CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES' booking activity from Oct.
22 to 28 rose 12.3% vs. the same one-week period a year ago, said
Bob Dickinson, president. The booking increase also exceeds
Carnival's capacity growth since Oct. 2000. "It appears consumers
are regaining confidence and concluding that the deals out there
right now are too good to pass up," Dickinson said. Occupancy on
Carnival's 15 ships averaged 105.7% (cruise operators define 100%
occupancy as all lower berths filled) for voyages departing from
Oct. 19 to Oct. 24. Dickinson said fleetwide occupancy levels were
"still somewhat below normal," but "we are operating at solid
NORTHRUP GRUMMAN'S Mississippi-based Ingalls
shipyard suspended work on Project America, a program to build two
1,900-passenger ships for cruise operator American Classic Voyages
(AMCV). Northrup stopped construction Oct. 26 in the wake of AMCV's
Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing Oct. 19. The project was funded in
part through government loan guarantees, but that financing was
pulled after the bankruptcy filing. "Unfortunately, to date the
U.S. Maritime Administration has decided not to continue the
guaranteed funding necessary for the construction of the ships,"
said Phil Dur, corporate vice president. The first ship, originally
slated to debut in 2004, is "40% complete," according to the
MEANWHILE, adventure-cruise specialist Star
Clippers is offering passengers booked on canceled cruises of
American Classic Voyages a 33% discount off new bookings on the
ships Star Clipper and Star Flyer. Bookings must be made by Dec.
31; the discount applies to sailings departing from November
through March 2002.
SILVERSEA CRUISES is consulting with insurance
providers to formulate a program to ease financial penalties for
passengers who cancel cruises, said Bill Leiber, senior vice
president of sales and marketing. Sailing aboard Silversea Cruises'
382-passenger Silver Whisper, Leiber told travel agents and media
that consumers are less concerned with security issues than with
losing their deposits if they opt to cancel their cruise close to
sailing. Leiber said details of the program would be announced in
the coming weeks.
CRUISE INDUSTRY OFFICIALS are hitting the road
over the next two weeks in a campaign to assure consumers that
cruising remains a safe, affordable vacation option.
Representatives of the Cruise Line Coalition, a joint initiative
launched this year by Cruise Lines Int'l Assn. and the Int'l
Council of Cruise Lines, will concentrate on TV and radio
appearances in nearly 30 North American cities, including Atlanta,
New York, San Francisco and West Palm Beach, in a bid to boost
business. "We want to emphasize the cruise industry's commitment to
ensuring that Americans can exercise their right to travel freely
in a safe and secure environment," said Jim Godsman, president of
P&O PRINCESS CRUISES, the London-based
parent of Princess Cruises, last week reported third-quarter
pre-tax profits of $171.5 million compared with $175 million in the
period last year, a 2% decline. The company did show an after-tax
profit, mainly because the line changed several of its ships from
Liberian to British registry near the end of 2000 and benefited in
2001 from the British government's more lenient tax code for
shipping lines. Revenue for the quarter was $776 million compared
with $778.1 million in 2000. Third-quarter occupancy for the
company's North American fleet, which accounts for 75% of P&O's
business, was 99.9% compared with 101.6% year over year. Net
revenue yields were 5% below third-quarter 2000 totals.