STAR CRUISES has sold the Norwegian Dream and the Norwegian Majesty to Cyprus-based Louis Group for $218 million and $162 million, respectively. Star, which owns 50% of NCL Corp. said that Norwegian Cruise Line would charter the ships back from Louis to complete their scheduled itineraries through November 2008 for the Dream and December 2009 for the Majesty. The Dream operates Bermuda itineraries out of Boston, and the Majesty sails Caribbean itineraries from Philadelphia and Charleston, S.C.
NCL CORP. said a cabin with curves would distinguish the accommodations on Norwegian Cruise Line's F3 class of ships -- the ships' "New Wave" staterooms will be designed with curved walls and lines. NCL also said it had maximized the cabin space by using an uncommon bathroom design: the shower stall and the toilet are in separate spaces. NCL CEO Colin Veitch said that the line had "thrown away the rule book with the design of F3... gone are the regimented, typical designs and in place are sleek staterooms that are totally outside the box, designed for the needs of tomorrow's guests." The first 4,200-passenger F3 ship currently is under construction at Aker Yards' facility in St. Nazaire, France.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD.'s first-quarter net profit soared to $75.6 million, up from $8.8 million in first-quarter 2007, but the company lowered full-year earnings guidance due to skyrocketing fuel prices. First-quarter revenue was up 16.8%, to $1.4 billion, and cruise costs rose 14.4%, driven by a 34.9% increase in fuel prices. CEO Richard Fain said he was pleased with the company's performance despite being "frustrated" by fuel costs. "The fact that we are doing as well or better than we expected gives me confidence about the future and our ability to deliver returns," he said. For the full year, RCCL expects yields to grow about 4%, but it lowered its earnings per share to account for fuel costs.
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE will offer its most extensive European program to date in 2009, with six of the fleet's ships there, including the upcoming Eurodam. The Maasdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Prinsendam and Rotterdam will also be based in Europe and will sail to 166 ports on 70 itineraries. HAL's 2009 Europe season will feature 16 maiden calls in 11 countries: Hendaye, France; Oostende, Belgium; Kiel, Germany; Scrabster, Scotland; Kristiansund, Norway; Vaasa, Finland; Foynes, Ireland; Greencastle, Northern Ireland; Portland, England; Bat'umi, Georgia; Victoria, Malta; Cardiff, Wales; Djupivogur, Iceland; and Santa Margherita, Sardinia and Trapani, Italy.
CUNARD LINE's three ships, the Queen Mary 2, the QE2 and the Queen Victoria, met last week in Southampton, U.K., for the first and last time. The QE2 and Queen Victoria arrived after completing world cruises; it was the QE2's final world cruise before it retires from the fleet in November, and the Queen Victoria's first.
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