So whats in a name? A whole lot of duplication

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It's time to play the Nautical Name Game. Princess Cruises picked Crown Princess as the name for its next Caribbean-based ship. Can you name another ship with the word crown on its hull?

Answer: The Norwegian Crown.

Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess share more than one ship name. The Star, the Sun and the Sea are common monikers.

Last year, Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Lines revealed they would use the name Freedom -- as in the Carnival Freedom and the Freedom of the Seas -- within less than one week of each other.

"I guess that's emulation," said Bob Dickinson, Carnival's CEO. But, he added, "It's Carnival Freedom, not Freedom. So there's no chance of being misidentified."

There's the Jewel of the Seas and the Norwegian Jewel. The Seabourn Legend and the Carnival Legend. The Norwegian Majesty and the Majesty of the Seas. The Seven Seas Mariner and the Mariner of the Seas.

Granted, there are some ship names out there that haven't been copied. Carnival has the Ecstasy and the Fascination. And only Holland America Line uses a dam suffix on each of its ships, a Dutch seafaring tradition.

Ship renaming is a tradition that goes back, in HAL's case, 130 years. The current Rotterdam is actually the sixth in a line of Rotterdams. There have been three Nieuw Amsterdams and two regular Amsterdams.

The Noordam, which left service last fall to go to Thomson Holidays in the U.K., will be replaced by a larger ship, which will be named the Noordam.

Recycling a popular ship name is what Princess has done with the Crown. Ditto the Pacific Princess, which now is the name of a ship Princess purchased in 2002. (It was a former Renaissance Cruises vessel. And did anyone get confused over the R1, R2, R3 and so on?).

Cunard put a numerical notation on its liners to differentiate the Queen Mary and the Queen Mary 2. On the other hand, the venerable line has had two Caronias and four Carinthias.

And the Norway was the third France, if you know what I mean.

But whats in a name, really?  Executives said it's important that the brand name sticks in the consumers consciousness.

"Cruise companies can't own names like Navigator and Voyager," said Radisson Seven Seas CEO Mark Conroy. "So you might gnash your teeth, but you can't do much about it."

"We [tagged RSSC's ships with the Seven Seas brand] so, hopefully, people would remember the company name," Conroy said.  

So here's to the unique. Like Crystal Cruises ships -- unless you cross language barriers.

In that case, there's the Crystal Symphony and MSC Cruises' Sinfonia.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected]. 

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