Setting Sail with Insurance
According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA), a
nonprofit trade group, cruise passengers are increasingly opting to
buy travel insurance rather than sign a waiver. A yet-to-be
released study completed in January found that 70 percent of
consumers traveling by ship or cruise in 2005 purchased insurance.
The USTIA estimates that before 9/11, only 10 percent of leisure
travelers taking cruises, air/tour vacations or international trips
bought travel insurance.
More cruise passengers are opting for insurance because cruises
are considered high-risk: People tend to book them further in
advance than they do other vacations, leaving a lot of time for
something to happen to prevent passengers from taking the
The recent media attention on mechanical problems, fires and
missing passengers on ships emphasizes to passengers that there are
risks even after the ship sails.
Cruise insurance is provided by two main sources the cruise
lines or independent third parties. Many agents opt to use
third-party vendors, which offer commissions as high as 35
Agents say they prefer third-party insurers for other reasons.
For one thing, a cruise line can’t protect passengers from default
if the company goes out of business, so does the policy. In
addition, cruise insurance doesn’t always cover the flight to and
from the ship, the pre- and post-cruise stays or independently
booked shore excursions.
Cruise lines and agents seem to agree on one thing: They want
According to officials, travelers have successfully sued travel
agents, tour operators, vacation rental companies and other travel
professionals for negligence and emotional distress over common
travel problems that could have been covered by travel insurance,
including canceled or delayed flights.
Along came a spider
California’s Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, managed by
Destination Hotels & Resorts, is offering a special summer
sweepstakes worth $10,000. Clients can enter online to win three
nights’ accommodations in a luxury suite, three spa treatments and
three days with the keys to a red Ferrari Spider Modena. The winner
will be announced Sept. 5.
NEST Leadership Changes Hands
Stuart Cohen, senior vice president of the Network of
Entrepreneurs Selling Travel (NEST), resigned May 31.
“Stuart has made a tremendous contribution to the home-based
agency channel and our organization,” said Kathryn Mazza-Burney,
executive vice president of sales. “We thank him for his hard work
and dedication and wish him the greatest continued success in his
Cohen will pursue other interests in the travel industry and is
slated to speak at future NEST member conferences. Burney will
oversee day-to-day operations and strategic planning and absorb
Cohen’s responsibilities. Nicole Mazza will continue to manage
supplier negotiations and all marketing initiatives.
The NEST by American Marketing Group and based in Oyster Bay,
N.Y. is the industry’s first and only marketing group exclusively
for home-based travel agents.
Acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has partnered with
Starwood Hotels & Resorts to create an international, upscale
restaurant and licensing business. The new company will serve as a
third-party development arm for restaurant concepts in Starwood’s
luxury hotel brands, including W, Westin, Le Meridien and St.
Regis. Additionally, the company will own and operate freestanding
restaurants outside of Starwood’s hotels.
Rail Europe recently updated The Rail Agent Course (TRAC) to
offer agents updated training material. Nearly 2,000 agents have
taken the online course and received certification as Rail Agents,
which provides three Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) from the
The official representative of more than 30 railroads, Rail
Europe is the leading North American supplier of European rail
tickets and passes.
Auberge Resorts recently announced the launch of a new hotel
concept, Solage Hotels & Resorts, to debut in 2007. Developed
by the team behind Auberge Resorts’ award-winning luxury
properties, Solage will depart from the Auberge model to offer a
less expensive, contemporary, design-focused option.
The first resort, the Solage Calistoga, is scheduled to open in
spring of 2007 in Napa Valley, Calif. The 89-room, cottage-style
resort will feature Mayacamas Mountain views, the Solage Spa, a
130-foot pool and complimentary “cruiser” bikes on the 25-acre