Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: Sept. 25, 2007

CARNIVAL CORP. shares jumped on Sept. 21 after the company posted a 12% increase in third-quarter profits, beating Wall Street estimates, and signaled success for its aggressive Caribbean pricing strategy. The company said its results were driven by strong close-in pricing in the Caribbean and increased capacity in Europe. Carnival's net income for the third quarter, which ended Aug. 31, was $1.4 billion, compared with net income of $1.2 billion during the same period of 2006. Revenues increased by 10.7% during the quarter to $4.3 billion. The company said that 2008 was already looking strong, and according to Carnival Corp. CEO Micky Arison, "for the balance of 2007 and into the first half of next year, bookings are well ahead of last year."

WALL STREET ANALYSTS were sweet on Carnival Corp.'s returns and what appeared to be improving fundamentals for the industry. AG Edwards analyst Tim Conder praised Carnival's capacity deployment for being "appropriately allocated toward markets to maximize returns," a reference to Carnival's plan to increase its capacity in Europe by 16.8% in 2008 and grow its North American capacity by 3.4%. Bank of America analyst Michael Savner wrote, "Carnival's pricing strategy in the Caribbean appears to be working, and bookings are up meaningfully." Both analysts warned that volatile fuel costs could be negative factors.

CELEBRITY CRUISES unveiled a new cabin design that will debut with the Celebrity Solstice in December 2008. The design includes larger bathrooms, improved interconnecting room systems, "smart" storage design and a muted color scheme. Celebrity said that cabins on its Solstice-class ships would be 15% larger than on the ones on its current ships, and the bathrooms would be 24% larger. Many of the new design concepts came from the suggestions of a panel of women Celebrity recruited to help design the cabins. Their suggestions led to features such as foot rails in the glass-enclosed shower for leg shaving, fog-free mirrors, nightstands with individual reading lights, higher beds to allow more luggage space beneath them and cabins that interconnect through less noise-conducive doorways.

SEABOURN completed its refurbishment of the Seabourn Pride, part of a multi-vessel, multimillion dollar renovation project. Refurbs on the other two ships are expected to be completed by August 2008: The Seabourn Spirit will enter drydock in Singapore in January, and the Seabourn Legend will go into drydock in Lisbon in April. The renovations include overhauling the ships' open-air, alternative dining venues in order increase their seating capacities and enhancing options for outdoor, evening entertainment.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE gave its upcoming ship, the Norwegian Gem, its own Web site,, which features a blog, a create-your-own avatar tool, weekly polls, virtual bowling in the ship's Bliss Ultra Lounge, a calendar of events and contests. NCL has been promoting its newest ship as "the 'It' girl," and the site attempts to personify the Gem with a list of its favorite things, such as a favorite color (leopard) and favorite food (escargot from the vessel's Le Bistro). The site also has deck plans and information on the Gem's staterooms, public rooms and itineraries.

Cruise E-Letter Editor: Johanna Jainchill

Phone: (201) 902-2065

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].


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