Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Feb. 27, 2007

DISNEY 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 Mediterranean.

CARNIVAL 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.

AMBASSADORS 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.

NCL 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.

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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