Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: August 3, 2004

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL will stretch the Enchantment of the Seas next summer by inserting a 73-foot midsection into the ship. The midsection will be built by Finnish shipbuilder Kvaerner Masa-Yards and floated over to the Keppel Verolme shipyard in Rotterdam, Holland, where the Enchantment will be halved and the midsection inserted. The lengthening will add 151 cabins, as well as indoor and outdoor public spaces, to the vessel. Additional renovations include a specialty restaurant and a Boleros Latin music-themed lounge.

RICHARD FAIN, RCCL's CEO, said there could be more ship lengthenings in Royal Caribbean's future. "I think it's fair to characterize that as [part of] a program of trying to improve our vessels and take advantage of some of the lessons we've learned on the new building ... particularly alternative dining." But, he added, "I don't think we're on any mission to do a lot more of the lengthening. Physically all the ships are quite different and some are more conducive to lengthenings than others."

RCCL'S second-quarter profits, meanwhile, increased 119%, to $122.2 million. Revenue increased 26.2% to $1.1 billion, primarily due to a 12.4% increase in capacity and increases in ticket prices, occupancy and onboard revenue, the company said. Occupancy for the quarter was 106.2%, which executives said was at the top end of its available capacity, and Jack Williams, president of the Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity brands, said 2004 demand continued to  "significantly outpace" last year.

NCL AMERICA'S 2005 Hawaii lineup will offer five different itineraries between its two U.S.-flagged ships -- all at the same time. The Pride of America, which begins Hawaii service July 23, 2005, will offer seven-day roundtrip service from Honolulu as its core product but will simultaneously offer three- and four-day cruises by taking on short-cruise passengers in Honolulu and Maui. The Pride of Aloha, meanwhile, also will take on short-cruise passengers during its seven-day roundtrip cruises from Maui. The ship will continue to offer seven-day cruises from Honolulu. The seven-day Maui cruises begin June 4, 2005. The new cruises go on sale Aug. 9, 2004.

STRONG DEMAND for Silversea Cruises' two 2005 cruises to Beirut, Lebanon, Syria and Libya prompted the luxury line to add a third Beirut cruise to its lineup. The added 15-day voyage, on May 26, begins in Istanbul and calls in Kusadasi, Turkey; Rhodes, Greece; Tartous, Syria; Beirut; Alexandria, Egypt; Benghazi and Tripoli, Libya; Valetta, Malta; and Liparti and Rome, Italy.

PRINCESS IS IN THE CARIBBEAN next winter with new 14-day itineraries, a new port call -- the island of Bonaire -- and six ships: the Caribbean Princess, the Grand Princess, the Star Princess and the Golden Princess will sail seven-day itineraries; the Sun Princess will offer alternating 10-day itineraries and the Sea Princess will introduce 14-day itineraries.


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