CRUISE LINE will more than double its capacity with the
order of two megaships from German shipbuilder Meyer Werft. The
line signed a letter of intent with the yard to build two
122,000-ton ships with expected deliveries in 2011 and 2012. The
vessels would be two decks taller than the company's existing
83,000-ton ships, the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. The new
builds, like the existing ships, would be designed for family
cruising, with a look that is a "modern interpretation of classic
ocean liners of the 1930s," Disney Cruise Line said. The additional
tonnage would allow Disney to expand its itineraries, which
currently consist of predominately Caribbean sailings and some
highly successful summer sojourns to the West Coast and the
CORP. will sell its Windstar Cruises brand to Ambassadors
International for $100 million. Seattle-based Windstar Cruises is a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Holland America Line, a unit of Carnival
Corp., and it operates three sailing vessels with a total
lower-berth capacity of 772. Carnival CEO Micky Arison praised the
Windstar product but said that it did not fit into the company's
future growth strategy, which is now focused on expanding "core
growth brands and opening new markets." The transaction is expected
to close in the second quarter of 2007.
CRUISE GROUP, meanwhile, is moving beyond its core product
of Majestic America Line-branded river cruises with the purchase.
"It is a different market," said Ambassadors President and CEO Joe
Ueberroth, "but we still think it's exactly where we want to be, in
the middle of the luxury cruising market." No essential changes to
the product are anticipated, Ueberroth said, and Ambassadors will
continue Windstar's scheduled cruises in the Mediterranean and
Caribbean and will proceed with the refurbishment of the Windstar
fleet begun last November.
CORP. reported a $116 million fourth-quarter loss,
compared with a $32.8 million loss in fourth-quarter 2005. Revenue
for the quarter was up 11.6% to $449.5 million. NCL said the
revenue increase was partially due to a 17.6% increase in capacity
days; that was partially offset by a 7.2% decrease in net yields,
which was driven by downward pricing pressure in its Hawaii
operations, lower onboard revenues across the fleet, due mostly to
the default of its art concessionaries, and lower occupancy levels.
For full-year 2006, the company posted a $130.9 million loss,
compared with a $16.2 million profit in 2005. NCL said that since
the start of the 2007 Wave season it has seen "a strong response to
our new marketing campaign and an improvement in the pace of
bookings following weak bookings during Q4." The company is raising
cruise prices, including in the Caribbean.
CORRECTION: An item in the Feb. 20 Cruise
E-letter about the Majesty of the Seas' incorrectly listed its
itinerary. The Majesty will sail three- and four-day cruises to the
Bahamas from Miami, not four- and five-day cruises.
E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill
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