Travel Weeklys Cruise E-letter: March 29, 2005

PASSENGERS on a charter cruise of NCLs Pride of Aloha in Hawaii last summer brought a class-action lawsuit against the travel agency that organized the trip, seeking damages because of an experience they maintain was way below expectations. The agency, Blue World Travel in San Francisco, in turn filed a cross-complaint against NCL. The suit was filed in the San Francisco County Superior Court. NCL declined to comment on the suit as a matter of policy.

 

CARNIVAL CORP. reported another dynamic quarter, pulling in $345 million in net income. Net yields were up by 7.2% in the quarter, coming in at the high end of the companys expectations, said Carnival CFO Gerry Cahill. The company revised its 2005 yield-growth projections upward, to between 5% and 6%. Fuel continued to be a drag on Carnivals cost side. Fuel prices rose about 10% year-over-year; the company spent an additional $12 million on fuel costs, Cahill said.

SPEAKING OF FUEL: Radisson Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) implemented a fuel surcharge, making the luxury operator the first North American-based cruise line to do so. Radisson is charging $2.85 per person, per day on bookings that were made after Feb. 18.  It also is applying the charge to bookings made before Feb. 18 but not paid in full, for sailings from early May to the end of 2005. In addition, the line is assessing fuel surcharges for air arrangements to Tahiti or Europe that are booked through the cruise line. The fuel charges actually do not include the current spike we have had in fuel costs, said RSSC CEO Mark Conroy.

CELEBRITY CRUISES canceled the Infinitys March 27 cruise from Ensenada, Mexico, to Honolulu and will drydock the ship in order to replace the systems starboard thrust bearing. The ship is expected to return to service April 6. Passengers received a full refund plus a free cruise departing on or before March 27, 2006. Agent commissions were protected; agents also will receive a $50 rebooking fee. The Infinity has been taken out of service for at least one cruise each year since its 2000 debut to deal with various propulsion issues. The ship was drydocked a year ago forcing the Millennium to take over its March 28 and April 11 cruises.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES will pay $3.75 million and other customary benefits to Jack Williams, who is stepping down as its president and COO. The payment amount was specified in Williams employment agreement, which he signed in August 2002. Williams, who announced his departure March 18, will stay at the company through a transition period, which is expected to end June 30.

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