SAN FRANCISCO -- West Coast travel agents concerned the proposed
merger between Royal Caribbean and Princess cruise lines will rob
them of one of the few remaining California-based lines were
heartened by remarks made by Phil Kleweno, Princess president,
during a presentation here.
Speaking to a group of nearly 400 travel agents, Kleweno said,
"Princess will stay in Santa Clarita," referring to the Los Angeles
County city where the line is headquartered.
In an interview, Kleweno confirmed many of the statements made by Royal Caribbean chairman
While most decisions regarding post-merger operations have not
been made, he said, Princess "will remain as a stand-alone brand,"
even in terms of sales efforts.
Princess' contracts with agents and agent networks are in place
for 2002 and will not change because of the impending merger,
"Sometime in the middle of next year, we will develop agency
programs for 2003," he noted, adding it won't be until then that
Princess will have clear answers about how the merged company will
handle overrides and other agent programs.
Meanwhile, he said the redeployment of ships to ports that are
within driving distance for Americans seems to have been
successful, drawing strong early sales.
Kleweno also said he expects price discounting to taper off
after January as ships begin to fill up for the year.