Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Dec. 11, 2007

CARLSON COS. will sell Regent Seven Seas to private equity firm Apollo Management. Mark Conroy, president of Regent, sent a letter to travel agents on Dec. 10, saying the deal would put Regent and Oceania Cruises under the ownership of Prestige Cruise Holdings, a corporation controlled by Apollo Management. Conroy and Bob Binder, president of Oceania, will report to Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige. Rumors about the deal swirled around the industry recently, as Apollo, which earlier this year acquired Oceania and is in the process of taking a 50% stake in NCL Corp., was said to be looking for a luxury cruise brand. Conroy said in the letter that Regent would remain a wholly independent brand. Financial terms were not disclosed.

THE QUEEN VICTORIA was named in Southampton, England, by Camilla Parker Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall. The ceremony, which included opera and dance performances, a fireworks display, a narrated history of Cunard Line and a performance by the London Philharmonic, was attended by 2,000 guests, including Bowles' husband, Prince Charles. The 2,014-passenger ship leaves today on its maiden voyage to Northern Europe. Prior to the ceremony, Prince Charles and Bowles toured the Queen Victoria with Carnival Corp. CEO Micky Arison and Cunard President Carol Marlow.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD. and European tour operator TUI plan to jointly launch a cruise line serving the German-speaking market in early 2009. TUI Cruises will be based in Hamburg, Germany, and will enter service with one ship. Two new-builds are planned for 2011 and 2012. RCCL and TUI each will have a 50% interest in the joint venture. RCCL CEO Richard Fain said the deal "greatly advances our global strategy." TUI said the onboard product would be tailored to German tastes in terms of food, entertainment and amenities. In September, Carnival Corp. scrapped a proposed joint venture with TUI to launch a cruise line for the German market, citing what Carnival called "a difficult regulatory environment in Germany."

ROYAL CARIBBEAN will homeport its two Genesis-class ships in Port Everglades when the 5,400-passenger vessels enter service in 2009 and 2010, making the Fort Lauderdale port home to the two largest cruise ships built to date. The two ships are expected to add approximately 584,000 passengers per year to Port Everglades; the vessels will sail Caribbean itineraries year-round. Port Everglades said that the agreement would allow it to surpass Miami and Port Canaveral as the world's largest cruise port within the next five years.

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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