Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: November 1, 2005

AN AMENDMENT inserted into a 2006-2007 Coast Guard Appropriations Senate bill (S. 1280) would require the Homeland Security Departments inspector general to review the Hurricane Katrina cruise-ship charter contracts and verify the contract price was appropriate and reasonable and based on current, accurate and complete cost and pricing data. The inspector general would have nine months to review and report back to House and Senate committees with findings and recommendations, including possible legislative or regulatory changes or improvements to the contracting process immediately following a disaster. The amendment was submitted Oct. 27 by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on behalf of Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

CRUISE PORTS in Cozumel were very, very badly damaged, according to Mexico Ministry of Tourism representative Mario Torres. It is clear we are looking at two or three months of repairs before they are usable again. Interest in Cozumel has grown steadily over the years. The increase of cruising from western Gulf Coast ports such as Galveston, Texas, and New Orleans gave the trend staying power. In 2004, nearly 2.9 million cruise passengers visited Cozumel, making it one of the most popular ports in the Caribbean.  

LINES WERE BUSY CONDUCTING DAMAGE ASSESSMENTS. Royal Caribbean President Adam Goldstein said the line received surprisingly positive reports from shore excursions operators on their infrastructure and equipment, but, he added, it was too soon to tell when Royal Caribbean would be able to return to Cozumel on a regular basis. Carnival began replacing calls at Cozumel with visits to Playa del Carmen, Costa Maya and Progreso on cruises departing between Oct. 27 and Oct. 31. Norwegian Cruise Line, which operates two ships from Houston on western Caribbean routes that called in Cozumel and Cancun, modified the Norwegian Dream and the Norwegian Suns itineraries to limit the calls to Belize and Roatan, Honduras.


ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES third-quarter profits jumped 32% to $374.7 million, while revenue increased 8.4% to $1.5 billion. Net yields for the second-largest cruise company, behind Carnival Corp., increased 6.9% from the third quarter of 2004. Occupancy for the quarter was 109.3%.

RICHARD FAIN, RCCLs CEO, said in a statement Oct. 26 that revenue enhancement efforts and a means to control costs more than compensated for fuel spikes and the companys lack of capacity growth. A 47% increase in fuel costs was the primary driver for a 6.4% increase in net cruise costs. RCCL said fuel costs represented 6.6% of revenues.


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