CALLING IT "the newest gem" in the Royal Caribbean
Int'l fleet, CEO Richard Fain introduced the line's Brilliance of
the Seas at a naming ceremony in Harwich, England. The ceremony
took place in the ship's Pacifica Theatre; a button onstage was
pushed to trigger the champagne bottle break outside. The
2,100-passenger ship -- the second in Royal Caribbean's
Radiance-class series -- began revenue service Monday and will sail
a series of 12-night northern Europe cruises from Harwich.
THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION should reject
proposals from both Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corp.
for P&O Princess Cruises, a D.C.-based antitrust watchdog group
said. The American Antitrust Institute sent a letter to the FTC
protesting both deals, saying that -- within a more narrowly
defined North American cruise market -- the combinations would
"produce market shares ... above levels that normally raise
concerns about unilateral or coordinated exercise of market power."
The conclusion was reached after a committee of AAI research
fellows studied documents provided by RCCL and Carnival. Meanwhile,
the National Consumers League also expressed opposition to both
proposals, citing a loss of "effective, vigorous competition."
THE DEFINITION of the market in which the
merger proposals are studied has emerged as a key issue in the
quest for P&O Princess: If they are studied in a broader
vacation market, as Carnival has argued, the cruise lines are not
large enough to present antitrust problems. But the AAI said the
smaller cruise market is more relevant because, among other things,
cruisers "do not consider other vacations in choosing a cruise." An
RCCL spokeswoman said the company was pleased the AAI said "the
RCCL/Princess deal would create a firm equal in size to Carnival,"
instead of a "dominant firm" via a Carnival/Princess combination --
although it was disappointed the AAI didn't more fully support the
RCCL deal. Carnival, on the other hand, questioned the report,
saying a great deal of the AAI's data came from another report,
commissioned by RCCL.
ADD WINDSTAR TO THE LIST of cruise lines
steering their ships away from St. Croix. The line altered the Wind
Surf's 2003 itinerary, replacing St. Croix port calls with calls in
Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico. The ship was to have called in St. Croix
eight times on its way between St. Thomas and Barbados. Passenger
safety was the reason for the switch -- same as the other
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES shuttered its Vacation
Store kiosk in Arlington, Texas, but soon will open one in Pembroke
Pines, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. The location was shifted to
Florida so nearby Carnival executives could study the Vacation
Store concept -- and tweak it, if necessary, said president Bob
Dickinson. Overall, he said, the Vacation Stores were doing "OK,"
but added, "They're not doing as well as we know they can be." The
other stores are in Houston, Dallas, and Chicago.
WORLD EXPLORER CRUISES will hold its 2002
Alaska prices steady for 2003, which means 10-day Alaska cruises
start from $1,525 per person and 15-day cruises start at $1,995 per
CLARIFICATION: SeaDream Yacht Club corrected
itself last week, restating its 2003 cruise fares for seven-day
Mediterranean sailings. Rates start at $4,900--not $6,900, as
initially reported by the company.