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News 17.07.14 IN BRIEF


CARIBBEAN SAILING


■NORWEGIAN’S €1.6BN ORDER Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned two new Breakaway-Plus cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter of 2018 and fourth quarter of 2019 at a cost of €1.6 billion. The new ships will be similar to Norwegian Escape which debuts next year, and each will have 4,200 passenger berths.


■BEADLE TO LEAVE HURTIGRUTEN Kathryn Beadle, managing director of Hurtigruten’s London office, is leaving later this year to pursue other business opportunities. The niche cruise line is recruiting for someone to take over in October following a transition process overseen by Beadle, who is credited with doubling the size of the UK business and changing its focus from mainly a summer operation to that of a year-round offering since joining in 2008.


■BUMPER BOEING ORDER Monarch Airlines is in the process of finalising a deal for 30 Boeing 737 aircraft. The airline is poised to complete a deal worth a rumoured $3.1 billion at list price for the aircraft, with an option for 15 more, and comes following a three- year evaluation process and a decision to make the airline a “midway” brand.


■VIRGIN HOLIDAYS LEAVERS Three directors will leave Virgin Holidays in the autumn as part of a plan to implement future growth at the tour operator. E-commerce and specialist business director Chris Roe, product and commercial director Wayne Perks and strategy director Susan Forde “have taken the decision to leave the business in the autumn to pursue new opportunities”.


■COOK BIRMINGHAM BOOST Thomas Cook Airlines is to offer an extra 47,000 seats and four new destinations from Birmingham airport in summer 2015. The additional seats represent a 20% increase in flight seats available with Thomas Cook Airlines, including three new destinations for Birmingham airport to Mytilene (Lesbos, Greece), Kalamata (Greece) and Djerba (Tunisia) on top of the new-for-Cook destination of Paphos.


04 17.07.2014


ITV show doubles Princess traffic, but fails to dispel ‘cruising myths’


Sophie Griffiths


PRINCESS CRUISES saw traffic to its website double following the airing of ITV’s The Cruise Ship


on Friday – a documentary that has split opinions throughout the trade. The first episode of the show,


which is set onboard Royal Princess in the Caribbean, set Twitter abuzz when it was screened at 8pm last week, with agents and industry figures expressing both positive and negative views of the documentary, which attracted 3.1 million viewers. Paul Ludlow, UK and Europe managing director for Princess Cruises, told TTG he was “overwhelmed” by the response. “We had a spike in traffic to our


website while the show was on, and over the weekend traffic doubled. We’ve also seen an improvement to our booking levels,” he added. Jon Fletcher, travel consultant at CruiseHolidays.uk, agreed the PR generated from the show had been


REMITTANCE OBLIGATIONS


AirFastTickets set to conclude talks with Iata


AIRFASTTICKETS HAS said it is “fast approaching” the end of its negotiations with Iata. It comes after a meeting was held


in Madrid between the association and the online travel agency last week. Discussions with Iata have been


ongoing for several weeks, after it emerged in June that the airline association had placed AirFastTickets in default “due to


Dirk Brand, Royal Princess’s hotel general manager, appeared in the episode


significant: “I had one client who had sailed on Royal Princess before, who came back to me straight away after the programme to tell me how she now wants to go on it again,” he said. Other agents, however, expressed


concern about the image the documentary had presented. Scott Anderson, general manager


of the Luxury Cruise Company, said: “It’s not a great advert. They focused on the older passengers when the Caribbean typically attracts younger family types. I’m disappointed it didn’t dispel the myths about cruising.” Go Cruise personal travel


consultant Flavia Gray agreed,


its inability to meet the deadline of its remittance obligations”. The letter which was sent to airlines, showed that the company owed a total of €45 million. The OTA’s May and June sales for the UK totalled €23.5 million, with the amount at risk for the UK €13.9 million. A spokesperson for AirFastTickets


said it was “fast approaching the end of our negotiations with Iata” and a statement would be issued after this. “We will have a resolution in the


next few days,” she said. On Wednesday last week,


AirFastTickets’ UK website stopped advertising flights from the UK, with no UK airports now available for booking, although it was still


admitting that although she enjoyed the show, she was disappointed in the choice of guests featured. She added clients had approached


her at a cruise show at the weekend, saying it had put them off wanting to cruise. “But it gave us a starting point to discuss cruise and I could explain to them what it’s really like, whereas before they would probably have walked past,” she added. Ludlow conceded there had


been some negative comments but agreed that the show was a “great conversation starter”. “When you have such a huge body


of people as your audience, there will of course be different views.” Meanwhile, other lines sought


to capitalise on the publicity surrounding the show, with Royal Caribbean using the same Twitter hash tag (#thecruiseship) to highlight its own cruises by posting offers and videos of its cruise ships. Ludlow however was unperturbed.


“From the offset we always said this would be great for the industry and that it would bring awareness of an alternative holiday,” he said.


possible to book flights from other destinations. An Iata spokesperson said she was


unable to detail how the firm was allowed to continue trading: “We have no further update, we have been asked not to comment further,” she said. In a statement last week, Iata said:


“We can confirm a meeting in Madrid took place in the presence of the Travel Agency Commissioner, where talks with AirFastTickets were initiated to find a viable solution for the settlement of outstanding amounts. Discussions are expected to end by the beginning of next week.” The CAA also confirmed to TTG


that it remained “in discussions with the company’s management”.


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