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.
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."
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
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.
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."
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