Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: May 31, 2005

CELEBRITY CRUISES canceled the June 3 sailing of the Summit and shortened its May 27 cruise by one day in order to make a repair to the ships propulsion system. The Summit, which is sailing in Alaska during the summer season, will enter dry dock on June 2 to replace a radial-bearing unit showing premature wear on the ships starboard propulsion system. It is expected to return to service June 10. The canceled and altered cruises are expected to negatively impact parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises second-quarter earnings by 4 to 5 cents per share.

PROPULSION PROBLEMS are a reoccurring issue on Celebritys Millennium-class builds, and the line in 2003 filed a $300 million suit against the pods makers, Alstom Power Conversion and Rolls-Royce.

AN INVESTIGATION by the Bahamas Maritime Authority into the Norwegian Dawn's April 10 cruise, when the ship was damaged after being struck by a rogue wave, determined that the captain took appropriate action to reduce the effects of the weather on the ship and its passengers. The Dawn encountered the rough seas on its trip from Florida to New York. There is no evidence that any real or perceived urgency to arrive at New York earlier was a factor in the handling of the ship, the statement said.

WHEN THE WAVE HIT the ship, two cabin windows broke after being struck by teak handrails. According to the report, the penetration of the welds holding aluminum supports for the handrails and attached glass windbreak had not been adequate when the ship was built. The failure of the welds caused the supports to break loose, releasing the glass and teak sections, the statement said. In an e-mail an NCL spokeswoman said, We have notified the shipyard of the report of the welding to ensure it does not happen on future builds. In addition, we are looking at existing ships and taking steps to ensure this doesnt happen [on them].

STAR CRUISES GROUP posted a $4.4 million profit during first-quarter 2005, up from a net loss of $9.2 million in first-quarter 2004. Net revenue increased by 2.6% to $404 million from $391 million. The company said net cruise revenue yield rose 7.8% due to higher cruise ticket prices, onboard revenues and occupancy levels. Stars ship-operating expenses rose due in part to the increase in fuel prices and in part to the higher cost structure of Stars NCL America brand. The NCL Groups net revenue yield (which includes Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America and Orient Lines) was up by 9.8%.

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