PARKER BOWLES, the Duchess of Cornwall, will name Cunard
Line's Queen Victoria during a Dec. 10 ceremony in Southampton,
England. Prince Charles will accompany his wife to the ship's
naming, part of four days of inaugural festivities. The line said
that its Queens are traditionally named by members of the royal
family; both the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Mary 2 were named
by Queen Elizabeth II.
CORP. cemented its agreement to create a Spanish-market
cruise brand with Spain's largest tour operator, Orizonia
Corporacion. The three-ship operation, which will launch in spring
2008 under the name Iberocruceros, will use the Carnival Cruise
Lines' 1,486-passenger Celebration and two vessels from Orizonia's
Iberojet line, the 1,244-passenger Grand Mistral and 834-passenger
Grand Voyager. Itineraries will be named later. The transaction is
expected to close on Sept. 14, and Carnival said that it would own
75% of the joint venture; Orizonia would control the remaining 25%.
Iberocruceros will be based in Madrid.
ALSO SAID that it scrapped its plans to for a joint
venture line with German tour operator TUI, citing regulatory
difficulties in Germany that delayed the transaction. Not being
able to close the deal this year, Carnival said, would create
adverse tax consequences for the company. Carnival said it would
grow in Germany organically through new ship construction for its
Aida cruise line and its other European brands that serve the
German market, such as Costa Cruises and Cunard.
CRUISES' second ship in its Solstice class, the Celebrity
Equinox, entered life last week in a German shipyard. Royal
Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain started the plasma torch that
launched the production of the ship's first steel plate at the
Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The 122,000-ton vessel
is slated to enter service in 2009. Meyer Werft will build four
Solstice-class vessels in all; the first ship in the series, the
Celebrity Solstice, is under construction and scheduled for
delivery in fall 2008.
CANAL is one week into its $5 billion expansion. Ground
was broken Sept. 3 on the massive project, which is expected to
double the waterway's capacity by 2014. This is the first expansion
of the almost 100-year-old, 51-mile canal: The planned work would
build one new lane of traffic across the canal by constructing a
new set of locks, which would enable longer and wider ships to pass
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