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NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE PIONEERS SHIPBOARD DIRECT-DIAL PHONE SERVICE

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE PIONEERS SHIPBOARD DIRECT-DIAL PHONE SERVICE
 MIAMI, Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Telephoning on land has been possible for more than a century. Commercial calling from the air? That goes back a couple of years. But calling while cruising on the high seas has been mostly a hang-up...until now.
 Starting at Christmas time, the 1,536 passengers on the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) M/S Seaward will be making history. They'll be able to pick up a phone in their cabin and, while plying the waters of the Caribbean, call directly to and receive calls from 'most any phone in the world. The quality of the connection is virtually the same as on land.
 All of this is made possible by a pioneering move on the part of Norwegian Cruise Line, satellite connections with Maritime Telecommunications Network (MTN), and landline connections with AT&T MEGACOM(r) WATS service.
 In the past, ship passengers had to go to the radio room to make ship-to-shore calls -- or, with the newest cruise ships, call from their cabin to the radio room, which in turn would finish the call via satellite link. And there was a land-based operator to go through as well. Now there are no intermediaries, virtually no waiting and no busy signals.
 "This means a real improvement in customer service. Our passengers will have all the direct, normal phone contacts with the outside world that they currently have at home," said William Partipilo, NCL vice president of Information Services.
 "This shipboard phone system greatly enhances our ability to monitor everything on board from passenger lists to inventory. It greatly increases overall productivity and will cut our operating expenses, because it opens up lines of communications with our ships that we didn't have before," he said.
 NCL now has instant communication from shipboard to its mainframe computers in Coral Gables, Fla. For example, shipboard food inventories used to be recorded on computer diskettes and mailed to shore -- creating a delay of three to seven days before information was available to the central office. Now the information is sent directly via data links.
 NCL will begin outfitting other ships in its fleet, including its flagship SS Norway, for similar service starting early in 1992; ships in the Royal Viking Line and the Royal Cruise Line will begin direct-dial phone service from the seven seas in mid-1992.
 Starting now the M/S Seaward treats passengers to six dedicated voice lines for dialing and receiving in-cabin, direct phone calls. The ship also has a dedicated data line for inventories, passenger listings, sales, payroll and other day-to-day business operations -- and a dedicated fax line.
 -0- 12/16/91
 /CONTACT: Debbie Stein, 404-810-7085 (office) or 404-875-3763 (after hours), or Phyllis Weiss, 404-810-7833 (office) or 404-873-5031 (after hours), both of AT&T/ CO: Norwegian Cruise Line; American Telephone and Telegraph Company ST: Florida IN: TLS LEI SU: PDT


BN-TG -- AT001 -- 2376 12/16/91 09:07 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 16, 1991
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