Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Feb. 6, 2007

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES posted a record fourth-quarter 2006 profit, but its shares dropped after it forecast lower than expected first-quarter earnings. The company also said that its Wave season was not as robust as it had hoped. The fourth-quarter profit of $46.6 million, compared to a loss of $3.6 million in the same period of 2005, was driven mostly by a net yield increase of 3.3%, which was mainly due to strong cruise pricing. But Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said that early indications of Wave were that the company had seen "the usual uptick in volume, while pricing appears to have leveled off from the healthy appreciation we have seen over the last few years."

MSC CRUISES reached an agreement with Amadeus to distribute the line's product in North America via the Amadeus system. Using Amadeus Cruise, travel agencies in the U.S. and Canada now have real-time access to MSC Cruises' itineraries and cabin inventory. The North America agreement is an expansion of the distribution relationship with Amadeus that began last year in selected European countries. MSC Cruises said its decision to distribute through Amadeus is part of an "aggressive growth strategy."

NORWEGIAN COASTAL VOYAGE had to cancel the Nordkapp's three remaining Antarctic itineraries after the vessel ran aground on underwater rocks off Deception Island, Antarctica, on Jan. 30. The double-hulled ship sustained damage to its outer hull, and a small amount of "light marine diesel" leaked from the ship into the ocean when it was being transferred from one damaged tank on the Nordkapp to an undamaged tank. It was able to transfer its 294 passengers and 76 crewmembers to sister ship the Nordnorge on Jan. 31, which returned them to Ushuaia, Argentina, with no reported injuries. The grounding was blamed on strong winds that unexpectedly took the ship slightly off course in a narrow channel.

THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION found that travel agents are seeing more second-marriage couples among wedding and honeymoon cruisers than ever before. A CLIA survey also said that CLIA member lines are seeing an increase in honeymoon and wedding cruise business and have accordingly expanded their offerings. According to the survey, 32% of agents said more couples were booking weddings on cruises with family and friends in attendance; 20% of agents said the biggest change in their honeymoon and wedding business came from more couples renewing vows aboard cruise ships; and 8% saw an increase in same-sex couples choosing cruises as romantic vacation options.

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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