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."
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."
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.
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.
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