Ships of Sound/Light

Costa Crociere christened its two new ships, the Costa Pacifica and the Costa Luminosa, in Genoa last Friday, June 5, qualifying for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Luminosa – the ship of light – was christened by Valentina Vezzali, Italian fencing champion of three Olympic Games and 11 world championships, and the Pacifica – the ship of music – by Israeli singing star Noa, who has dedicated her life to the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

In related news, Costa has announced that the Costa Group has acquired 100 percent ownership of Iberocruceros, which was established as a joint venture between Costa, holding 75 percent, and Spanish tour operator Orizonia, holding a 25 percent stake, in 2007. Iberocruceros is headquartered in Madrid and has three ships. (The Group, which is owned by Carnival Corporation, also includes AIDA Cruises in Germany.)

Luxury Deployment

Luxury lines have announced their 2010 plans, which include new deployment offerings, cruise-length variations, and a couple of new ships being added to the mix as well.

MedCruise Assembly

There was no shortage of topics among ports and the lines at the 34th annual MedCruise conference at the end of May. The organization is moving to provide a benchmark to help standardize ports. The cruise lines welcomed the idea, which could still be years off, however. Congestion still remains an issue, as many lines complained about “first come first serve” berthing policies. Cruise lines represented urged the ports in attendance to pay more attention to cost management, and to be as transparent as possible without passing along costs to the lines during this economic climate.

Artic Safety

Greenland has passed legislation to improve and ensure safety in Arctic waters, with step-wise implementation of new rules starting July 1, 2009.

World Cruising ‘10

Capacity for world cruises will be down in 2010, according to Cruise Industry News estimates. This year, 23 ships are sailing for a total of 23,000 passengers, compared to 21 ships and 22,000 passengers in 2010.

And there is more: Update on Hong Kong-Taiwan situation; Creating a brand -- TUI; and German niche markets.

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