Travel Weekly's Cruise E-letter: September 20, 2005

CARNIVAL CORP. broke the $1 billion income mark during the third quarter for the second year in a row. For the quarter ended Aug. 31, the worlds largest cruise company posted a $1.15 billion profit, up from $1.03 billion during the third-quarter 2004. Revenues were up 11%, to $3.61 billion. Carnival took two charges in the third quarter: a $23 million charge to operating expenses related to a contribution to a former P&O Princess Cruises pension fund and a $22 million investment write-down charged to a non-operating expense. Net revenue yields for the third quarter increased 6.2%, primarily due to higher cruise ticket prices and onboard revenues.

CARNIVAL CORP. EXECUTIVES defended and praised the decision by one of its lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, to charter three of its ships to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for use in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. We believe it was the right thing to do, said COO Howard Frank, adding that Carnival employees deserved congratulations for a job well done. The charter price of $192 million will cover Carnival costs such as income tax on the charter, crew salaries, reimbursements for cancelled cruises and agency commissions. Neither Carnival nor FEMA have a clear idea of what running the ships will [cost], added CFO Gerry Cahill.

THE ECSTASY and the Sensation, meanwhile, have been moved from Galveston, Texas, to New Orleans to serve as housing for New Orleans Fire Department, Police Department and Emergency Medical Services employees and their families. The Holiday remained in Mobile, Ala.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES latest ship, the Norwegian Jewel, arrived in New York Sept. 14 for its first round of North American itineraries. Aside from its new high-end cabins (10 penthouse suites that surround a private courtyard), one of the new features of the Jewel is a computerized dining reservation system that posts table availability for the Jewel's 10 restaurants on flat-screen TVs around the ship. If a restaurant is full and guests still want to wait, NCL will give them a beeper that works anywhere on the ship.

DELTA QUEEN STEAMBOAT CO. canceled the December sailings of the Delta Queen and the December, January and February sailings of the Mississippi Queen and changed the November itineraries on both ships. The line said last week the damage to the New Orleans area makes it impossible for the company to operate its regularly scheduled fall and winter cruises, which typically sail from New Orleans to towns along the southern Mississippi River. The fall and winter seasons of the American Queen had already been canceled. All three ships are expected to return to service in early March.

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