Crystal Cruises and Caesars Palace are ending a partnership that
put Caesars Palace-branded casinos on Crystal’s ships. According to
a Crystal spokeswoman, since gaming company Harrah’s Entertainment
completed its merger with Caesars earlier this summer, Harrah’s
decided to use their “resources on other opportunities.”
She added that the breakup is a friendly one, and though the two
companies “mutually agreed to discontinue the relationship” once
Caesars Palace’s management contract expires at the end of 2005,
Caesars has agreed to be “flexible” about when they pull the
Caesars Palace at Sea casinos off Crystal ships. The line said it
expects to have another gaming operation in place by the first half
Crystal has been the only cruise line to partner with a brand-name
gaming establishment like Caesars.
Crystal said it is looking at alternative partnerships with other
land-based casinos and would continue to abide by Nevada gaming
laws and serve complimentary drinks in the casinos.
African Safaris by Rail
Micato Safaris added a rare element to its selection of
safari components with a two-day Steam Train Safari on the
century-old Kenya-Uganda Railway.
The trip begins in Nairobi; followed by a train ride through tea
and coffee plantations in Kenya’s Uplands region; through Limuru,
near the dormant volcano at Longonot; the archaeological site at
Hell’s Gate National Park; and finally to Hippo Point Tower at
Nderit Estate, a private 500-acre sanctuary. Clients then spend the
night in the estate’s private villas.
The four-hour trip includes some meals and a guide. The package
costs $1,499 per person, double occupancy, and is being sold as a
pre-safari extension. Agents earn 10 percent commission.
ASTA Relaunches Online Tech Center
This month, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) relaunched
its online tech center, which features technology information and
product solutions for travel agencies and agents. Sponsored by
Sabre Travel Network, the center offers articles on agent topics,
including “Designing Effective Travel Agency Web Sites.” The center
also offers product demonstrations, white papers, agency profiles
and basic productivity tips. ASTA members also can sign up for a
technology interest listserv and chat with other agents about tech
Shanghai Disney to Come
The Walt Disney Co. is planning to open a theme park in Shanghai in
2012, reports said. Disney would start designing the park next
year, and construction would start in 2008. This fall, Disney plans
to open a $3.5 billion theme park in Hong Kong.
Back to School
Agents can expand their travel knowledge at West Los
Angeles College’s Travel School. Courses start Sept. 6., and topics
include geography, online travel research and travel sales and
business. Web-based classes are also available. Faculty members
include TravelAge West’s Marc Mancini, who does the Geography Bowl