Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: August 13, 2002

P&O PRINCESS officially said it acquired the R3 and R4, two former Renaissance ships that previously operated in Tahiti, from the French Polynesian government for a total cost of about $150 million. The R4 will be transferred to Princess Cruises and renamed the Tahitian Princess. Beginning Dec. 24, it will sail 10-day cruises year-round in Tahiti and neighboring islands. The R3 will become the Pacific Princess and sail half the year in French Polynesia under Princess Cruises and half the year in French New Caledonia under the Australian P&O Cruises brand. Itineraries for that ship, as well as airlift arrangements, are still being finalized, Princess said.

RENAISSANCE MYSTERY: No, it isn't a 15th century whodunit. It's an unknown investor or group of investors aiming to resurrect the Renaissance Cruises name. The old Renaissance Cruises, of course, is bankrupt and in the midst of liquidation proceedings in a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., court. But a new Web site at www.renaissancecruises.cc tells visitors "after a year's sabbatical, we are back in Fort Lauderdale and are putting the Renaissance Cruises family back together." The cc at the end of the URL is the designation for the Cocos Islands, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. The Renaissance name and trademarks were sold in May to a company called ATx, LLC, for $50,000; the registered agent for ATx, according to Florida State Dept. records, is Garry Johnson of the law firm Tripp Scott, based in Fort Lauderdale. And at least one travel agent said he received an e-mail about the new Renaissance with a reference to the Online Vacation Center American Express travel agency, of which former Renaissance chief Ed Rudner is president. Neither Rudner nor Johnson returned phone calls seeking comment.

WITH WHAT SHIPS? Even if the Renaissance Cruises name does attempt a comeback, it probably won't be with former Renaissance cruise ships, which, in addition to P&O's purchase of two, six others now are owned by French investors Cruiseinvest. Jim Dolphin, an advisor to Cruiseinvest through American Marine Advisors in New York, said Cruiseinvest is not currently contemplating a venture with the ships under the Renaissance name. "There are some people who loved those ships, but it obviously didn't end well," he said. "If you want to put a venture forward, you want to do well. Using the Renaissance name might not do that."

THE STATENDAM'S Aug. 11 sailing was canceled due to ongoing repairs to the ship's electrical generation system. Holland America Line said the repairs were taking longer than expected. The ship's Aug. 4 sailing was canceled after a generator malfunction disabled its propulsion system and left the vessel without power 24 miles north of Vancouver. Refunds and discounts were being offered to affected customers.

IN BRIEF:
• Agents who book a full 2003 world cruise on Crystal Cruises will receive a $1,500 bonus commission check, the line said. Crystal also will pay an extra $250 for every new stateroom booking on any of the individual legs of the voyage.
• Royal Caribbean Int'l changed its official tagline to "Get Out There," following the success of the line's multimedia campaign set to the tunes of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life." The campaign initially launched in January 2000 to reposition the brand and generate an increased demand for Royal Caribbean, as well as to dispel consumer misperceptions of cruising.

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