A NEW CRUISE LINE, using former Renaissance
Cruises ships, is being launched by Frank Del Rio, former CEO of
Renaissance, and former Crystal Cruises president Joe Watters. The
new line, to be called Oceana Cruises, will offer an "upper
premium" cruise experience, according to a statement from Del Rio.
The new company has reached a deal with Cruiseinvest, the current
owner of the remaining Renaissance ships, for a long-term charter
agreement with purchase options for up to three of the Renaissance
vessels. Watters will be chairman of Oceana Cruises and head the
line's West Coast office in Los Angeles; Del Rio will be president
and CEO and be headquartered in Miami.
RADISSON SEVEN SEAS Cruises canceled its winter
South America program on the Song of Flower. The voyages affected
are those scheduled starting Nov. 3; the ship will resume service
April 21. No replacement itineraries are planned. The Song of
Flower, originally scheduled to sail in Asia, was to redeploy from
the Mediterranean to South America, but bookings just didn't
materialize, a representative of the line said. Guests booked on
the sailing get a full refund, plus a $1,000 credit; agent
commissions will be protected.
THE CRUISE INDUSTRY contributed $20 billion to
the U.S. economy last year, a $2 billion increase compared with
2000 and the industry's largest contribution ever, according to the
Int'l Council of Cruise Lines. ICCL said the industry increased its
global passenger carryings by 5%, to 8.4 million passengers. Direct
spending by the lines and their passengers increased 6%, to $11
billion. In addition, the core cruise industry was responsible for
creating 69,000 jobs in the U.S., in such fields as advertising,
retail trade, health services, construction and lodging. The
analysis was conducted by Business Research and Economic
EXPECT A NEW DELIVERY date for Princess
Cruises' Diamond Princess, which was damaged by fire at its
Japanese shipyard Oct. 1. The vessel was to be turned over to
Princess next May, but the cruise line last Thursday canceled all
of its sailings through February 2004. Princess said it would take
the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard several weeks to determine
the extent of the damage and set a revised delivery date.
Meanwhile, passengers booked to sail on the Diamond Princess in
Alaska next summer will be moved to the same cabin category on
sister-ship Star Princess, which offers a virtually identical
itinerary. Passengers booked on the ship's Mexico sailings next
autumn will receive a full refund, plus a $25 credit if they
P&O PRINCESS CRUISES updated its 2002
profit forecast, saying it expects earnings to be at the "top end
or above" analysts' predictions. The company said Princess Cruises
is 25% booked for 2003. The pace shows "remarkable resilience in
the face of the continuing economic and political
uncertainty"--with the exception, it said, of slower bookings for
the two Grand-class ships Princess has scheduled for Mediterranean
sailings next summer. Pricing is slightly below pre-Sept. 11
levels, the company said. The U.K. Takeover Panel required the
London-based company to release an updated forecast after the FTC
ruled last week that both Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean are
free to pursue their respective merger plans for P&O
PRINCESS CEO Peter Ratcliffe, meanwhile, told
analysts last Tuesday he was "clearly not in a position" yet to
recommend a deal with Carnival Corp., whether it be a dual-listed
company structure, a cash-and-shares offer or some combination
thereof. The two companies are to begin talks this week. Ratcliffe
said about half of P&O Princess shareholders would either not
be able or wouldn't want to hold U.S. stock, which is what Carnival
currently is offering. "I hasten to add that we have a contract
with Royal Caribbean that says we can generate significant value,"
ROYAL CARIBBEAN Cruises Ltd., meanwhile, said
its third-quarter earnings are expected to surpass analysts'
estimates, a result of an "improved revenue environment" and
higher-than-anticipated cost savings. Net yields will be down 1.7%
over the third-quarter 2001, and it estimated yields for 2002 will
be down about 1% to 2% over 2001.
SHIP TO SHORE
• Norwegian Cruise Line is expanding its wireless Internet access,
which currently is available on the Norwegian Sun, to the rest of
its fleet by the end of the year. Guests who bring their laptops on
the cruise (or rent one from NCL) can get a wireless network card
for their computer and then log on to the Internet in any of the
ship's lounges, meeting rooms, atriums and foyers.
• Uniworld will launch two new river cruising ships in Europe next
year. The 138-passenger River Countess and River Duchess will
premiere in March and June 2003, respectively. The River Countess
will sail Holland during tulip season, then reposition to the Black
Sea; the River Duchess will operate Danube sailings between
Budapest and Nuremberg.
• Seabourn introduced Seabourn Fast Forward, a free program that
allows travel agents to customize their own e-mail promotions that
"reflect the luxury reputation" of the line.
• The Delta Queen Steamboat Co. rolled out a multimillion-dollar
consumer and trade marketing blitz, the first phase of a 16- to
18-month advertising campaign. Delta Queen also set up a toll-free
number for travel agents -- (800) 416-0268 -- which it said would
go directly to COO Tom Carman's voice-mail.