Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Aug. 21, 2007

NCL CORP. last week said that private equity firm Apollo Management would invest $1 billion into the cruise company to become a 50% owner alongside Malaysia-based Star Cruises, NCL's sole shareholder since 2000. Apollo will make a cash equity investment in the form of common stock and will name the majority of NCL's five-member board. Apollo is the New York-based private equity firm that purchased Oceania Cruises for $850 million in March; former NCL president Adam Aron is a senior operating partner with the firm. NCL and Apollo said that Oceania and NCL were expected to remain separate investments and would not merge. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

NCL AMERICA will be treated separately in the transaction, said NCL CEO Colin Veitch, and for an undefined period of time Apollo will not absorb the losses of NCL's interisland Hawaii operations. Veitch said during a press conference that Star would continue to underwrite the losses at NCL America "until we can see the prospects for the business... and whether the ships stay in the business or not." He clarified that the both partners hoped to continue a "good, profitable" Hawaii operation, saying that if they didn't, "we'd deal with it now."

THE EASYCRUISETWO, the river cruise ship that operates as a franchise of EasyCruise, will cease operations this month, six weeks earlier than the season's original end date of Sept. 28. In making the announcement, EasyCruise blamed the financial condition of the vessel's operator, Boonstra Riverline, for the decision. Boonstra, which is headquartered in the Netherlands, was not immediately available for comment. The EasyCruiseTwo had been sailing three-, four- and seven-day river cruises from Amsterdam.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES will replace the 1,486-passenger Celebration with the 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination in Jacksonville, Fla., next fall, adding a 38% increase in capacity there. The Fascination will move to Jacksonville from its current Miami home in September 2008 and will sail there year-round. Carnival said it would carry about 170,000 passengers annually from Jacksonville on the Fascination. It said it would announce the Celebration's deployment plans at a later date.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING EARLY to travel agents who book with Costa Cruises or SeaDream Yacht Club. Costa said it was celebrating 60 years of service by giving diamond necklaces from Diamonds International to travel agents who make a deposit during the next 60 days on a group encompassing 10 cabins or more on a seven-day Europe sailing next year. Costa said the six-stone diamond was valued at $1,000. SeaDream, meanwhile, is offering an iPod shuffle to travel professionals who make a new 2007 bookings between Aug. 20 and 31. The line said that "from Beethoven to the Rolling Stones, the offer is rock solid."

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected]


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