P&O PRINCESS last week officially terminated
its plans for a joint venture with Royal Caribbean Cruises to
create a southern Europe-based cruise line. The dashed plans bring
P&O Princess one step closer to a merger with cruise giant
Carnival Corp. That merger would join the two companies in a
complex dual-listed company structure. The P&O Princess Cruises
board of directors has until Jan. 10 to officially recommend the
Carnival deal to shareholders.
THE FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION extended its
deadline for comments on a proposal to eliminate the $15 million
ceiling on cruise line performance coverage. The new deadline is
April 8. The FMC is concerned that the $15 million bond limit may
not be adequate in light of the number and size of today's mega
ships. The bond requirement is designed to protect passenger
deposits in the event of nonperformance. Several cruise lines and
ports, the Travel Industry Association of America and U.S. Reps.
Don Young (R-Alaska) and James Oberstar (D-Minn.) sought the
extension, allowing the industry time to "adequately evaluate" the
proposed rule, according to a statement from the FMC.
SEADREAM YACHT CLUB altered its 2003
itineraries and added more sailings to the end of its summer
Mediterranean program. The SeaDream II will extend its
Mediterranean season with a series of roundtrip Monte Carlo
sailings and a Malaga, Spain, roundtrip before the ship heads to
St. Thomas, now on Dec. 18. "Yields in the Caribbean are decidedly
poorer than in Europe," said CEO Larry Pimentel. The SeaDream I,
meanwhile, will leave Palm Beach for St. Thomas as scheduled, but
will reposition to Bridgetown, Barbados, March 23 for a series of
sailings in the West Indies. Bookings will open up for both ships'
transatlantic crossings to Europe in April; they originally were
slated to make the crossing without passengers.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: The Cruise Lines
International Association predicted that 2003 will be a record year
in the numbers of new ships introduced and in passenger sailings.
CLIA expects about 14 new ships will launch this year. Meanwhile,
the association expects 8 million passengers will cruise in 2003,
which will top the estimated 7.4 million in 2002. New ships are
expected to take to the waterways with Bora Bora Cruises, Carnival
Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland
America Line, MSC Italian Cruises, Norwegian Coastal Voyage,
Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean and Swan
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE said a little less than
5% of the 2,200 passengers aboard the Norway reported to the ship's
infirmary with symptoms of gastroenteritis on the cruise ending
Jan. 5. NCL said it notified the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention regarding the illnesses. The line then offered
passengers embarking on the next cruise a future cruise credit if
they wished to cancel; a spokeswoman said none of the scheduled
passengers took that option.
JOIN THE CLUB: A new cruise line, Ocean Club
Cruises, is scheduled to begin two- and three-day Bahamas sailings
from Port Canaveral, Fla., in late March. Ocean Club will use a
mid-size ship for voyages to Grand Bahama Island and Key West, Fla.
The ship, formerly known as the Magic 1, is being refurbished in
Greece before sailing to Florida. A new name has yet to be
KOSHER TO US: Crystal Cruises will offer kosher
meals for passengers throughout 2003. The kosher menu will offer
several dozen choices, including salmon, beef Wellington and
roasted turkey, all prepared with properly sanitized and stored
utensils. During several Jewish holidays, rabbis on the ship will
supervise the food preparation and bless the food.