CARNIVAL CORP. and P&O PRINCESS -- the latter
now is known as Carnival plc -- closed their merger transaction
Thursday, bringing to an end the 16-month saga that began with a
merger agreement between P&O Princess and Royal Caribbean
Cruises and ended with a marriage to Carnival -- the biggest cruise
line combination in history. Micky Arison is CEO and chairman of
the combined group, and former P&O Princess CEO Peter Ratcliffe
became an executive director. Carnival Corp. remains the world's
largest cruise conglomerate, with 13 lines, 66 ships and about
100,000 berths. The two companies had a combined net income last
year of $1.33 billion.
TWO CRUISES on Regal Cruises' Regal Empress
were canceled after Motor-Services Hugo Stamp, an engine
maintenance company, placed a lien against the ship due to what
Regal said was a dispute over an invoice. The ship is currently
tied up in Port Manatee, Fla. The canceled cruises were scheduled
to depart April 18 and 21.
OCEANIA CRUISES postponed the delivery and
inaugural date of its second ship, the Insignia, by six months. The
company said the decision was based on the "severe and continuing
effects of the Iraqi War and its impact on American travel to
Europe." The Insignia will now debut April 10, 2004; the schedule
for Oceania's first ship, the Regatta, is unaffected. The line said
it was contacting agents with passengers booked on the affected
CRYSTAL may have the answer for clients who
want to book close and stay close. After it cut short the remainder
of its Asia program due to SARS-related cancellations, the line
hastily arranged a May 1 and a May 10 cruise to Mexico from Los
Angeles. Rates are going for less than $130 per day. The Harmony
will sail from Los Angeles to Vancouver on May 17 to start its
MEANWHILE, STAR CRUISES relocated two of its
ships to Australia from homeports in Singapore and Hong Kong after
two crewmembers who were hospitalized for possible SARS infections
last week were discharged; a company statement said the two had
COSTA CRUISES said a fire on the Costa Fortuna,
which is under construction, will not delay the work schedule or
the vessel's delivery. The fire broke out on the aft section of
deck 8, which will house passenger cabins. The fire was
extinguished after three-and-a-half hours and there were no serious
injuries. The cause of the fire was under investigation. The
2,720-passenger ship -- Costa's largest -- is under construction at
the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy, and is scheduled for a
November delivery, Costa said.
THE CARNIVAL CONQUEST, Carnival Cruise Lines'
largest vessel, will remain in Gulfport, Miss., through the week of
June 1. The ship was pulled from its homeport in New Orleans in
March after the Mississippi River rose too high for the ship to
safely pass underneath a low-hanging power line owned by Entergy
Corp. Passengers with air booked to New Orleans will be transferred
to the ship by coach. The ship will have spent 12 weeks in Gulfport
waiting out the high waters before it returns to the Crescent
NEWS IN BRIEF
• A man who fell overboard the Carnival Celebration during a
five-day cruise from Galveston, Texas, was rescued by a cargo ship
after keeping afloat in the Gulf of Mexico for several hours. The
man was last seen on board April 13 in the "early morning hours"
and was plucked from the water around 5:30 p.m., a Carnival
spokeswoman said. "My understanding is the situation was deemed
accidental," she added.
• Judge Patrick McGann of Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago
reportedly ordered Pritzker family members (of Hyatt Corp. fame) to
give him details of their agreement to break up their holdings,
which include the hotel chain, a stake in Royal Caribbean Cruises
Ltd., real estate and other businesses. With a hearing set for May
19, the judge wants to review the break-up plan.
• Carnival touted a new agent training video, "Power Selling,"
which features the line's president, Bob Dickinson. In the
hour-long session, taped on board the Carnival Legend, Dickinson is
said to use a "direct, no-nonsense" approach in imparting tips on
qualifying prospects, overcoming objections and up-selling.