SEATTLE - Holland America Line-Westours Inc. and Windstar Cruises, units of Carnival Cruise Lines of Miami, said they will accept American Express and Visa cards for deposits and final payments of cruise and tour bookings in the United States and Canada.

The cruise company said it expects credit card acceptance to improve business growth.

The decision to take Visa, American Express, and the American Express Optima brand "was based on travel-agent feedback that many consumers would prefer to use credit cards rather than pay cash," said Ray Lutz, vice president, sales. "This also permits consumers to extend their payments through the card companies and take advantage of credit card marketing promotions."

MasterCard did not figure in the announcement. A Holland America official would say only that there is no MasterCard arrangement "at this time."

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