LOVE-BOAT TRIANGLE: P&O Princess rejected an
offer to meet with Carnival Corp. to discuss Carnival's hostile
takeover bid, saying Carnival has not made a proposal it believes
is "superior financially and deliverable" to the one made by Royal
Caribbean Cruises. P&O had said it would consider an improved
offer from Carnival through Friday. Carnival, meanwhile, said it
cannot make another proposal to P&O shareholders until it meets
with P&O to discuss "poison pill arrangements" in the Royal
Caribbean agreement; Carnival also is asking P&O shareholders
to postpone its Feb. 14 vote on the Royal Caribbean deal.
REPORTS THAT Carnival Cruise Lines is moving
employees to a new location in Broward County, Fla., and hiring
personnel to handle direct sales are "overblown," a Carnival
spokesman said. The original idea was to lease extra space for a
Carnival call center; but after Sept. 11, plans were shelved -- for
now -- and Carnival found 20,000 square feet of space for current
employees in a building across the street from its Miami
headquarters. Carnival enacted a hiring freeze last year and has no
plans to hire "personal vacation planners," the name Carnival gives
to consumer sales agents who handle calls and Internet inquiries,
said the spokesman.
WINDSTAR CRUISES submitted a formal application
with French Polynesia to allow the Wind Song to once again ply
Tahitian waters. Windstar vp-sales and marketing Tom Russell said
he "feels very strongly" that government officials would approve
the application, but he stressed that it had not yet been done. If
Windstar gets the green light, the Wind Song would reposition from
New Zealand to Papeete, Tahiti, for a series of seven-night
cruises. Wind Song cruised Tahiti for 10 years; after its agreement
with the French Polynesian government expired in 1997, the ship was
moved to southeast Asia.
SECURITY MEASURES at U.S. cruise terminals
remain at the highest level possible, but additional funds will be
needed to cover additional Congressional security mandates,
according to Ted Thompson, executive vice president of the
International Council of Cruise Lines. "All the additional security
measures that we have put in place are consuming resources and
money at a rapid pace," Thompson told the Senate Surface
Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee during a field
hearing on seaport and ship passenger security. Thompson said new
technology that can detect plastic weapons and biological and
chemical agents must be developed to aid in port and passenger
security. And he said that the Coast Guard does not have the
resources to adequately handle waterside security patrols.
CRUISING'S "WAVE PERIOD" is gearing up.
Norwegian Cruise Line launched its annual "Sale of all Sails"
promotion with a two-category upgrade on all 2002 sailings and, on
select cruises, 50% discounts, four-category upgrades and $50
shipboard credits per stateroom. The sale applies to cruises booked
through March 1.
MEANWHILE, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is
offering a free cabin (minus port and handling charges) to travel
agents who book one stateroom on any Panama Canal or Caribbean
cruise on Radisson Diamond from Jan. 27 through April 9. The agent
cabin is cruise-only, cannot be resold, and must be on the same
sailing as the client's. The offer is good on nine Diamond cruises.
For more information, call (800) 477-7500.
CELEBRITY CRUISES upgraded its Web site, www.celebritycruises.com, to include enhanced booking
capabilities, bigger images, special promotions and destination
information. Celebrity says the site now is more functional, easier
to use, and portrays a "warmer, more inviting look and feel."