Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Feb. 8, 2004

JACKSONVILLE came out a winner in the Super Bowl extravaganza last weekend: Six cruise ships provided about 3,800 extra beds to visitors in town for the event. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said a total of 7,638 guests would be accommodated on cruise ships during Super Bowl week. Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Miracle, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises Seven Seas Navigator and three vessels from Holland America Line the Zaandam, the Zuiderdam and the Volendam were in town as floating hotels.  Silversea Cruises Silver Wind was in Jacksonville under charter.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES revenues rose 9.9% during the fourth quarter of 2004 to $964.6 million, but the second-largest cruise company also lost $25.8 million during the quarter, compared with a net loss of $20 million during fourth-quarter 2003. RCCL said a spike in at-the-pump fuel costs during November and December was the "primary driver" of fourth-quarter costs. In addition, RCCL CEO Richard Fain said other costs and a less-than-exceptional take in onboard casino revenue were factors. For the year, however, RCCL's net income rose nearly 70% over 2003 earnings to $474.7 million, on revenues of $4.6 billion.

RCCL WILL SPEND an additional $20 million in 2005 on its new split sales force the company in 2004 split its sales force into brand-dedicated teams and expanding its Europe sales presence. President Jack Williams said RCCL is looking at some strategic alternatives with supporting that [Europe] market with additional tonnage. As for new tonnage, the company said it expects to grow the Celebrity brand, but as Fain said, We don't have a deal until we have a deal.

NCL CORP.S DEAL to hold off on a deal: Aker Yards and NCL agreed to extend a letter of intent to build a cruise ship for Norwegian Cruise Line until Feb. 28, the yard said. The 89,000-ton ship was to be built at Aker Finnyards Helsinki yard and delivered in spring 2007. Originally, the letter of intent with the yard expired at the end of January.

PRINCESS CRUISES added 13 shore excursions to its Alaska cruise lineup, bringing the total number of options to 137 tours.

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