Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Dec. 26, 2006

CARNIVAL CORP. reported record fourth quarter and full-year earnings last week, with net income up 23.8% to $416 million for the quarter and up 1.3% to $2.28 billion for its fiscal year 2006, which ended Nov. 30. Revenue for the quarter rose 9.3% to $2.8 billion, driven by a 5.5% increase in cruise capacity and better yields, the company said. For 2007, Carnival said that while pricing and bookings appeared to be down for the first quarter, the introduction of four ships and an 8.4% increase in capacity for the European market over the course of the year would drive earnings growth. Carnival said that its ship in China, the Costa Allegra, was underperforming, but that it intended to stay the course there.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL will name its third Freedom-class ship the Independence of the Seas when it debuts in May 2008. The vessel is currently under construction at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland. Along with sister ships the Freedom of the Seas and the Liberty of the Seas, which will debut in New York in May, the 160,000-ton vessel will carry 3,634 passengers and will share the title of world's largest cruise ship. Like its sister vessels, the Independence of the Seas will have amenities that include the FlowRider surf simulator, the H20 Zone aqua park, cantilevered whirlpools, an ice-skating rink, a boxing ring and the 1,215 square-foot Presidential Family Suite that accommodates up to 14 passengers.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE made several changes to its North American fleet rotation. The line will send the Norwegian Sun from New Orleans to Miami in October, move the Norwegian Spirit from New York to New Orleans in November and assign the Norwegian Gem, which debuts in October, to New York beginning in December to sail to the Bahamas and Florida. In Hawaii, NCL America will lose a ship when the Norwegian Wind is transferred to parent company Star Cruises' Asia fleet. Starting in September, the Pride of Aloha will operate 10- and 11-day interisland Hawaii itineraries, with every fourth sailing including a call at Fanning Island in Kiribati.

NORWEGIAN COASTAL VOYAGE will sail its first world cruise in September. The expedition line unveiled a 66-day cruise that will visit 44 ports in 17 countries on four continents on a longitudinal route from pole to pole. The line's newest ship, the 160-passenger Fram, will embark on Sept. 18 from Reykjavik, Iceland, and sail via Scotland, Ireland, Canada, the Eastern U.S., the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, the west coast of South America, the Chilean fjords and Antarctica, and end in Ushuaia, Argentina, on Nov. 22.  The voyage would be the industry's first world cruise from the Arctic to Antarctica, NCV said.

EASYCRUISE CEO Gwyn Hughes will step down when the no-frills cruise company moves its center of operations from Monaco to Athens, Greece, where the EasyCruiseOne will be based in summer 2007. The line said that Hughes would step down after overseeing the move. Hughes will focus on shipbuilding contract negotiations that are expected to continue with shipyards for at least another six months, said EasyCruise founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, pending EU regulatory processes relating to export credit guarantees. Recently-appointed Finance Director Stelios Panagiotou will be based in Athens, and the company is searching for a general manager to head the Greece operation.

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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