian Gulf and Omani Coast. Also new: Romantic Rivieras, which sails the French and Italian coasts starting in June; Treasures of South Italy and Malta, beginning in September; and The Adriatic Odyssey, which visits Corfu, Dubrovnik and Montenegro, starting in July. Also new in 2012, the 223-foot Variety Voyager mega yacht with 36 cabins, debuting in spring, and the three-masted sail cruiser Panorama II with 25 cabins, debuting in June.

Holland America Deploys Ship in Asia in 2013
Holland America Line will deploy its Volendam to Asia in 2013, with a series of 14-day itineraries between Singapore and Hong Kong; Kobe (Osaka) and Hong Kong; and a roundtrip out of Kobe. Ports in Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, and Cambodia will be included. In total, the ship will sail nine voyages, sailing from December 2012 through April 2013.