ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL will name the first two Genesis-class ships the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, names submitted by a USA Today reader in a contest the newspaper held with the cruise line. A panel of five judges, including ship historian John Maxtone-Graham and Royal Caribbean executives, selected the pair of names for the soon-to-be world's largest cruise ships from more than 91,000 entries. It was the first time a cruise line has invited the public to name a vessel, and Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean's CEO, told USA Today that "there has been too much sameness in naming [ships] of late. It helped us get out of the box."
CRUISE LINE STOCKS tumbled last week as oil prices spiked and fears of recession affected discretionary products. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s shares dropped on May 21 to a 52-week low of $28.05, down from a high of $45.17 last June. Carnival Corp. stocks fell to $37.43 on May 21, down from a high of $52.10 last fall; its shares hit a 52-week low, $36.10, in March.
PRINCESS CRUISES will offer graduates of its online agent training program access to a new direct mail program that the line says could save them thousands of dollars in promotional spending. The Princess Alliance program will enable the grads and their agencies to personalize cobranded direct mail pieces. Six Princess Alliance mailings are scheduled during 2008, beginning July 7, and users will be able to access the tool to create and personalize the first mailing as early as June 16. Princess said that all information would be hosted by a third party and that the line would not have access to an agency's mailing lists.
THE CLIPPER GROUP is expected to buy the two coastal cruising vessels built for American Classic Voyages before that company went bankrupt in 2001. Clipper, a European shipping consortium, would buy the 224-passenger Cape Cod Light and the Cape May Light from the U.S. Maritime Administration, which has been taking care of the ships for seven years. The vessels, laid up near Jacksonville, Fla., have had at least two suitors interested in buying the vessels, but each did not secure the financing in time to meet established deadlines. Clipper is expected to contract Miami-based International Shipping Partners to manage the vessels, which would be chartered to an operator.
EASYCRUISE launched its newest ship, the EasyCruise Life, on May 17, almost one month after it was originally scheduled to set sail. The Greek line said labor strikes in Greece delayed an extensive refurbishment of the 27-year-old ship, which consequently delayed the maiden cruise originally set to depart April 19 from Athens. On its first cruise the 500-passenger Life visited five Greek islands and Bodrum, Turkey, a maiden call for EasyCruise. The vessel is slated to operate that itinerary until Oct. 11.
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