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Cruise executive Albert Peter has announced the formation of Jewel River Cruise Line. The new venture will feature three independent brands with distinct market segments: Jewel River Cruises, featuring a boutique-luxury level of river cruising; Emerald River Journeys, a premium line; and the contemporary Princess River Journeys.
Jewel River Cruise Line will launch in 2008 with six ships, including the industry’s first all-suite luxury river cruise ship. The line plans to expand by adding two new all-suite luxury ships in 2009 and 2010.
Jewel River Cruises will debut with the April 5 maiden voyage of the ms Jewel Imperial Blue along the River Seine. The vessel will accommodate 90 guests in 45 suites that measure 237 square feet. Jewel Imperial Blue will also feature two 473-square-foot Owner’s Suites.
“The river cruise market is experiencing a tremendous boom and we are creating a new collection of river cruise brands with the goal of being the dominant player in the industry,” said chairman and CEO Peter. “We see the potential of river cruising as being so much more than a means of transportation from one beautiful port to another, but rather, a truly experiential way to explore some of the world’s most fascinating destinations.”
The founders and executive management team of Jewel River Cruise Line include Peter, the former CEO of Silversea Cruises; river cruise veteran Ulrich F. Baur; and Swiss financier Eberhard Henter-Besting. Luxury cruise professional Jacques Wulffaert, a former senior executive at Celebrity Cruises and ResidenSea, will serve as president, COO and as a member of the board. The company will have offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Wollerau, Switzerland; and Oberwesel, Germany. Jewel River Cruises’ Ft. Lauderdale office will begin accepting reservations in January.
NACTA Independent Agents Report Available for Purchase
The National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (NACTA) Independent Agents Report is now available for purchase by any travel professional. The 2007 report is a joint product of NACTA and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
“It is important to understand the different types of travel agents in today’s industry,” said Cheryl Hudak, ASTA president and CEO. “This report is a great tool for anyone who works with or employs home-based or independent agents and would like to learn more about this specific type of agent.” Among the key findings in the report: 61 percent of agents expect their 2007 revenue to increase compared to 2006. However, only 31 percent consider selling travel to be their primary source of income. The survey also found that more than one-third of the responding agents have their own supplier relationships, while 32 percent use their host agency’s arrangements with suppliers. The report found that 14 percent of respondents have one employee and nearly 9 percent of respondents have two or more employees.
The cost to purchase the report is $99 for agent members, $199 for supplier members and $299 for non-members.
According to the latest Corporate Air Travel Survey of more than 10,000 active travelers released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passengers are eager to take advantage of high-tech options. Eighty-nine percent of the respondents preferred e-tickets to paper tickets; 56 percent have tried Internet check-in and 69 percent have used self-service kiosks. When asked if they wanted more self-service options, 54 percent said yes with positive results from all regions (57 percent in the Americas).