Industry News 6-22-2007

*West Coast Home For Largest ‘Fun Ship’ ever built
*Disneyland Opens Nemo
*Air Tahiti Nui Founder Dies
*Qantas Expands Schedule
*and more...

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The Carnival Splendor is under construction.
West Coast Home For Largest ‘Fun Ship’ ever built
Carnival Cruise Lines’ 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor will launch year-round seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, Calif., beginning in March 2009, following its inaugural schedule of European and Caribbean voyages.

Carnival Splendor is the largest Fun Ship ever constructed, and it will join four other Carnival ships home-ported on the West Coast.Carnival is the only line featuring three ships offering year-round cruises from Southern California two from Long Beach and one from San Diego as well as a fourth ship sailing seasonally from San Diego. Cruise lengths range from three to eight days.

Carnival Splendor will introduce new innovations, such as a luxurious 21,000-square-foot health and fitness facility surrounded by 68 exclusive spa staterooms and suites. Prior to arriving in Long Beach, Carnival Splendor will enter service in July 2008 with a Northern European cruise program, followed by a series of Mediterranean departures through October. After a transatlantic crossing, the ship will sail in the Caribbean beginning November 2008.


Disneyland Opens Nemo
In case you somehow missed the news: The subs are back at Disneyland, that is. On June 11, the Finding Nemo ride officially opened to the public at the theme park after a star-studded gala that included everyone from Kobe Bryant to Courtney Cox.

The ride utilizing the same submarines and lagoon as Disneyland’s much beloved, but long closed, Submarine Voyage ride uses a new imaging technology developed exclusively for the attraction. The Finding Nemo characters appear exactly as they do in the film, but in a “real, three-dimensional underwater setting,” according to Disney.

While the high-tech effects and yellow submarines may be a hit with visitors, they might not be as thrilled with the lines that are expected for the 15-minute-long ride. Still, given the popularity of the Pixar hit the ride is based on, Disneyland can notch another instant classic well worth an E ticket.


Robert W. Sehlinger is executive publisher of The Unofficial Guide travel series, which includes the “Unofficial Guide to Disneyland,” published by Wiley and available at bookstores and on As one of the foremost experts on experiencing Disneyland, here is his advice on the new Finding Nemo ride:

“Nemo is a new, super-headliner attraction with an hourly carrying capacity only twice that of Dumbo. Barring any substantial tweaking by the Disney Imagineers, the subs will set a new bottleneck record for Disneyland Park. Athough it’s not a FASTPASS attraction (if it were, all the FASTPASSes would be distributed by 10 a.m.), the good news is that Disney has just made it one of the attractions operating on early entry days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). So if you're eligible for early entry, hot-foot it over to the subs during your early entry hour when you should also do Space Mountain and Peter Pan. If you don't have early entry privileges, avoid early entry days.”

Air Tahiti Nui Founder Dies
Nelson Levy, a pioneer of French Polynesia’s modern tourism business, died suddenly of a heart attack June 3. He was 58.

Levy was CEO of Tahiti Tourisme, Tahiti’s National Tourism Office, for more than eight years. He later founded Air Tahiti Nui, Tahiti’s multi-award winning International Airline. He oversaw the airline’s growth to a fleet of five modern A340-300 aircraft and development of scheduled Tahiti-bound services from Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, Tokyo and Osaka. Levy left the airline in 2006 to create Tahiti One Travel at the end of 2006. The Papeete-based company recently launched its Web site.

Levy is survived by his wife, Vaea, and two daughters.

Qantas Expands Schedule
Qantas Airways plans to increase its U.S. services to Australia effective March 2008. Two new weekly nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Brisbane will provide travelers with the enhanced convenience of daily service. The Qantas schedule will also increase its services between Los Angeles and Sydney.

The latest expansion brings the total number of nonstop services between the U.S. and Australia to an all-time high of 46 flights per week.

New Headquarters for AVC
Leading host travel agency America’s Vacation Center (AVC) will relocate its new Global Headquarters to Vista, Calif., in July. The new headquarters will be more than twice the size of its present office and will provide the space necessary for the company’s ongoing expansion of support and executive staff. “With customer demand continuing to dramatically increase, AVC is committed to add more independent travel professionals to our network,” said Van Anderson, co-president of AVC.