Travel Weekly's Cruise E-Letter: February 11, 2003

CRUISE SHOPPES, the Fort Lauderdale-based cruise consortium, is launching a private label line of vacation packages to be sold exclusively by members. The line is called Extraordinary Vacations and comes with 15% commissions for agents. The initial product offering concentrates on Norwegian Cruise Line sailings of its two newest ships, the Norwegian Dawn in the Caribbean and the Norwegian Star in Hawaii. Purchased separately, the package components would be more expensive, officials said.

P&O PRINCESS' after-tax profit for 2002 fell 45% to $208 million, as revenue rose 3% to $2.5 billion, the company said. Fourth-quarter results were depressed by the $62.5 million break-up fee paid to former merger partner Royal Caribbean. P&O Princess officials said "wave period" bookings have accelerated recently, but "the acceleration has not been at the rate normally experienced." However, executives said the company's fourth-quarter results indicate that the line's business in the UK has "bounced back to virtually the situation before 911."

THE FORMER Royal Olympic Cruises changed its company name to Royal Olympia Cruises. The change was the final part of an agreement with the International Olympic Committee dating back two years, according to executive director Arne Egeland. The name was changed to avoid confusion between the cruise line's brand and the Olympic games. Under the agreement the transition was made gradually, with ships' names being changed first to maintain continuity in brand recognition.

RESIDENSEA added a new 14-night Alaska cruise for the summer. The itinerary will include Kodiak, Homer, Anchorage, Juneau, the Inside Passage, Canada's coast provinces, Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Land programs are offered in conjunction with Abercrombie & Kent. Special fares begin at $500 per unit per night. Voyages are scheduled from July 7 through Aug. 23.

IN OTHER RESIDENSEA developments, the line restructured its debt financing. The new financing includes an amortizing $91 million facility due in 2008 and an increased $50 million revolving facility due in 2005.

THE CRYSTAL SERENITY'S Silk Road Restaurant will feature the renowned cuisine of master chef Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa beginning in July. The chef, whose menu blends classic Japanese fare with European and Peruvian influences, already created the menu for the luxury liner's Sushi Bar.

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