NATIONAL LEISURE GROUP, the Woburn,
Mass.-headquartered firm announced it will acquire MyTravel Group's
U.S.-based cruise division -- and other assets -- for $110 million.
The cruise division includes retailers CruisesOnly and
1-800-CRUISES, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., from MyTravel Group.
According to U.K.-based MyTravel, its cruise businesses represent
about 10% of worldwide cruise sales. The agreement with NLG,
finalized early Monday morning, also includes the sale of shore
excursion provider Ship 'n' Shore, and meetings company Landry
& Kling. The deal is expected to close in mid-November, and is
subject to shareholder approval, financing arrangements and U.S.
antitrust clearance. Separately, MyTravel agreed to sell two
U.S.-based tour operators, SunTrips and Vacation Express, to FS
Tours, Inc., a subsidiary of eResource Capital Group, for $16.5
MYTRAVEL said the net proceeds of the sales --
which it said was part of a move to dispose of "non-core
businesses" -- will be used for working capital. "In the
medium-term, the Group's earnings and cash flows will remain
subject to significant risk through its high fixed cost structure
and high levels of indebtedness," MyTravel said Monday. Its U.S.
cruise business made an operating profit of $11.8 million during
the year ending in September 2002; that same year, the company as a
whole recorded about a $95 million loss.
THE INVESTIGATION is just getting underway into
a fire on the Westerdam, which is under construction at
Fincantieri's shipyard in Marghera, Italy, but financial analysts
said the blaze will likely not impact the ship's April delivery.
The ship is ahead of construction schedule, and, if necessary, the
yard will compensate parent company Carnival Corp. each day ship
delivery is delayed. The Westerdam is promised to the Holland
America Line brand.
DISNEY CRUISE LINE named Karl Holz president.
He most recently served as senior vice president of Walt Disney
World Operations. Holz replaces Matt Ouimet, who was promoted to
president of the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, Calif.
LONG LIVE THE QUEENS: Queen Elizabeth II will
serve as the godmother to Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 and will
christen the ship during festivities in Southampton, England, Jan.
ABOUT 5% OF PASSENGERS aboard Carnival Cruise
Lines' Holiday reported gastrointestinal symptoms consistent with
the Norwalk virus. The ship returned to New Orleans Oct. 16 after
97 guests and 53 crew came down with the symptoms (diarrhea,
vomiting and fever); following an intense disinfecting scrubdown,
the vessel departed the same evening on schedule.
STARTING NOV. 1, Royal Caribbean International
and Celebrity Cruises guests who book within 21 days of sailing
will pay a $35 "rush fee" if they want their tickets delivered in
the traditional paper format. EDocs, i.e. documents delivered via
e-mail, are now the norm for passengers reserving a cruise within
three weeks of the sail date, Royal Caribbean said. Passengers
booking outside of 21 days can request their documents in an eDocs
format and have info e-mailed to them. Luggage tags, meanwhile, are
picked up pierside. A Royal Caribbean spokeswoman said eDocs
"simply save time, manpower and money."