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Recent News Article 2007 June-Decenber

Discovery owner All Leisure Group plans IPO in London
All Leisure Group, the destinational cruise operator that owns the 21,000 gross ton Discovery, plans to float on Londonís Alternative Investment Market (AIM) with an expected market capitalisation of around £80 million, according a report on  The firm, established in 1997, said it plans to raise approximately £30 million before costs from a share placing, of which £10 million will be new money. ìAll Leisure is an established specialist cruise provider, with an excellent track record,î said chairman Roger Allard. ìOur decision to seek a listing on AIM is to enable us to pursue more vigorously the strategy of expanding our quality cruise offering in what is a fast growing market.î  The group, whose main brands include specialist cruise operator 'Voyages of Discovery' and Nile cruises business 'Discover Egypt', owns the cruise ship  Discovery, formerly Island Princess of Princess Cruises,  and will be leasing the former Minerva of 12,500 gross tons  from November for six-and-a-half-years.

Kaefer acquires G+H Schiffausbau
Kaefer, the Bremen based insulation specialist, has agreed to acquire G+H Schiffausbau GmbH, another German company involved in the same business. Both companies have offered same kind of portfolio of services on the German market for several years. Kaefer has also expanded abroad and the acquisition of G+H Schiffsbau will help the company to strengthen its core business, Kaefer said in a statement.

NCL announces the sale of Marco Polo
NCL Corporation today announced the sale of Marco Polo, from its Orient Lines brand effective March 23, 2008. Marco Polo is presently owned by Star Cruises along with two other mid-sized vessels also operated on charter by NCL, Norwegian Dream and Norwegian Majesty. ”Marco Polo has an extremely loyal following and the Orient Lines brand is unique in what it offers,” said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. ”It has been an important part of our business during the transition from the old NCL to the new NCL with the youngest fleet in the industry by the end of this year. ”We have said for the past two years that all of our older ships would progressively leave the fleet as our new, purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships arrived. The timing of Marco Polo's departure always revolved around finding a good next owner, and I am pleased to say we have found one. This unique ship will, from the summer of 2008, have a
new lease of life serving a new market under an established brand. The new owner will be announcing the acquisition very soon.”

Tui and First Choice get conditional approval for merger from Brussels
Tui, which owns Thomson Holidays, has been given conditional clearance by the European Commission to merge its tourism division with First Choice Holidays in the UK, the BBC reports. The merged company will have to sell Tui's Irish business, Budget Travel. The Commission ruled that the combination with First Choice's Falcon/JWT business would give the group too much of the Irish market.
The new firm, Tui Travel, will be listed and headquartered in London and have 27 million customers and £12 billion in annual sales. TUI, whose Hapag Lloyd cruise and container shipping operations will not be merged in Tui Travel, will be its biggest shareholder. Thomson operates five cruise ships on the British market undfer Thomson Cruises brand and First Choice is 50% owner of Island Cruises that has two ships which also serve the UK market.

Princess Cruise names its next megaship as Ruby Princess, announces deployment
Princess Cruises will add another 113,000 gross ton and 3,080-passenger ship to its fleet in November 2008, with the debut of Ruby Princess. The line has unveiled the ship's name along with its inaugural deployment - a season of 7-night Western Caribbean sailings from Fort Lauderdale. Ruby Princess is a sister to the Emerald Princess and Crown Princess, and will make its maiden sailing on November 15, 2008. Its Caribbean program will feature calls at Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and the line's private beach call at Princess Cays in the Bahamas. The ship's first season will run through April 2009. The ship is currently under construction in Fincantieri Monfalcony shipyard.

Cruise lines need more discipline in marketing to differentiate brands - RCCLís Hooper
Cruise lines need to focus on a single key issue that is best with their brand in their marketing so that customers can differentiate one brand from another, something they can do with ketchup but not with $800 million cruise liner assets, says to Susan Hooper, svp international at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), the worldís second largest cruise shipping group. ìIf you can differentiate brands of cola and ketchup, itís embarrassing if we canít get our customers to differentiate between $800 million assets,î she said. ìEveryone should find their key issue, to be single minded in their communication. If you look at Volvo, Audi and Mercedes, they do not say that we have a petrol tank in our car. You should recognise what makes people like your brand and talk about that.î In the cruise industry, lines order ships first and then start to think how to fill them rather than create the demand first, which would allow them to obtain higher prices for their product.  The industry needs more discipline in marketing, a simple concept that is a challenge to implement, she said in an interview with Cruise Business.

Estonian repairer BLRT buys Turku Repair Yard in Finland
BLRT Grupp, the EStonian ship repair company, has agreed to buy Turku Repair Yard Ltd. in Finland, which owns the largest dry dock in the Baltic Sea region. The company was founded in 1989 and is sold by private owners, while the dry dock is 265 m long and 70 m wide. The BLRT group's existing ship repair subsidiaries in Tallinn and Klaipeda repair 165 and 130 vessels per year respectively. The Turku Repair Yard repairs approximately 80 - 100 ships annually and possesses a competitive edge: the high quality of its work coupled with short deadlines and the logistically suitable location. The main clients include Neste, Tallink, Silja and Viking Lines and the ice-breakers owned by the Finnish state. According to Fjodor Berman, Chairman of the Board of the BLRT Group, the purchase of the Finnish enterprise will elevate the BLRT Group among the elite of ship-repairing companies worldwide. The acquisition of the Turku Repair Yard will also facilitate increased efficiency in a logistical context. ìI believe that Finlandís ship repair specialists are one of the best in the world. In addition to extending the range of physical possibilities for repairing ships, we will also raise the level of our know-how and quality. The range of services will increase as well.î Speaking about development perspectives, Berman said that the next step will be that of developing the ship repair service, with a group of specialists travelling to a vessel in need of repairs at any location worldwide and offering services on the go, without directing the vessel into a repair dock. This will save time and money. In August 2001 the BLRT Group purchased the Vakaru Laivu Remontas company in Lithuania. By today the BLRT Group has invested around one billion kroons in the enterprise and it is operating at a profit thanks to restructuring the company and diversifying its products and services. The BLRT Groupís main areas of activity are: shipbuilding, ship repairs, manufacture of metal structures, sale of metals, port and stevedore services, mechanical engineering, old metal processing and car transport services. The BLRT Group consists of 64 subsidiaries in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Finland and Russia. The BLRT Group is based on Estonian capital and has created around 2000 jobs locally. The subsidiaries in other countries also have around 1600 employees

Court rules in favour of NCL in stormy passage case
At the conclusion of a three-week trial and after only two and half hours of deliberation, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) in a lawsuit stemming from the April 10, 2005 voyage of Norwegian Dawn. The vessel had encountered heavy weather on its return to New York. None of the guests or crew members suffered serious injuries as a result, NCL said in a statement. The verdict follows favorable findings by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), both of which completely exonerated NCL and its Captain, Niklas Peterstam, of any wrongdoing.  Although the rough weather made the voyage unpleasant, ”the safety and integrity of the ship was in no way compromised,” the NTSB concluded.  NCL acted appropriately throughout, during what the NTSB determined was an ìunavoidable encounter with severe weather and heavy seas.””We are pleased with the jury's thoughtful and reasoned decision,î said Colin Veitch, president and CEO of NCL Corporation. ìWe have always maintained that this lawsuit existed only in the minds of the plaintiffs' lawyers and this verdict confirms our belief.”

Ventura launched at Monfalcone
Ventura, the 114,000 gros ton newbuilding of P&O Cruises, was launched at the Fincantieriís shipyard in  Monfalcone.  Present at the ceremony were: David Dingle, Managing Director of P&O Cruises and Carnival UK, and Enrico Buschi, General Director of Fincantierís merchant ships business unit. Godmother to the Ventura was Moira Lumsden, a travel agent for the tour operator Thomas Cook, who was chosen by the ship owner because she sold the largest number of P&O Cruise holidays. The 290 metre-long Ventura shares the record with three other ships built for Princess Cruises (also Carnival Group) between 2004 and 2007 as the largest cruise ship built to date by Fincantieri. The ship has a passenger capacity of  3,592, accommodated in 2,180 cabins. The launch of the Ventura marks further development and strengthening of Fincantieriís relationship with P&O Cruises, a prestige brand dating back 170 years catering for discriminating customers from the high profile, dynamic British market, which in recent years has been marked by interesting growth margins

Yrjˆ Julin appointed President and CEO of Aker Yards
Yrjˆ Julin (49) has been appointed President & CEO of Aker Yards. He succeeds Karl Erik Kjelstad who has served as Aker Yards CEO since January 2003. Kjelstad will leave Aker Yards to join the executive management team of Aker ASA. Yrjˆ Julin has been with Aker Yards since 2002, first as President of Aker Finnyards and since 2004 as President of Aker Yards Cruise & Ferries Business Area. From the Aker Yards head quarters in Oslo, Norway, Julin will lead Aker Yards' 20.000 employee strong organisation, with 18 shipyards in eight countries. Over the next few weeks, Julin will visit many of Aker Yards locations to meet employees; he will also meet customers, media and other stakeholders. ”Under Karl Erik Kjelstad's dynamic leadership, Aker Yards has become renowned for its bold combination of strategic and operational development. The employees of Aker Yards have taken the company from an annual revenue base of NOK 12 billion to a revenue base of NOK 35 billion. I feel extremely proud and honoured to be asked to lead Aker Yards into the future,” says Yrjˆ Julin .”Yrjˆ Julin has a solid industry track record, and the Board of Directors is very pleased that he has accepted the position as Aker Yards new CEO,” said Svein Sivertsen Chairman of Aker Yards Board of Directors. ”Over the past years, Aker Yards' shareholders have enjoyed a sustained period of positive shareholder value, and we are confident that Yrjˆ Julin will continue to grow shareholder value and build an even stronger Aker Yards going forward,” Svein Sivertsen added. Julin said his vision for Aker Yards is to continue building its global leading position in both the offshore & specialized vessel and cruise vessel market and to continue the repositioning of the merchant vessel business to be a niche player for specialized merchant vessels. ”In my opinion, Aker Yards' slogan ”preferred for innovation” - pinpoints exactly what it takes to succeed in today's marketplace. Our employees are known for their passion for ships and dedication to deliver our newbuilding projects according to our promises. I look forward to developing an even stronger Aker Yards together with the employees,” comments Julin.

Another Signature-class newbuilding for Holland America
Carnival Corporation & plc has exercised its option for a new 86,000-ton vessel for its Holland America Line brand. The new 2,100-passenger ship will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri at its Marghera shipyard at an estimated all-in cost of EUR 425 million. Delivery is scheduled for fall 2010. Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO, said, ”Holland America Line is performing very well and its growth is consistent with our business strategy for the premium segment of our business which seeks to capitalize on the increasing affluence of the baby boomer generation. The exercise of this option is another opportunity to strengthen Holland Americas position as the leading premium cruise brand in the world.” Stein Kruse, Holland America Lines President and CEO, noted that the new vessel will be a sister to the Eurodam which is already under construction at Fincantieri and due to debut in summer of 2008. ”Eurodams size has been increased slightly since originally announced and both ships will have a lower-bed capacity of 2,100. These two elegant vessels will embody the many on-board amenities that Holland America Line first introduced to cruising as part of our very successful Signature of Excellence initiative. Those amenities have uniquely positioned the Holland America vacation experience while building upon our distinction as a leader in premium cruising,” Kruse said. He added that ”the addition of these two ships represent a 23% increase in our capacity over the 2008 through 2010 time period and will allow us to continue our premium leadership position and achieve a greater share of the growing cruise market,” he said.

Sea Dream enjoys strong first quarter
Sea Dream Yacht Club, the operator of two small top end of the range vessels, has enjoyed a strong start for 2007, with yields, occupancy rate and revenue markedly higher than in the beginning of last year. In the first quarter of 2007 revenue increased by 19% over the same period in 2006 while yield from that revenue was up 24%. The privately owned company did nort disclose any dollar figures. In the first quarter of 2007 utilization of staterooms was 101% compared to 97%over the same period in 2006. This is based on two guests per stateroom. Year end utilization is expected to be between 99 and 100% full based on current booking trends.In the first quarter of 2007 there were nine voyages fully chartered for business meetings or by private families compared to seven in the same period in 2006. Family charters were at an all-time high with five weeks of the first quarter's inventory utilized for this purpose, the Florida based company said in a statement.

Carnival forecast to report slight rise in interims on 19 June
Carnival Corp & PLC will report second quarter financial results on 19 June. The company has scheduled a conference call for analysts on that day at 10 a.m. EDT/3 p.m. BST. Analystsí average forecast for the second quarter earnings per share stands at $0.47, slightly higher than the $0.46 the group reported in the same period last year. The estimates for the figure due next week range from $0.44 to $0.48.

Juha Heikinheimo appointed President of Aker Yards Cruise & Ferries
Juha Heikinheimo (50) has been appointed as President of Aker Yards' business area Cruise & Ferries and President of Aker Yards Oy in Finland. He will also be a part of the executive management team in Aker Yards. He will be based in Helsinki. Heikinheimo takes over from and reports to Yrjˆ Julin, who was earlier this week appointed President and CEO of Aker Yards ASA. Aker Yards, Cruise & Ferries' orderbook today includes contracts worth approximately EUR 7.4 billion. ”Juha Heikinheimo has crucially contributed to the signing of those contracts, and I believe he will successfully contribute also to the building of the vessels, supported by our experienced personnel”, says Yrjˆ Julin. The Deputy President for the Cruise & Ferries business area is Bo-Erik Blomqvist, who reports to Heikinheimo and is based in Saint Nazaire, France.

Carnival to base its post-Panamax Splendor to Mexican Riviera
Carnival Cruise Lines' 3,006-passenger and 112,000 gross ton Carnival Splendor - the largest ”Fun Ship” ever constructed - will launch year-round 7-night Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, California, beginning in March 2009, following its inaugural schedule of European and Caribbean voyages. The Carnival Splendor will further bolster the line's dominant position as cruise industry leader in Southern California, which is currently home to four Carnival ships. With the arrival of Carnival Splendor, the line expects to carry approximately 650,000 guests annually on these highly popular West Coast cruises ñ almost twice the number of any other cruise line. Carnival is the only cruise line to feature three ships offering year-round cruises from Southern California ñ two from Long Beach and one from San Diego ñ as well as a fourth ship sailing seasonally from San Diego. In addition, Carnival offers the widest available choice of cruise lengths ñ ranging from 3 to 8 nights ñ with visits to ports in Baja Mexico and the Mexican Riviera. Last week, Royal Caribbean International announced its plans to re-deploy 137,000 gross ton Mariner of the Seas to the U.S. West Coast, beginning in spring 2009.

First Choice six month pre tax loss deepens to £82.5 million
First Choice Holidays, the UK tour operator which has agreed to merge with the tour operating business of TUI, in Germany, reported loss before tax of £82.5 million for the six months ended 30 April, 8% more than last year, on revenue up almost 6% to £1.02 billion. It blamed the increased losses on higher net financing expenses due to interest on acquisitions in the first half, the full period impact on interest expense of acquisitions in 2006 and higher borrowing costs, according to a report on Trading in the six weeks since the trading update on 1 May has continued to be in line with expectations, with Mainstream Holidays performing as expected in what remains a challenging market. Revenues are now cumulatively up 3% on flat volumes, the report said. First Choice is to merge with the tour operating division of TUI, the German travel and shipping firm, to form TUI Travel, a company headquartered and listed in the UK, while TUI will retain a 51% stake. First Choice owns 50 % of Island Cruises, which operates two cruise ships on the UK market.

Most-traveled cruise passenger christens Royal Princess in Portofino
Princess Cruises' new Royal Princess was christened yesterday in the harbor of Portofino by the most-traveled cruise passenger, Lorraine Arzt, who has in total spent more than 11 years sailing aboard Princess ships. With the words, ”I name this ship Royal Princess, may God bless her and all who sail in her,” Arzt released the lever which broke the champagne bottle over the ship, and became one of the select women to be honored with the title of ship godmother. Having spent more than 4,100 days at sea, Arzt is undoubtedly the most traveled passenger in the entire cruise industry.  At the ceremony which celebrated her loyalty to Princess, she was feted by Princess executives (Carnival Corp Chairman & CEO Micky Arison, Princess Cruises President Alan Buckelew) and the passengers and crew of Royal Princess, set to the backdrop of local Italian musicians and a traditional blessing by the Father of the local parish. Last month when the ship entered service Arzt, who spends approximately 10 months cruising each year, moved onto her ”home away from home,” a suite aboard Royal Princess.  She plans to travel exclusively on the intimate 710-passenger vessel, when not at her shoreside residence in Beverly Hills.

Tallink Silja dismisses two senior executives
Tallink Silja, the Finnish cruise ferry unit in the Estonian ferry and hotels group Tallink, dismissed on Friday Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Pekka Helin plus Tuomas Nylund, head of corporate communications, the Kauppalehti business daily reports. Tallink Silja Managing Director Keijo Mehtonen declined to comment on the dismissals, but he said ìfurther changes will certainly come in the future too,î the report said.

Cunard sells QE2 to Dubai World in $100 million deal; last voyage November 2008
Cunard Line has announced the sale of QE2 to Dubai World, in a $100 million deal which will turn the iconic liner into a first-class tourism destination at The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. QE2 will be delivered to Dubai World in November 2008, where she will cease her role as an ocean-going passenger vessel and be refurbished and adapted for her new home. From 2009, the vessel will be berthed at a specially-constructed pier to create a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island. The ship, which was launched by Her Majesty The Queen in September 1967, 40 years ago this year, is the longest-serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history, and was their longest-serving flagship. Since she came into service in 1969, she has undertaken 25 world cruises, has crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times and has carried more than 2.5 million passengers. QE2 has been purchased by Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. Nakheel, developer of The Palm Jumeirah, is also a Dubai World company. Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard, said: ”We are delighted that when her legendary career as an ocean liner ends there will continue to be a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history.” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Dubai World, said: ”QE2 is without a doubt one of the wonders of the maritime world, and is easily the most famous serving liner in the world today. I am delighted we will be able to create a home for her on the newest wonder of the world, The Palm Jumeirah.”  Istithmar said its refurbishment programme will aim to recreate QE2's original interior dÈcor and fittings. QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will also include a museum celebrating the rich history of the ship.

Marco Polo to join Transocean fleet next year
Marco Polo, the 22,000 gross ton cruise liner sold by the Star Cruises group, will jon the fleet of Transocean Tours next year. The German company that currently has three other ships, has taken the 1965 built ship that was extensively rebuilt before introduction by Orient Lines in 1992 on long term charter. The new owner has not been disclosed. Marco Polo will replace Arielle, another chartered vessel of roughly the same size.

Fred Olsen brings Google Earth to site to allow viewing long cruises
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has become the first cruise line to incorporate Google Earth into its website, allowing visitors to the site to view selected long voyages via this global mapping tool. Cheeze 2.0, part of Cheeze Ltd,  built and delivered the project which currently stands as one of the most sophisticated and content-rich Google Earth solutions available within the travel sector. Google Earth uses satellite imagery to three-dimensionally map the globe and provides a web search function, allowing users to search for businesses, areas of interest or get directions to their desired location.  Fred. Olsen has incorporated this tool into its website to offer customers the possibility of experiencing a cruise long before they set foot on board ship.  Simple to use, this revolutionary facility allows website visitors to track the course of a cruise across the globe, zooming in on separate ports of call for aerial views, or clicking on each to access a detailed description of the port with local information, history, climate and rainfall details and much more. Shona Michell, New Media Co-ordinator for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said: ìWe are delighted to be breaking new ground with the launch of our Google earth facility. It is so easy to use and really delivers the sense that you are experiencing the cruise in advance of actually leaving home. I am convinced that it will enhance our customers' enjoyment of their cruise holidays and may well influence the decision to book in the first place.î

Seventeen Carnival Conquest passengers robbed at gunpoint in Jamaica
Seventeen passengers aboard Carnival Cruise Linesí Carnival Conquest were robbed at gunpoint during a shore excursion in Jamaica last week, Fairplay Daily News report. According to press reports, the passenger group ñincluding six children ñ was robbed on Wednesday by two men whiletouring Lethe Estate, a banana plantation. ”One of them had the gun right in my daughterís face; she was pleading for her life,” passenger Kenneth Williams reportedly told KHOU-TV upon the shipís return to Galveston yesterday. ”Carnival has suspended the sale of this particular shore excursion and is working closely with local authorities,” Carnival said in a statement to Fairplay, adding: ”The safety and security of its guests is Carnivalís number one priority.” Following last week's incident, Carnival dispatched a counsellor to the vessel as part of its CareTeam programme to assist affected guests and their families. The cruise line also said that ”most of the stolen items have been recovered and returned to guests.” According to the Jamaican press, one of the two suspects was killed in a shoot-out with police last week.

Oceania Cruises finalizes contract with Fincantieri
Oceania Cruises and Fincantieri have finalized the agreement for two new 1,260-guest mid-size cruise ships for delivery on September 30, 2010 and July 30, 2011, with an option for a third vessel to be delivered on May 30, 2012. The total value of the contract, including the option for the third ship, is $1.6 billion dollars. The ships will be constructed at Fincantieri's Sestre Ponente facility in Genoa, Italy. ”I am delighted to have finalized the contracts for these magnificent ships and I am confident that Oceania Cruises and Fincantieri will set new standards with the new Oceania Class when they debut in just a few short years,” stated Frank Del Rio, Chairman and CEO of Oceania Cruises. Now that all technical specifications have been finalized, Oceania Cruises and Fincantieri will now move forward with detailed design work for the interiors. The world-renowned architectural firm of Yran & Storbratten has been retained to design the ships' luxurious accommodations and dramatic public areas. ”Fincantieri and Oceania Cruises share a legacy of innovation and superior product delivery, and I am certain that our guests and travel agent partners will find that the new Oceania Class will elevate our upper premium experience to new heights,” stated Del Rio.

WWF urges cruise and ferry lines to stop waster water dischage into Baltic
Most cruise and ferry companies operating in the Baltic Sea have not voluntarily banned the practice of waster water dumping, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey has found. According to the survey, billions of litres of ìgrey waterî (from toilets, showers and onboard cleaning) continue to be discharged into the sea annually, contributing to large-scale toxic algal blooms and a reduction of water quality. Waste from ships also carries bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, as well as detergents and heavy metals. ìWe are dismayed that up to now so few companies seem to recognize the importance of safeguarding the Baltic Sea,î said Sampsa Vilhunen, Head of WWF-Finlandís Marine Programme.ìKnowing how sensitive the Baltic is, there is simply no excuse for allowing the continued untreated discharge of waste water directly into the sea.îA recent WWF campaign has urged passenger and ferry companies operating in the Baltic Sea to voluntarily dispose all their waste water at onshore facilities or to treat them properly on board. The global conservation organization also urges shipping companies to invest in technical systems which could efficiently remove nutrients from grey water onboard, and to use phosphate-free detergents aboard ships, which would dramatically reduce the amount of phosphorus in their waste waters ó a major contributor of algae blooms. ìEleven out of 50 companies that we approached have heeded the call and pledged to stop all disposal of untreated waste water at sea,î Vilhunen added.ï The companies that have committed to stop discharging untreated wastewater in the Baltic Sea by the end of 2007 are: Birka Line (Finland); Hurtigruten (Germany); Lindaliini (Estonia); Molslinien (Denmark); Nordic Jetline Finland (Finland); Peter Deilmann Reederei (Germany); Rederi AB Gotland (Sweden); Seawind Line (Finland); Silja Line (Finland); Tallink (Estonia); and Viking Line  (Finland).

Scandlines privatised in Ä1.56 billion deal
Scandlines, the German-Danish ferry company has been privatised in a deal worth Ä1.56 billion. The Danish transport ministry and the German state owned railway company Deutsche Bahn both held 50% stakes in the company that was formed in 1998. The buyers are Allianz Capital Partners and 3i, which are a German and a British investment company respectively, plus Deutsche Seereederei, a German shipping company. Scandlines has a fleet of 24 ferries that operate on 13 routes. Last year they carried some 20 million passengers and 4.2 million cars. Its pre tax profit rose by 47% year-on to Ä103.1 million in 2006.

Carnival earnings marginally exceed forecast, European brands shine, Caribbean suffered downward price pressure
Carnival Corporation & PLC reported net income for its second quarter ended May 31, 2007 of $390 million, or $0.48 diluted EPS, compared to net income for the second quarter of 2006 of $380 million, or $0.46 diluted EPS. The average forecast of analysts was $0.47 per share.Revenues for the second quarter 2007 increased to $2.90 billion from $2.66 billion in the second quarter of 2006. Net income for the six months ended May 31, 2007, was $673 million, or $0.83 diluted EPS, on revenues of $5.59 billion, compared to net income of $631 million, or $0.77 diluted EPS, on revenues of $5.13 billion for the same period in 2006.Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said that second quarter results came in largely in line with expectations. ”Revenues for our North American and European cruise brands were both in line with our expectations. The Caribbean, which still had a relatively high percentage of our capacity during the second quarter, continued to experience price pressure. However, increases in revenue yields from our European brands together with the strengthening Euro and Sterling produced significant revenue yield growth outside of North America,” Arison said. ”The decision to expand our European cruise business is working, with the strength of our European brands offsetting some cyclical weakness in the contemporary segment of North America,” Arison noted.

Carnival says Europe and Alaska buoy American brands, pricing stabilises in Caribbean second half
In the second half of the year, Carnival Corp & PLC has more deployments in Europe and less capacity devoted to the Caribbean. ”Our North American brands are enjoying strong European and Alaskan programs and our European brands are performing well against strong comparisons last year,” Carnival Corp & PLC chairman Micky Arison said. He also noted that pricing for Caribbean sailings in the second half of 2007 appears to have stabilized, which he attributed to consumer recognition of the tremendous value proposition of these cruise vacations. Since the beginning of the year, booking volumes for Carnival Cruise Lines, which has the vast majority of its sailings in the Caribbean, are up approximately 18 percent year over year. This compares to a 5.5% capacity increase for the full year, Carnival said in a statement.

Carnival forecasts full FY EPS $2.85 to $2.95 vs average analyst forecast of $3.00
Carnival Corp & PLC's 2007 full financial year to 30 November 2007 revenue yield expectations on a constant dollar basis remain on track with the guidance given last March. Excluding fuel, cost guidance for the year also remains unchanged on a constant dollar basis. However, fuel prices have increased significantly since our previous guidance, which has reduced earnings estimates by approximately $0.12 per share for the full year. Based on the above, the company expects full year 2007 earnings per share to be in a range of $2.85 to $2.95, compared to $2.77 per share in 2006.  Analysts average forecast has been $3.00 per share, with the lowest forecast $2.88 and the highest $3.09. For the third quarter of 2007, the company expects earnings per share to be in the range of $1.60 to $1.62 per share, compared to $1.49 per share in 2006.

Pricing looks favourable, Caribbean not getting worse ñ analyst about Carnival
The outlook for pricing for the remaining half of the financial year to 30 November looks favourable for Carnival Corp & PLC, while trading in the Caribbean remains challenging but it is not getting worse, a cruise industry analyst says. ìThey're doing a good job holding other costs down, and inventory is tight because they've already sold so much at low prices so pricing looks favourable for the rest of the year.  I think things will be tough in the Caribbean for awhile, but doesnít seem to be getting worse at this point,î said Jake Balzer, Senior Equity Analyst at Guzman & Company in Coral Gables, Florida. ìThey've lowered 2007 guidance from $2.90-$3.10 to $2.85-$2.95. However, $.12 of that is currency and another $.02 for pension that werenít included before. If you account for that they should be at $2.76-$2.96 so excluding those items, they've essentially just tightened the range upward from the bottom,î he told Cruise Business Online.

Peter Ratcliffe to retire, David Dingle and Alan Buckelew promoted to top posts
Peter Ratcliffe, CEO of P&O Princess Cruises International, has informed Carnival Corporation & plc that he will retire effective March 6, 2008. Effective immediately, David Dingle has been promoted to CEO of Carnival UK with responsibility for the company's British brands ñ P&O Cruises, Ocean Village and Cunard Line. He also has been appointed Chairman of the Carnival plc Management Committee with responsibility for P&O Cruises Australia. Alan Buckelew has been promoted to President and CEO of Princess Cruises, also effective immediately. ”It has always been a goal of mine to retire at age 60 and in this case, the effective date is actually my 60th birthday,” said Ratcliffe. ”I've had a tremendously rewarding career in this industry and know that I leave the future of my cherished brands in the most capable hands of David and Alan,” he added. ”Peter has only been a part of our organization since the merger of our companies in the spring of 2003 but I can't say enough about all he has done to contribute to our post-merger success,” said Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. Arison said that not only was Ratcliffe ”instrumental in getting the deal done in the first place, but once that was complete, he was key to the successful integration of the two companies, as well.”

Top job reshuffle at Carnival UK: Esdale md of P&O Cruises; Lighton retakes Ocean Village and Shanks becomes chief commercial officer
Carnival UK has announced new director roles following David Dingleís appointment as chief executive officer. Nigel Esdale has been promoted to managing director of P&O Cruises.  Peter Shanks has been promoted to chief commercial officer, Carnival UK, responsible for Cunard globally and Princess Cruises in the UK, the company said in a statement.  Nick Lighton becomes managing director of Ocean Village and also takes responsibility for all the air programmes of Carnival UK.  These new appointments take effect immediately.In addition, Giles Hawke takes the new title of sales director, Carnival UK. Nigel Esdale, previously commercial director of P&O Cruises, will have additionally reporting to him Neal Martin, hotel services and entertainment director of P&O Cruises.  Nigel joined P&O Cruises in 1984 and has spent all his working career with the Company, having occupied a series of commercial positions for both the P&O Cruises and Princess brands.  Peter Shanks, previously managing director of Ocean Village, will have Carol Marlow reporting to him, who continues in her current role as managing director and president of Cunard.  Peter will also retain his responsibilities for the UK commercial performance of Princess Cruises.  Peterís new role draws together the two global brands within Carnival UK, with particular focus on relationships with the US.  Peter has spent a 25 year career in the travel industry, having held senior management positions with three of the four major tour operators before joining the Carnival organisation as senior vice president Europe for Cunard in 2002.  Peter maintains an active public role as a director of ABTA and chair of the cruise section of the UK Passenger Shipping Association. Nick Lighton, previously fleet management director of Carnival UK, takes responsibility for the recently expanded Ocean Village fleet, having established the brand in 2003 and also takes responsibility for air planning of Carnival UK.  Nick joined the Company in 2001 following a career spanning tour operating and the international car and leisure sectors. Giles Hawke becomes sales director of Carnival UK, remaining responsible for the Complete Cruise Solution.  Giles will report to customer services director, Linda Scard.  Giles spent nine years in sales, commercial and general management within the tour operating industry before joining P&O Princess Cruises in 2002 as head of sales, and has since then developed one of the most successful and highly regarded sales organisations in travel.

Return tandem Atlantic crossing with QM2 part of QE2ís farewell programme
Queen Elizabeth 2, the Cunard Line vessel that will leave the companyís fleet in November 2008, will make a return tandem Trans-Atlantic crossing with Queen Mary 2 as part of its farewell programme, Cunard Line has unveiled.  The westbound crossing will depart Southampton on 10 October and the eastbound one six days later. Both ships will arrive in Southampton on 22 October. This will be the 806th Trans-Atlantic voyage of QE2 that entered service in May 1969. Cunard has sold the ship for conversion into a floating hotel in Dubai in a deal that valued the 70,367 gross ton vessel at $100 million.

Sea Dream swings to profit and plans newbuilding
Sea Dream Yacht Club, the US based operator with industry veteran Larry Pimentel at the helm, staged a leap in profitability last year and is planning a newbuilding, according to the website of the Finansavisen business daily in Norway. The company made a pre tax profit of $5.5 million in 2006 following a similar loss in the previous year and isnow looking for a newbuilding of up to 200 passengers. The new ship would have a crew of at least 150 and if ordered this year, delivery would take place in three yearsí time, according to Atle Brynestad, one of the owners of the company. However, he told the paper that if Sea Dream cannot find a yard that could quote it an acceptable price this year, they can wait a little bit longer. The company currently operates two 110 passenger vessels that were built in Finland in 1984.-85 respectively.

Fred Olsen to lengthen Braemar too at Blohm & Voss
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL) is to lengthen the 1993 built cruise liner Braemar of 19,089 gross tons by 31.2 m at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Germany in May-June 2008. The ship has a length of 163 m at the moment. This is a second such  project with the same yard FOCL has announced, the first one being the Balmoral that is currently trading as Norwegian Crown and which will enter service with FOCL in the UK in January 2008. Braemar's capacity will rise to 977 from 727 in the 60 million euro project.

Fred Olsen unveils new facilities Braemar will boast after stretching
The project to lengthen the 19,089 gross ton Braemar involves adding a 31. 2m extension in the mid-section of the 163 m long ship and extending the fore and aft sections on deck 8, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said in a statement.  This work will increase the amount of premium accommodation by providing more cabins and suites with balconies and will increase the capacity of the ship from 727 to 977 (an additional 250 passengers).   Extra public space includes a bar designed on the concept of a British pub. In addition to further balcony suites, the new deck 8 space will accommodate a new restaurant along with an Observatory Lounge similar to those found on other Fred. Olsen ships.   There will also be plenty of extra deck space, and a second swimming pool which will also have an area for children to play safely. Mike Rodwell, Managing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said:  ìThis project to lengthen Braemar has been on the drawing board for several months, and I am delighted that we are now able to announce it will be going ahead.   There will be no disruption to schedules as we had pencilled in this period in our 2008 itinerary planning in anticipation that this work would be carried out.î   He continued:  ìFred. Olsen intends to maintain its strong position in the UK cruise market and this additional capacity will allow us to grow our market in keeping with the increasing demand for cruise holidays.î

Swan Hellenic teams up with All Leisure and reintroduces Minerva in 2008
Swan Hellenic, the destinational and cultural cruise brand recently sold by Carnival PLC to LOrd Sterling, will return to cruising next year after a deal with All Leisure Group, another British destinaional cruise operator.”Lord Sterling is pleased to announce that Swan Hellenic has joined the All Leisure Group, a likemindedBritish company and operator of the cruise ship m/v Discovery, which earlier this year announced it had chartered the former 350-berth Minerva on a long-term basis,” San Hellenic said in a statement. ”We have joined Roger Allard's All Leisure Group which has an established UK shore-based operation, from where it manages its own ship. We will now re-establish our cruising operation at least one year earlier than anticipated, as the former 350-berth Minerva will once again become a Swan Hellenic ship, following an extensive refurbishment prior to re-introduction in May 2008,” Lord Sterling said. The 12,500 gross ton ship was built in 1996 and it has sailed under numerous names, most recently as Explorer II.

Profit warning from Aker Yards on woes in Finland
Aker Yards, the Norwegian shipbuilding group, says challenges in Finland on the ferrty sector will depress its EBITDA below the target level of 7% and in the Cruise & Ferry business area, the figure will only amount to 2.5 to 3.0%. ”Project estimates have been revised, and the operating results for the second quarter and for 2007 will be lower. At the same time, Aker Yards is announcing divestments that allow for a sustainable payment of dividend to shareholders for 2007” the company said in a<statement.
 ”The EBITDA figure for Aker Yards for 2007 is estimated to be about NOK 1000-1100 million, and the net profit estimated about NOK 800-900 million. As a result of the revised cost estimates, the EBITDA margin is estimated to be in the range of 5-6 percent in 2008. The long term target of 7 percent is maintained. For the Business area Cruise & Ferries in 2007, the EBITDA margin is expected to be approximately 2.5 - 3 percent. Operating revenues in 2007 is expected to be at approximately NOK 35 billion.” The main reason for the revised estimates lies in the heavy load in the Finnish operations, and is mainly related to the building of ferries. The very high level of growth in activity level at the same time as the market is booming has lead to a lack of resources giving a knock-on effect on the total backlog of ferries. The number of ferries in the backlog in Finland is seven, of which five will be delivered in the next 12 months. In addition, the suppliers of the shipyards are also experiencing a booming market, leading to higher prices than anticipated. This is giving a negative effect on most of the backlog in the business area Cruise & Ferries. Yrjˆ Julin, who was appointed President and CEO on 11 June 2007 states in a comment: ”We have decided it is correct to revise project estimates, primarily related to ferries based on the cost increases we see in the suppliers market, our tight delivery schedule, as well as the general high activity level in all areas of the value chain. ”
Carnival's Dickinson to retire, Cahill to take top post
Bob Dickinson, President and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines, will retire at the end of the year. He will remain on the company's board of directors. Gerry Cahill, Executive Vice President and CFO of Carnival Corporation & plc, will assume Dickinson's responsibilities as President and CEO effective immediately so that there is an ample transition period. David Bernstein, Carnival Corporation & plc's Vice President and Treasurer, will become the company's CFO, also effective
immediately.  ”I have been blessed to have had a long, fun-filled career helping to build Carnival and the cruise industry. I'm still having fun so giving all of that up has been a very difficult decision but I'll be 65 next month and have been pondering this with my family for some time,” Dickinson said. ”I look forward to working with Gerry who will inherit what I believe is the most talented and dedicated management team in the cruise industry,” he added.

Damage to propellers forces cancellation of two cruises of Celebrity Millennium
Celebrity Cruises has cancelled two 12-night Mediterranean sailings onboard Celebrity Millennium due to damage to the ship`s propellers. The 90,000 gros ton ship will reenter service for its July
24 sailing. On July 2, while anchored off Villefranche, France, the ship`s propellers struck a submerged rock, following an electrical malfunction.  Three of the four blades on the starboard propeller and one on the port propeller were damaged and needed to be replaced.  The company originally thought divers could accomplish the repairs while the ship was docked.  The company has now concluded that a drydock is necessary.  As a result, the remaining portion of the current cruise, which began June 30, has been cancelled.  The next cruise, scheduled to depart July 12, has also been cancelled. The cancelled cruises are expected to have an all in, negative impact on the earnings of parent company
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. of approximately $0.14 per share, it said in a statement.

Good start for Crown & Anchor Youth Programme in the UK
More than 550 children and teenagers in the UK and Ireland have signed up to Royal Caribbean Internationalís new Crown & Anchor Society Youth Programme, launched on Liberty of the Seasí maiden voyage on 19th May 2007, which offers membership benefits for younger guests every time they sail with Royal Caribbean International, the company said in a statement. Robin Shaw, Managing Director, UK and Ireland , commented, ìWeíre delighted to have so many young cruisers sign up to this programme in its first few weeks. Family cruising is one of Royal Caribbean Internationalís biggest growth markets and maximising our repeat family business is key to maintaining positive word of mouth in this sector.  Loyalty club members frequently return to the same travel agent to book their cruises, so this is obviously a great way for agents to nurture repeat business and an opportunity for them to continue to earn their commission.î Royal Caribbean Internationalís ships have a number of facilities on board that have proved to be a massive hit with families, including the FlowRider surf simulator and the rock climbing wall. Members are welcomed at the beginning of each cruise with a Youth Ultimate Value Booklet, which includes colouring pages, puzzles, games, and special offers for onboard amenities, including Ben & Jerryís; Airbrush Tattoo; arcade games; and Y-spa, Royal Caribbean Internationalís teen spa treatment menu. During the cruise, members also receive a commemorative gift.

Spirit of Nantucket renamed Spirit of Glacier Bay after move to Alaska
Following the announcement that the Spirit of Nantucket will be repositioned to Alaska in 2008, the small-shipcruise line Cruise West has renamed it to befit its new home. Next year, the 102-guest ship will ply the waters of Glacier Bay National Park andPreserve, and, given this itinerary, the name will be officiallychanged to Spirit of Glacier Bay. A rechristening will occur in Seattle spring 2008 before the ship sails to Alaska. The ship is currently sailing East Coast itineraries through 2007 Cruise West said in a statement.”The name Spirit of Glacier Bay not only reflects the itinerary this ship will be sailing, but also celebrates the history of Cruise West and Glacier Bay. Cruise West was one of the pioneers to take guests by ship into this magnificent park, ”said Dick West, chairman and managing director. ”In 1990, we introduced the 52-guest Spirit of Glacier Baythat sailed a similar itinerary, and this ship was retired in 2001. It just makes sense to reintroduce this name and get back to our roots.”  For the 2008 Alaska season, the Spirit of Glacier Bay willsail three-and four-night Glacier Bay Highlights cruises that will feature two days in Glacier Bay, cruising roundtrip from Juneau. The four-night cruise also makes a port call at Haines or Skagway.  This cruisewas previously offered on the 78-guest Spirit of Alaska that will sail the Alaska's Whales & Wilderness cruise in 2008. Given the high demand for the Glacier Bay Highlights cruises, the additional guest capacityonboard the newly named Spirit of Glacier Bay offers more guests the opportunity to take advantage of this natural wonder, the company says.

Fincantieri launches first part of last Costa Concordia class vessel
The first section of the final unit in the Costa Concordia class of  114,500 gross ton and 3,780 passenger cruise ships, ordered by Costa Crociere, has been launched at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo. The company also announced the name of the new vessel: the Costa Pacifica. The bow section of the Costa Pacifica is 127 metres long, almost 30 metres high, and weighs almost 8,000 tons. In August it will be transferred by sea to the Genoa Sestri Ponente shipyard where construction will continue, and where she is scheduled to be delivered in the spring of 2009. Costa Crociere has three ships on order or under construction in Italy with Fincantieri. In addition to the Costa Pacifica, two other ships, the Costa Luminosa (92,700 gross tons and maximum capacity 2,828 passengers) and its yet unnamed sister will be delivered by the Marghera shipyard in Venice in the spring of 2009 and in March 2010, respectively. At the end of 2010, when the last of the ships currently on order will be delivered, Costa&#8217;s fleet will be 15 strong and will offer more than 30,000 lower berths. ”This will further strengthen the fleet&#8217;s position as Europe&#8217;s biggest and most modern, while also increasing its capacity by more than 30%.Since 2000, Costa Crociere has invested approximately &#8364;&#8364;3.5 billion in Italy to build 7 new ships, all ordered from Fincantieri. These orders are part of an expansion program worth &#8364;4.5 billion to introduce 11 ships from 2000 to 2010,” Costa said in a statement.

RCCL forecast to post slight rise in second quarter interims on 26 July
Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCCL, the world's second ˆargest cruise shipping group, will publish its second quarter interims on 26 July at 10.00 Eastern time. The group that operates a fleet of 35 ships is forecast to increase earings per share to $0.60 from $0.57 in the same period last year, according to estimates the company has collected from analysts that follow its performance.

Resort World cuts Star Cruises stake to 20%; Moody's confirms ratings
Resorts World said its wholly owned subsidiary, Resorts World Ltd had accepted the offer from Datuk Chua Ma Yu-owned CMY to purchase 1.01 billion shares of 10 HK cents each in Star Cruises, according to a Malaysian media report. This reduces the stake of Resort World in the worldís third largest cruise shipping group to 20% from 34%. At the same time, Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the 'Baa1' issuer and debt ratings of Genting Berhad, parent of Star Cruises,  the 'B1' corporate family rating of Star Cruises Ltd (SCL) and the 'B3' senior unsecured bond rating of its NCL Corp Ltd unit.  The outlook for both ratings is stable.

RCI extends no smoking policy to cabins
Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has announced a new smoking policy onboard its ships, effective from January 2008 with additional smoke free zones. To bolster the cruise lineís new Vitality wellbeing programme, recently debuted on Liberty of the Seas, the line is increasing smoke-free zones by designating all staterooms and one lounge on each ship in its fleet as non-smoking areas. The new policy will go into effect onboard 18 of the lineís 21 ships initially, with Legend of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas following suit with the 2008 summer season. ìFeedback from our guests was a driving force behind the new Vitality programme and our focus on wellness,î said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. ìResults from online polls as well as input from all of our international offices worldwide, show very strong support of the new smoking policy. These changes reflect a more contemporary approach to healthier lifestyles and will significantly improve the cruise vacation experience for our guests.î  Currently, smoking is prohibited in guest hallways and corridors, restaurants, entertainment venues and most of the shipís interior public spaces except for designated areas in bars and lounges. The new policy will add all guest staterooms and suites, and one bar or lounge on every Royal Caribbean International ship onto the roster of smoke-free spaces. Guests wishing to smoke may still do so from starboard outer decks, in designated areas in bars and lounges, and on stateroom and suite balconies. Ashtrays are available in designated smoking areas or by request through stateroom attendants. Violations of the smoking policy will result in cleaning charges to the guestís onboard account and may also be addressed through the lineís Guest Conduct Policy, details of which are available both online and in all staterooms. Royal Caribbean Internationalís Vitality wellbeing programme was designed to encourage and introduce ways for guests to achieve a better balance in their lives. The programme presents healthier lifestyle choices across every aspect of the cruise experience, including fitness classes and spa treatments, onboard and land-based activities, shore excursions, and healthful drinks and food selections. Guests have the choice to try one or two elements or enjoy the total Vitality wellbeing experience to begin a more balanced approach to healthier living.

Four Sun Princess passengers die in Alaska sightseeing plane crash
Four passengers from Sun Princess, a ship of Carnival Corp & PLC unit Princess Cruises, were killed yesterday when their sightseeing plane crashed in a mountainous area of southeast Alaska, reports. ”The single-engine DeHavilland Beaver float plane was on a ship-sponsored flight-seeing excursion to Misty Fjords from Ketchikan, according to media reports and the cruise line. It was spotted in the rugged terrain by rescue helicopters, which were dispatched after the pilot issued a distress signal -- and didn't return,” the report says. Princess Cruises immediately suspended all tours with the company, and is working with local authorities to investigate the accident. Sun Princess departed from Ketchikan two hours late yesterday to continue its seven-day roundtrip cruise from Seattle, CNN reports.  ”Our shoreside care team is doing everything possible to help their families through this difficult tragedy, and we share in their grief,” spokeswoman Julie Benson said via an official statement. Benson tells us that the Captain will make an announcement to passengers this morning informing them of the tragic news, and will ask them to join in a moment of silence, the Cruisecritic report said..

RCCL second quarter net profit rises to $128.7 million and meets $0.60 per share forecast
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), the worldís second largest cruise shipping group, increased net profit to $128.7 million in the second quarter from $122.4 million in the same period last year. The latest figure corresponds with earnings per share of $0.60, which was the average forecast of analysts on Wall Street and in Oslo, where the company is listed. The corresponding figure for the second quarter of 2006 was $0.57 per share. The latest figure was also in the middle of the $0.58 to $0.63   that RCCL had given earlier.

Pricing environment stablises in the Caribbean ñ RCCLís Fain
ìAfter a relatively slow start to the year, we are encouraged by the stabilised Caribbean pricing environment and the sound demand for our summer seasonal products,î said Richard Fain, chairman and ceo of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL). ”Despite continuing pressure from high fuel prices, our second quarter results were consistent with our expectations,” he continued. The company unveiled earlier today a rise in second quarter net profit to $128.7 million from $122.4 million in the same period a year earlier.”The revenue environment has stabilised versus the first quarter, and our cost control initiatives are working well,î Fain concluded.

Rising cost of bunkers leads RCCL to lower guidance for full year
An increase in the cost of bunkers has led Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), the worldís second largest cruise shipping group, to cut its earnings per share (eps) forecast to the bracket of $2.75 to $2.85 from $3.05 to $3.20 it forecast in connection of its first quarter  interims on 1 May.ìBased on these estimates, and assuming that fuel prices remain at today's level, the company expects its full year 2007 earnings per share to be $2.75 to $2.85, and expects third quarter 2007 earnings per share to be $1.75 to $1.80,î RCCL said in a statement today. The company does not forecast fuel prices and its cost guidance for fuel is based on a current ”at-the-pump” price of $486 per metric ton, RCCL said. ìThis is higher than the May 1 figure, and represents a negative impact of $0.17 per share versus the company's previous guidance,î RCCL said. On 1 May, it set earnings per share guidance at $3.05 to $3.20, and expected second quarter 2007 earnings per share to be $0.59 to $0.63. The figure, unveiled today,  came at $0.60.

Worst over for Black Watch passengers that fell ill during Baltic cruise
All the seven passengers that fell ill during a Baltic cruise on board Fred Olsen Cruise Linesí (FOCL) Black Watch at the weekend are recovering and two of them have been flown back to the UK after being discharged from a hospital in Sweden. ìTwo of the passengers have been sent back to the UK and all of them are getting better,î said Wendy Hooper-Greenhill, adding that the ship is due to arrive at Dover later today,, where it will receive thorough cleaning and superchlorination. The illness is thought to have been the Legionnaireís  Disease but neither this nor from where it came on board has as yet been established. The shipís water supply is a suspect and tests were taken in Stockholm at the weekend, where the passengers in question were taken to hospital, she said. The 28,000 gross ton Black Watch was built in 1972 and it has been member of the FOCL fleet in since 1996. It received a major refit, including new engines, last year

Royal Caribbean to offer cruises from ColÛn, Panama
Royal Caribbean International passengers can soon experience a blend of Southern Caribbean life while cruising from ColÛn, Panama. Marking the first time that the cruise line has established a homeport at the mouth of the Panama Canal, Royal Caribbean today announced 17 sailings from December 2008 through April 2009 aboard Enchantment of the Seas. The 7-night voyages will visit ports-of-call in Colombia and the Dutch Antilles. ”ColÛn is a spectacular Central American city and sailing from Panama not only offers our guests an exciting itinerary, but also allows more travelers more convenient opportunities to enjoy a Royal Caribbean cruise,” said Adam Goldstein, President, Royal Caribbean International, at a press conference in Panama yesterday. ”We are pleased to bring our signature style of cruising to Panama as we extend our brand globally, and we thank the government for their enthusiastic support.” Ports of call on Enchantment's Southern Caribbean cruises from ColÛn include Cartagena and Santa Marta, Colombia; Aruba; Bonaire and

No positive link between Legionnaire's Disease and Black Watch water supply
No positive link between the two cases of Legionnaire's Disease and the water suppply on Fred Olsen Cruise Lines' (FOCL) Black Watch has been detected so far, marketing director Nigel Lingard told reports in London on Tuesday. Seven pasengers became ill and were taken to hospital in Stockholm during a Baltic cruise last week and two cases of the disease have been confirmed. However, all those that became ill, including the two with Legionella, are on their way to recovery.

Supply of berths on UK cruise market to grow 40% in 2008
The supply of berths on the British cruise market will grow by 40% next year, which is more than what  most cruise lines had anticipoated in their marketing programmes, said Nigel Lingard, marketing director at Fred Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL). The company itself will introduce the 1,340 passenger Balmoral in January next year and lengthen the 19,000 gross ton Braemar by 30 metres. Royal Caribbean International will replace the 3,114 passenger Navigator of the Seas by Independence of the Seas, the third and final unit of the Freedom class, which has 3,600 berths. Cunard Line will introduce the 2,000 passenger Queen Victoria in April, the same month as P&O Cruises will phase into service the 3,000 passenger Ventura. Norwegian Cruise line will introduce Norwegian Jade, the former Pride of Hawaii, on a series of cruises from the UK next year and add a further 2,200 berths to the supply side.

Aker Yards to publish second quarter figures 24 August
Aker Yards releases its second quarter results for 2007 on Friday 24 August.  A presentation of the results will given by President & CEO Mr Yrˆ Julin and CFO Mr Leif Borge at the company's head office at Hoffssveien 70 in Oslo, starting 08.30 local time. The presentation that will be webcast will be held in English.

Second quarter interims of Star Cruises due 14 August
Star Cruises, the world's third largest cruise shipping group, will hold a board meeting on14 August, where the group's interim results for the second quarter will be approved. The company that is best known for its Norwegian Cruise Line and NCL America brands, made a net loss of $33.9M in the corresponding period last year.

Three Nordic incoming agencies team up to handle cruise calls
Three leading Nordic incoming agencies start a partnership for the handling of cruise calls in the Nordic Countries. The cooperation is formed by BDP ñ Your Best Destination Partner in Denmark,  Lindholm Cruise Service in Sweden and Next Travel in Finland. This will mean advantages for the international cruise lines calling the Nordic Countries. Maria Guggenberger, Director, Lindholm Cruise Service, said in a statement: îI look forward to this Nordic partnership together with two serious companies, which with no doubt will boost the development and innovation within the business. The numerous international cruise guests visiting the Nordic countries every year expect more and more from a destination ñ and we are happy to be dressed to meet the future demands.”

Oceania sold 400 cruises in an hour as new programme was released
Oceania Cruises announced that on August 1st a new record for reservations was set as the line's 2008-2009 Winter Collection of sailings went on sale. Oceania Cruises opened its reservation lines at 8 am on August 1st and took more than 400 new  reservations in the first hours. At the close of business the line had bested it previous reservations record by almost 30% and some departures were 50% sold, the company said in a statement. ”With limited availability for our 2008 winter sailings, Travel Agents and Oceania Club members have been eager to learn details of the 2009 winter sailings. Our Travel Partners have always provided us with tremendous support and the response today is truly incredible,” stated Bob Binder, President of Oceania Cruises. The line's new 2008-2009 Winter Collection includes 24 voyages to Asia, Australia, the Caribbean and South America, ranges from 10 to 35 days in length, calls on more than 100 ports of call, and features 46 overnight port stays.

Cruising becomes more leisurely still as NCL ok's jeans at night
In a move sure to raise hackles among those who prefer cruising's more traditional ambience, Norwegian Cruise Line is the first cruise line to adopt a dining room dress policy that's truly informal -- jeans are actually allowed if not also encouraged, reports on is website.  It says so. In a press release distributed to travel agencies this week (upon first reading it we actually checked our calendars to make sure it somehow wasn't April Fool's Day), the line outlines its dress restrictions: ”At night, it's relaxed. Casual shirts and pants, even nice jeans (thatís new) for guys. For women, itís slacks or jeans (also new), dresses, shirts and tops. Shirts and nice shorts are fine for kids under 12,” the report said.

Ambassadors  trebles second quarter net profit to $5.8 million
Ambassadors International, the US based niche cruise operstor and serviices group,  reported revenue of $80.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2007, up from $29.7 million year-on. Net profit rose to $5.8 million from $1.7 million in the corresponding period last year. ”Our cruise revenue increased $25.4 million due to the operations acquired throughout 2006 and the Windstar Cruises acquisition in April 2007. During the quarter ended June 30, 2007, we operated nine ships compared to four ships operated during the quarter ended June 30, 2006,” the company said in a statement. Cruise operating expenses and other selling, general and administration and depreciation expenses associated with our cruise segment increased $30.6 million related to the increase in ships operated in each period. In addition, cost of marine revenue increased $20.9 million related to revenues generated from our new construction and shipyard operations which commenced during 2006. Grounding of Empress of the North in May, when nobody was hurt, will cost the company $6.2 million, including repairs to the ship. ”On August 1, 2007, we announced that the current Congressional exemption on the Delta Queen(R) would not be extended beyond 2008 and announced 2008 as the farewell season for the Delta Queen(R). The Company reviewed the remaining vessel value of the Delta Queen(R) for impairment noting that the asset was recoverable and no impairment charge was required as of June 30, 2007,” it said in the statement. Delta Queen is a river paddle steamer that was built in 1926.

Passenger volumes rise at Hapag-Lloyd but profit treads water in second quarter
Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten, the German luxury and destinational cruise operator, enjoyed a rise in passenger volumes and load factors in the second quarter, but in terms earnings, the company's EBITA remained unchanged at Ä2.0 million, figures published by the parent company TUI AG show. Turnover increased by 1.1% to Ä85.9 million the second quarter, while in the first six months of the year, the rise was faster at 1.7% to Ä137 million. However, EBITA for the same period fell by Ä1.0 million to Ä5.0 million. The company forecasts both passenger volumes and load factors to increase further in the second quarter of the current year, particularly on Bremen and Columbus.

RCI adds fourth ship to South America in 2008/09
Royal Caribbean International (RCI), the mass market unit of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) will expand its South America cruise offerings to four ships when Splendour of the Seas sails out of Brazil for the Winter 2008-09 season. Splendour of the Seas will join three other ships to be deployed in Latin America for the season and add to the extensive range of itineraries offered by Enchantment of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas. ìOur commitment of four ships in Central and South America reflects a growing worldwide demand for our signature style of cruising,î said Adam Goldstein, president of RCI. ìWith the addition of these new itineraries in 2008, Royal Caribbean International will visit more than 250 destinations in more than 75 countries on six continents, further solidifying our position as the worldís largest global cruise brand.î From December 2008 to March 2009, Splendour of the Seas will offer travellers 19 roundtrip sailings from Sao Paulo ( Santos ), Brazil , ranging from three to eight nights. On the eight-night sailings, guests will enjoy a two-day port of call to explore Copacabana Beach or Salvador De Bahia, Brazil , or Buenos Aires , Argentina . Other ports of call include Rio De Janeiro, Porto Belo, Buzios, Ilhabela, Cabo Frio, and Parati, in Brazil, and Punta Del Este, Uruguay.  Guests also can choose a 14-night transatlantic cruise aboard Splendour of the Seas to Lisbon , Portugal , sailing on 30th March 2009. Ports of call include Rio De Janeiro , Salvador De Bahia and Recife , Brazil ; Casablanca and Agadir , Morocco ; and Seville , Spain . Splendour of the Seasí cruises from Brazil begin at £1,254 per person (based on two sharing an inside cabin), including return flights from London Heathrow, and are currently open for booking. For even more South America cruise choices, Radiance of the Seas offers travellers 12 sailings from November 2008 to April 2009. Ranging from 13 to 16 nights, guests will call at some of the continentís most exciting ports of call including Buenos Aires , Argentina ; Montevideo , Uruguay ; Rio De Janeiro , Brazil ; and Valparaiso , Chile , amongst many others. Radiance of the Seas will cruise to the Chilean Fjordlands; journey through the Panama Canal ; make its way ëround the horní and call at Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Prices start from £1,723 pp (based on two sharing an inside cabin) for a 13-night cruise departing Buenos Aires on the 7th December 2008. Travellers also can enjoy cruises along South Americaís northern coast and the Southern Caribbean aboard Enchantment of the Seas and Vision of the Seas. The recently announced itinerary for Enchantment of the Seas offers holidaymakers seven-night roundtrip voyages from Colon , Panama , to Colombia , Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao . Vision of the Seas will take guests on seven-night cruises from Santo Domingo , Dominican Republic , on alternating itineraries to the Windward or Leeward Islands of the Southern Caribbean, RCI said.

Trading in Star Cruises' shares suspended ahead of statement
Trading in the shares of Star Cruises, the world's third lasrgest cruise shipping group, have been suspended on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the company's own request ”pending the release of an announcement in relation to price sensitive information about the company.” Star Cruises is scheduled to publish its interim result for the second quarter tomorrow Tuesday.

NCL America continues to suffer downward pricing pressure in Hawaii
The Hawaiian inter-island cruise business of NCL America continues to suffer from ìsignificant downward pricing pressure,î which hurts the performance of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) as a whole, parent company Star cruises said in a statement. In the second quarter, NCLís net revenues increased by 10.7% but this was mainly due to a 13.6% year-on increase in capacity and left net revenue yields 2.5% down on the same period year on. On a bright note, NCL has experienced stablisation of pricing in the Caribbean, which was also soft last year. In Europe, the demand has been ìparticularly strong.î

Significant revenue and yield rise for Star Cruisesí Asian operations
The Asian operations of Star Cruises, the worldís third largest cruise shipping group, enjoyed a significant increase in both revenue and net yield in the second quarter that were experienced throughout the Asian fleet, the company said in a statement. Net revenue yield rose by 13.0% and net revenue yield by 13.4% on a 1.9% capacity increase. Both ticket prices and higher on board spending on gaming lifted the revenue figures. Sales and administration costs rose 13.9%.

Sale gain lifts Star Cruises to profit in second quarter
A $53.7 million gain made on the sale of its 25% stake in Resort World helped Star Cruises, the third largest cruise shipping group in the world, to report a second quarter net profit of $23.7 million compared to a loss of $33.9 million in the same period last year. The groupís capacity increased by 11.5% to 2.8 million passenger days, while net revenues rose by 11.5% and net revenue yield by 0.2%. The groupís Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) subsidiary suffered a fall in net yield on continued weak Hawaiian inter island trade and lower on board spending on shore excursions, while the groupís Asian fleet staged a market improvement in performance (see separate articles). Sales and administration costs rose by 6.3% group-wide.

Carnival to expand in Jacksonville with bigger ship
Carnival Cruise Lines and the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) have announced a significant increase in capacity for Jacksonville's cruise operations when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination replaces the 1,486-passenger Celebration on 4- and 5-night cruises year-round from Jacksonville beginning Sept. 20, 2008. Carnival is the only cruise operator to sail year-round from Jacksonville and the Carnival Fascination represents a 38% increase in capacity over the Celebration. With the deployment of the Carnival Fascination - the newest and largest ship ever homeported in Jacksonville on a year-round basis - Carnival is expected to carry 170,000 guests annually from JAXPORT.

Former Rumsfeld aide named Executive Vice President at CLIA
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has named Eric Ruff, a communications and public affairs professional with extensive government and legislative experience, as the association's Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Communications. He will be based in CLIA's Washington D.C. office. ”Eric is a seasoned professional with nearly 30 years of experience in various government, media, and association environments,” said Terry Dale, CLIA President and CEO. He is a broad-gauged communications strategist who will bring excellent insight and management skills to our work in assuring the success of the cruise industry.” Before joining CLIA, Ruff held key senior public affairs positions with the U.S. Departments of Defense, including the job as Press Secretary to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Apollo invests $1billion in NCL Corp to take 50% stake
NCL Corporation Ltd (NCLC) parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and NCL America, announced today that private equity group, Apollo Management, LP (ìApolloî), has agreed to make a $1 billion cash equity investment in NCLC. The new investment, in the form of common stock alongside NCLís existing sole shareholder, Star Cruises (ìStarî), is designed to strengthen NCLCís balance sheet and its ability to continue to expand what is fast-becoming the youngest fleet in the industry, and to evolve further the companyís successful Freestyle Cruising concept first introduced in 2000. ìTo have an investment on this scale by one of the very top names in the private equity world is a huge vote of confidence in the new NCLC we have created since Star Cruises became the owner in 2000,î said NCL Corporationís President and CEO Colin Veitch. Steve Martinez, Partner at Apollo Management, added, ìWe are very excited to be forming this partnership with Star Cruises and the existing management team of NCLC. Our investment will help NCLC complete its transition into the youngest fleet in the cruise industry, with a truly original next generation product with its F3 concept ships. We believe the NCL brand has significant growth potential over many years to come. Taken together with the pre-money valuation implied by Apolloís $1 billion payment for 50% of the expanded equity, this added element of the transaction implies a total enterprise valuation of NCLC of approximately $4 billion. Apollo acquired last year an unspecified controlling in interest in Oceania Cruises that valued the company at $850 million.

NCL America's future to to be decided within 16 months
The future of NCL America, the loss-making US flag operation of NCL Corporation, will be decided within 16 months, Fairplay Daily News reports on its website. Apollo Managementís $1Bn equity offer for 50% of NCL Corporation includes a specific plan to either revive the US-flag NCL America operation or liquidate it within 16 months. ìObviously up until now, it [NCL America] has lost a lot of money,î said NCL president Colin Veitch during last Fridayís conference call. ìSo the partners have agreed to a period of time in which NCLís new shareholding structure is not absorbing continuing losses from this operation, during which Star is underwriting the losses.î Consideration for the intra-Hawaii, US-flag assets is not included in Apollo's initial $1Bn equity infusion, but is being deferred until ”the decision is made on whether we stay in the [US flag] business,î said Veitch. ìBoth partners wish to continue ñ thatís what weíre aiming for,” he maintained. NCL Corporation has decided earlier to reflag the 93,000 gross ton Pride of Hawaii from the US to the Bahamas and switch it to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) from NCL America. The ship will offer cruises from Europe next summer, including NCL's first programme targeting the UK market, with base in Southampton.

Hurricane Dean hits Costa Maya ñ the port looking forward to a speedy recovery
Tuesday morning, Costa Maya, Mexicoís fastest-growing tourist destination and cruise port, was hit by Hurricane Dean after the Category 5 hurricane made landfall at 3:30 a.m. According to Cesar Lizarraga, Costa Mayaís Director of Sales and Marketing, approximately 50% of the portís infrastructure, including the cruise ship pier, has been damaged by the storm. An early estimate indicates the port will remain closed for six to eight months while clean up and construction crews work quickly and efficiently to bring the port back to full operational mode. Revitalizing the port and surrounding areas represents a multi-million dollar investment. Costa Maya officials are currently meeting with cruise lines with previously scheduled port calls to reevaluate schedules. Costa Maya hopes to see a speedy recovery and have cruise ships calling back to the port as early as mid 2008.

Carnival to provide funding for a new cruise ship pier in St. Maarten
Carnival Corporation & plc today finalized an agreement with the government of St. Maarten and the Port of St. Maarten to provide funding to support the construction of a new two-berth cruise ship pier. The new docking facility, combined with the island's existing four-berth pier, will make St. Maarten one of the largest cruise ports in the Caribbean, with six dedicated cruise berths. Under the agreement, Carnival Corp. has provided financing of $34.5 million for construction of a new pier and has guaranteed a certain number of passengers to the island. The new pier will be able to accommodate two post-Panamax cruise ships. Carnival will enjoy preferential berthing rights at the new facility for the 20-year period of the agreement. Eight of Carnival Corporation & plc's 10 cruise brands, including three of its European brands, will call on St. Maarten. Construction on the new pier is scheduled to begin in December and completed by 2009.
Better than forecast yield and volume increases boost Viking Line
Viking Line, the Finnish cruise ferry company, says its result for the financial year to 31 October will be significantly better than last year, whereas at the time of publication of its first quarter interim result in April it forecast the result just to be better than that of the previous year.
The demand for the companyís services that link Turku and Helsinki in Sweden with Stockholm via the Aland islands, Helsinki with Tallinn and Kapellskar in Sween with Mariehamn on the Aland islands has exceeded the companyís expectations. This has also lead to higher passenger yields, which again means that the full year result will be significantly higher than the Ä10.5 million  net profit it made in the 2006 financial year.
The company will publish its second quarter interim result on 13 September. In the first three months of its financial year,, it made a net profit of just Ä0.9 million but this is a low season in its business. School holidays in Finland end this week, which spells the end of this yearís high season.

NCL Corporation cuts second quarter loss to $24.6 million
NCL Corporation, the cruise company in which Apollo management has agreed to acquire a 50% stake leaving Star Cruises to hold the other half, reported a net loss of $24.6 million on total revenues of $553.1 million for its second quarter ended June 30, 2007, compared to a net loss of $35.1 million on total  revenues of $502.8 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2006. Revenues for the second quarter of 2007 increased 10.0% on a 13.6% increase in capacity days partially offset by a 2.5% decrease in net yields. The decrease in net yields continues to be primarily driven by weakness in ticket pricing for the Companyís Hawaii business, as well as lower onboard revenues. ”Our second quarter results reflect the challenges we continue to face in Hawaii,” said Colin Veitch, president and chief executive officer.

Birka Cruises switches to operating profit in first half
Birka Cruises, which operates the34,758 gross ton Birka Paradise on short cruises from Stockholm, enjoyed a 10.3% rise in turnover to Ä37.3 million in the first half of the year. This was due to a 1.9% rise in yields per passenger and a 6.6% increase in the number of passengers carried, to 406,637. Operating expenses declined by Ä2.9 million to Ä31.0 million, which means that the company was able to report an operating profit of Ä2.6 million compared with a loss of Ä4.2 million in the first half of 2006. Birka Cruises is based in Stockholm and it is part of the Finnish passenger and freight roro shipping group Birka Line.

Problems with ferry project hit Aker Yards
Problems with ferry orders at its three Finnish yards have hit Aker Yards, the biggest shipbuilder in Europe and one of the leading passenger ship builders in the world. The Cruise & Ferry business area of the Oslo based group reported EBITDA negative by NOK121M in the second quarter  compared to a NOK195M profit in the same period last year, while Group net profit fell slightly, to NOK200M from NOK219M year-on A thorough review has been carried out for the  Finnish yards. A one off charge of  approximately NOK 500 million has been taken in the business areas Merchant Vessels and Cruise & Ferries.  The newly appointed President & CEO, Yrjˆ Julin states in a comment: ìWe have been growing very fast in a heated environment, resulting in operational challenges. However, we will come back  with improved results already next year.îThis review confirmed the view taken in July and did not reveal further negative implications for the business area Cruise & Ferries, and the expected EBITDA margin for 2007 in the business area is maintained at 2.5-3 percent. A one-off loss provision mainly related to ferries of approximately NOK 400 million was taken in the quarter.

Carnival Victory to replace Destiny in Southern Caribbean cruises in November 2008
Carnival Cruise Lines will deploy the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory on year-round 7-night southern Caribbean departures from San Juan beginning in November 2008. Carnival Victory replaces the Carnival Destiny on this popular itinerary and provides a newer, slightly larger ship, as well as a fresh new choice for consumers. Earlier this week Carnival announced, that Destiny will be moved for 4- and 5-night cruises based in Miami. ”The Carnival Victory will provide a great new option for us in the Southern Caribbean, including the opportunity to visit five magnificent ports of call, all in a one-week cruise,” said Vicki Freed, Carnival's Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. The Carnival Victory's new five-port, 7-night schedule from San Juan kicks off Sunday, November 2, 2008, and includes an overnight call in the resort area of La Romana/Casa De Campo, along with extended visits to the tropical destinations of St. Kitts, Barbados, Dominica and St. Thomas.

Club Cruise plans to order six 20,000 gross ton newbuildings
Club Cruise Entertainment & Travelling Services Europe, the Dutch cruise ship owner, plans to order six newbuildings of 20,000 gross tons in the next six months. However,this is on the condition that a  Ä80 million issue of new equity can be carried out. Talks are in progress between the company and several yards and the new ships should enter service between 2010 and 2013, the company says in a trading statement.
Club Cruise has changed its plan to seek listing in Oslo in favour of London and it has appointed Investec to prepare an initial public offering (IPO) of stock on the UK market. The company does not operate any of its ships by itself, but rather charters them out to other companies on long term contracts.
Club Cruise currently owns four vessels, all of which are second hand acquisitions and which are on long term charter for other companies that operate them. The fleet comprises the 28,000 gross ton Albatross built in 1973, the 1981 built Astoria of 19,000 gross ton, both of which are on charter to German tour operator. The  Jules Verne of 15,800 gross ton dating back to 1990, which Club Cruise bought from Sea Contanters last year trades on the Spanish market, while the 1976 built van Gogh of 17,000 gross tons operates on the British market.

Hurtigruten second quarter interims rise, Fram exceeds target in Greenland
Hurtigruten, the Norwegian company that operates the coastal express service and destinational cruise e.g. in Greenland, recorded consolidated pre-tax profit of NOK 102 million for the second quarter of this year, an improvement from NOK 91 million in the same period last year. The booking figures reveal solid progress in all areas of the Hurtigruten and explorer cruise/other travel business areas, the company said in a statement. The number of round trips onHurtigruten for 2007 are 7% higher than the corresponding figure for last year. Growth is strongest in United Kingdom, Germany, the USA and Sweden. The most important market, Germany, has also staged a strong revival after a weak start to the year. Sales of cruises around Greenland, the group`s new area of commitment carried out by the new ship Fram, are going well. The sales target of 2,800 passengers for the opening season has been more than met, with a total of 2,919 passengers. Bookings for next year are already well under way, with 523 registered for the 2008 season. Antarctic cruises are also showing progress, with a 19% increase in bookings for the 2007-08 season. Growth is particularly strong for the 2008 spring season. Unfortunately, the underlying positive developmentfor Hurtigruten and explorer cruise was offset tosome extent by the operational disruptions which hit the company during the second quarter
(2006: NOK 91 million), an improvement of 12 per cent. For
the first quarter, the pre-tax loss declined from
NOK 92 million in 2006 to NOK 34 million.

Two die as freighter sinks after collision with old cruise liner
Two people died when a small Israeli freighter sank in collision with a 45 year old Cypriot owned cruise liner on Friday, 31 August. The Shelly took two Slovakian crew members with it after it sank outside the Isareli port of Haifa, the BBC reports. Isrraeli divers later recovered the two bodies from the wreck. The Salamis Glory cruise liner was later towed to Haifa. It was built in 1962 in Yugoslavia for Brazilian owners and the 10,400 gross ton ship has traded for the Limassol based Golden Anchor company since 1996

MSC Cruisesí double event in France
MSC Cruises celebrated a double event in St Nazaire in France last week, where the 92,400 gross ton MSC Poesia was floated out at the Aker Yards France shipyard on the same day as the first plates were cut for MSC Magnifica, the fourth and final unit of the panamax cruise ship series for the company. The yard is also building two 133,500 gross ton post-panamax ships for the same operator and work is on the way on MSC Fantasia,  the first of two ships of the type.

Lindblad Expedition purchases a ship from Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten ASA and U.S. based Lindblad Expedition have signed a MOA regarding the latter's purchase of MS Lyngen for USD 8.6 million. The vessel will be transferred to the new owners by the end of October.

Royal Caribbean Cruises names Goldstein and Hanrahan President and CEO of cruise brands
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today promoted two of  its top executives to President and CEO of their respective brands. Nineteen-year Royal Caribbean executive, Adam Goldstein, President of Royal Caribbean International since 2005, becomes President and CEO of that brand, and eight-year Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises veteran, Dan Hanrahan, President of Celebrity Cruises since 2005, adds CEO to his title as well. Both officers will continue to report to Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain, and both changes are effective immediately.

RCCL restructures EMEA team
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) has announced an organisational restructure in the UK and Ireland and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) management teams, RCCL said in a statement. Jo Rzymowska is promoted to managing director, UK and Ireland ; Robin Shaw becomes vice president, managing director, Europe; and Sarah Newman is promoted to regional vice president, commercial director EMEA. The changes see Rzymowska, formerly sales and marketing director for Royal Caribbean Intern ational and Celebrity Cruises in the UK and Ireland , promoted to managing director, UK and Ireland, overseeing the companyís brands. Rzymowska has played a significant role in the rapid growth of the UK and Ireland business, including successfully restructuring the sales and marketing teams and the delivery of the ìEasy To Do Business Withî initiative for trade business partners. In addition to sales and marketing responsibilities, her new role will entail managing operations, working closely with Paul Randall, operations director, UK and Ireland , who now will report to her. Rzymowska is charged with continuing to move the business forward during its busiest year ever in the region. Shaw, previously managing director, UK and Ireland , is promoted to a new position in the company - vice president, managing director, Europe . Shaw has been instrumental in increasing the Royal Caribbean Intern ational and Celebrity Cruises market shares in the UK and Ireland from 9% in 2004, to 16% today.  In his new role, he will assume responsibility for all country operations in Europe and oversee the dynamic growth of these markets. Shaw will continue to report to Susan Hooper, senior vice president, managing director, EMEA, in his new position.  Both Shaw and Ryzmowska joined the company in 2005

Cruise Critic stays ahead of Hurricane Felix for cruise passengers
Cruise Critic, the worldís leading resource for cruise news and reviews, alerts cruise passengers to important itinerary changes in the Hurricane Zone, a comprehensive storm center. As Hurricane Felix comes ashore in Central America, Cruise Critic has the latest on changes to ports of call; it's the second Category Five storm to hit land this year. On the Pacific coast, Hurricane Henriette turns toward the cruise ports of La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, forcing Carnival Cruise Lines to alter itineraries for Carnival Pride and Carnival Elation to avoid the storm. Cruise Criticís Hurricane Zone is an up-to-the-minute news resource dedicated exclusively to providing storm updates as they pertain to cruise travel. It features need-to-know bulletins on storm-related departure city and itinerary changes, service pieces on topics like travel insurance, and a behind-the-scenes look at how cruise lines respond to a hurricane. Cruise Criticís Hurricane Zone is updated frequently, as the situation warrants.

New Ibercruceros brand to launch with three-ship fleet
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest cruise vacation company, and Orizonia CorporaciÛn, Spain's largest travel company, have finalized the agreements for a previously announced multi-ship cruise brand serving the Spanish market.
The transaction is expected to close on September 14, 2007, with Carnival owning 75% of the joint venture and Orizonia owning 25%. The new joint venture company will be consolidated into Carnival Corporation & plc's financial results starting in the fourth quarter 2007 and is expected to be accretive to results in 2008. To be called Iberocruceros, the new joint venture combines the two vessels of Orizonia's existing cruise operations with a ship from the Carnival group.
In addition to Orizonia's 1,244-passenger Grand Mistral and 834-passenger Grand Voyager, the 1,486-passenger Celebration from Carnival Cruise Lines' fleet, will be transferred to the new Iberocruceros company. After an extensive renovation, the Celebration is scheduled to enter service in late spring 2008. Alfredo Serrano, currently general manager of the Iberojet fleet, has been appointed general manager of Iberocruceros, which will be headquartered in Madrid. Serrano will report to the newly formed Iberocruceros board whose Chairman will be Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc's Costa Cruises unit. The board will also include Orizonia CEO Gabriel Subias. ”The new Iberocruceros joint venture will build upon the tremendous brand awareness of Orizonia's Iberojet operations - one of Spain's leading vacation companies - while providing a solid platform for expanding in the fast-growing European marketplace,” said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc's Chairman and CEO.
The three Iberocruceros ships will fly the Italian flag. Itineraries for these vessels will be announced shortly.

Carnival and TUI scrap German cruise venture plan
Carnival Corp & PLC, the largest cruise shipping group in the world and the German shipping to tourism group TUI have decided to abandon plans to form a joine cruise venture to be called TUI Cruises. Carnival has decided to withdraw its antitrust filings with the German Federal Cartel Agency, Bundeskartellamt, and the Austrian Federal Cartel Agency, Bundeswettbewerbsbehorde, Carnival said in a statement. Carnival and TUI had agreed to form a joint venture to develop a new cruise brand for Germany in December last year. Initially, TUI was to hold a 5% stake in the venture that it could later increase to 20%. Carnival cited an extremely difficult regulatory environment in Germany which makes it impossible to close the proposed joint venture this fiscal year. Failure to do so would create adverse tax consequences for the company that would impact the economics of the transaction. ìAs a result of the regulatory and tax issues Carnival and TUI have agreed not to proceed with the proposed joint venture but will continue to explore other opportunities,î Carnival said.

NEWBUILDING UPDATE - Meyer cuts first steel for Celebrity Equinox
Meyer Werft in Germany launched the production of the first steel plate for the second new giant passenger cruise vessel Celebrity Equinox for the cruise operator Celebrity Cruises. Richard Fain, CEO of parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) pushed the button of the fully automated plasma torch.The first ship of the Celebrity Solstice class ñ Celebrity Solstice - will be delivered to Celebrity Cruises, an affiliated company of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., in the autumn of 2008. his new and extremely energy-saving ship for Celebrity has a length overall of 315 m, is 36.8 m wide and gross tonnage of 122,000, Meyer said in a statement.

P&O sends three ships to world voyages in 2009 that offer Australia liner voyage options
P&O Cruises will send three of its ships on long haul cruises from Southampton in the winter of 2009, which can also be booked as liner voyages to and from Australia. First to sail is the 83,000 gross ton Arcadia, which will depart on 5 January for a 101 night cruise that sails via the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The ship will depart from Sydney on 19 February for a 56 night cruise back to the UK via the Orient and Suez. The 69,000 gross ton Oriana will set sail on a 82 night world cruise westbound and departs from Sydney on 14 February for a 46 voyage to the UK via the Orient, Middle East and Suez. Finally, Aurora of 76,000 gross tons is due to sail on 11 January on a world cruise of 93 nights to South Africa and the Orient and proceeds from Sydney on 28 February for a 45 night voyage to the UK via New Zealand, US west Coast and the Caribbean. In addition to round voyages, sections to and from Australian ports are offered on all cruises while Aurora and Oriana also offer voyages to and from Auckland.

Cunard selects the godmother of Queen Victoria
Cunard Line announced that Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, will attend a ceremony in Southampton on December 10, 2007, to mark the introduction of Cunard's new 90,000-ton liner Queen Victoria. At this ceremony, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will perform the naming of the ship. This naming will be a milestone in both Cunard and British maritime history, and will be a major event of worldwide interest, with over 2,000 VIP guests from around the globe in attendance at the prestigious ceremony. ”This will be an historic occasion. We are most honoured that Their Royal Highnesses have accepted our invitation and that Her Royal Highness will name our newest Cunarder,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. ”Every one of our Cunard Queens has been named by a member of the Royal Family and we are therefore delighted that Queen Victoria will follow in that tradition. In addition, this particular ceremony will mark the beginning of a new era, as it will be the first time in our 168-year history that we will have three Cunard Queens in service at the same time,” added Marlow. Queen Victoria will not only be a classic Cunard ocean liner, offering the very best of Cunard heritage and traditions, but will also be the second largest Cunarder the company has ever built.  She will be in Southampton for four days, during which time over 7,000 guests from around the world will visit the ship.  She will depart on her Maiden Voyage on Tuesday December 11, 2007.

Cunard celebrates history with QE2 round Britain cruise
Cunard Line will celebrate its long history as Queen Elizabeth 2 circumnavigates the UK on a cruise that will end in Southampton on 23 September, when it will meet Queen Mary 2 outbound for New York. A call in Newcastle-upon-Tyne commemorates the departure of the first Mauretania on its sea trials on 17 September 1907. It was one of the first large steam turbine driven ships and held the Atlantic speed record from 1907 to 1929. QE2 itself was launched by HM The Queen on Clydebank on 20 September 1967. The ship will call at Greenock near Glasgow 40 years after that date. In Liverpool, from where Cunard launched its first Trans-Atlantic service, to Halifax and Boston, on 4 July 1840, HRH The Duke of Kent will come on board for lunch after opening the cityís new cruise terminal. Cruise Business correspondent Anders Johannesen is on board QE2 on the said cruise and publisher and editor Teijo Niemela will sail for New York on Queen Mary 2 on 23 September. Both will report on the events in due time.

Time of your own, well-being and looking after yourself luxury in 2017 - research
Significant chances will take place in the next decade with regard of what is luxury,  new Scandinavian research has found. Instead of material values and possessions, immaterial values such as having time for yourself and to enjoy it in peace and quiet will become increasingly valued. Security regarding the everyday life will also become of higher value, say Jesper Bo Jensen, a Danish researcher of future trends, in his new book Future Consumer Tendencies and Shopping Behaviour. People will pay increasing attention to the environment and companies who take this into account in their operation will benefit from a forecast 30-40% rise in private spending. Health and wellness will also gain importance so that looking after yourself becomes a status symbol in its own right. Quality of goods and services should also rise as customers demand this. Everything with an anti-stress slant about will become hip, Jensen says in his book, according to an article published on the business news website in Norway

NCL does not take up third F3 option
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has decided not to take up an option for a 150,000gt cruise liner with Aker Yards France. It ordered two of these 4,200 passenger ships it refers to as the F3 on 7 September last year. These will be delivered in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Had NCL taken up this option, the third ship would haave entered service in 2011.
Easy Cruise to add second sea going vessel in 2008
Easy Cruise, the venture set up by serial entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Iannou, has purchased its second vessel. The Easy Cruise Life, which has been acquired for an undisclosed sum, started life in 1981 as Lev Tolstoy and has most recently traded as the Farah, operated by Arab Ship Management out of Egypt. From 2001 to 2006 the 12,700 gross ton ship was owned by Mano Maritime as the Jasmine. It has 460 berths but the figure will increase to more than 500 before the vessel enters service for Easy Cruise in April next year. Both the new acquisition and Easy Cruise One of 4,200 gross tons will trade in the Eastern Mediterranean in 2008. The company had to terminate its river cruise operation earlier than anticipaterd following financial problems at Boonstra River Company, the Dutch firm that operated Easy Cruise Two between Brussels and Amsterdam on franchise.

Travel + Leisure names Cruise Critic top travel website
Cruise Critic, the worldís leading resource for cruise news and reviews, was named one of Travel + Leisure Magazineís 2007 ”25 Best Travel Web Sites.” Cruise Critic is the only cruise Web site to have won the nomination for two consecutive years. Cruise Critic was selected in the vacation planning category, for its outstanding news and cruise reviews coverage. This yearís ”25 Best Travel Web Sites” list appears in Travel + Leisure's September 2007 issue, now on newsstands. Travel + Leisure said about Cruise Critic ”Research almost anything about 60 different cruise lines and gather advice on everything ship-related - from buying travel insurance to using onboard slot machines,” the magazine says. ”The recognition by Travel + Leisure of Cruise Critic as a top Web site for planning trips is gratifying,” says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of, ”particularly because cruises come in so many styles and price ranges. Matching the right cruise to each vacationer requires a bit of homework and we're happy to provide a one-stop-shop for research.”

Royal Caribbean starts new cruise line dedicated to French market
Continuing its expansion in Europe, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today it is launching a new cruise brand, CDF CroisiËres de France, committed to the French market. The new brand will begin sailing its first ship, Bleu de France, in May, 2008, after the ship has completed extensive renovations and undergone a cultural transformation wholly adapting the brand experience to French tastes. The new line will operate one ship initially when it begins operations. The 376-cabin ship was the former luxury liner Europa when it was owned by Hapag Lloyd. Currently, it is Pullmantur's Holiday Dream. As the flagship of the new brand, Bleu de France will benefit from a Ä30-million overhaul, significantly altering many of the ship's public spaces, guest accommodations, entertainment venues and dining options. The onboard experience of Bleu de France's guests will be totally French, from cuisine to entertainment to decor. French will be the language used on the ship as well. The ship will sail a Mediterranean itinerary, departing from Marseille, France, starting in Spring, 2008. It will shift to a Caribbean routing, sailing out of La Romana, Dominican Republic, beginning in Winter, 2008-2009.
Aker Yards floats out Independence of the Seas
In less than a year, Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas will make her debut in Southampton, England where she will be the largest ship ever to be homeported in Europe. With now 62% of construction and outfitting complete, Independence of the Seas, under construction at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, reached an important maritime milestone yesterday when she was floated out and moved from dry dock to wet dock. At official ceremonies held at the shipyard, Royal Caribbean executives, Harri Kulovaara, Executive Vice President, Maritime; Lisa Bauer, Senior Vice President, Sales, and Captain Hernan Zini were joined by Juha Heikinheimo, president, Aker Yards Cruise and Ferries, and Jyrki Heinimaa, Turku Yard Director, Aker Yards, as well as an exclusive group of Royal Caribbean's travel partners, to turn the valve releasing 87 million gallons of water into the wet dock area.
Norwegian Gem transits River Ems for sea trials
Norwegian Cruise Line's (NCL) newest ship, Norwegian Gem, left Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, and transited the River Ems to Eemshaven, Netherlands arriving on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007. The 93,530-ton Norwegian Gem has now begun sea trials through Sept. 23, 2007. Following a series of European inaugural events and
Mediterranean sailings in October and November, NCL is celebrating the arrival of Norwegian Gem in the U.S. with a two-night inaugural sailing in Boston on Dec.13, 2007. The ship's christening ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007 in New York, followed by a two-night inaugural sailing. For more about Norwegian Gem including her blog, visit ”HerSpace” page at (
Celebrity unveils features to enhance cabins on Solstice class
Celebrity Cruises, the premium market unit in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) group, has unveiled a series of new features in cabins of its 122,000 gross ton Solstics class newbuildings on order at Meyer wrft in Germany. the list goes as follows: Distinctive interlocking stateroom floor plan for better and more efficient space utilisation, resulting in deluxe veranda staterooms that are 15 percent larger than comparable accommodations on the balance of the fleet. First-in-industry adjoining stateroom design with double set of doors, allowing guests to open up space for families or friends traveling together, or close doors for a more private environment. Verandas of adjoining staterooms also can be opened up to create a veranda spanning both rooms. More spacious bathrooms with glass showers equipped with a foot rail for easy leg shaving in every stateroom, and large fog-free mirrors, which are being introduced in Celebrityís suites and new AquaClass staterooms.  Individual reading lights at each nightstand, including a shelf for personal items such as reading glasses, books, etc.  Expanded and ìsmarterî storage, including increased clearance beneath the bed for larger luggage, and storage units over the bed for personal items such as handbags, shopping bags, etc. Modular closets for varied clothing length and additional flexible storage areas. 32-inch flat-screen TVs in every stateroom, and larger flat-screen TVs featured in suites.



Carnival Corp & PLC raises guidance after record third quarter profit
Carnival Corp & PLC, the worldís largest cruise shipping company, has increased its guidance for full financial year profit after a marked increase in third quarter interims. Carnival reported record net income for its third quarter ended August 31, 2007 of $1.38 billion, or $1.67 diluted EPS, compared to net income for the third quarter of 2006 of $1.23 billion, or $1.49 diluted EPS. Revenues for the third quarter 2007 increased to $4.32 billion from $3.91 billion in the third quarter of 2006, the company said. For the 2007 full year, compared to its prior June 2007 guidance, the company anticipates a slight improvement in its net revenue yield expectations. Excluding fuel, cost guidance for the full year remains unchanged on a constant dollar basis. Despite increases in fuel prices the company expects full year 2007 earnings per share to be in the range of $2.92 to $2.94, toward the higher end of the company's previous guidance range of $2.85 to $2.95. ”Our earnings were up 12 percent driven largely by the successful introduction of new ships for both our North American and European brands in time for our peak summer season. Our North American brands enjoyed another strong European season, a solid Alaska season, and a modest year over year improvement in revenue yields in the Caribbean. The recovery in the Caribbean has continued as the demand for Caribbean cruises remains strong,” chairman Micky Arison said. The company's European brands benefited from strong improvements in operating results with increased revenue yields on a dollar basis due to stronger Euro and Sterling currencies. Local currency revenue yields were down against very strong comparisons with the previous year.

Silversea buys expedition ship World Discoverer
Silversea Cruises' parent company, Silversea Cruises Group Ltd has purchased the expedition ship World Discoverer. The company took delivery of the vessel in Singapore on September 17. The ship will undergo a multi-million dollar refurbishment before it begins service in spring 2008. ”We're very excited about this acquisition, as it means we'll be able to further tap that segment of the luxury travel market that is adventure driven,” said Manfredi Lefebvre, Silversea's chairman. ”We have been looking into this segment for quite some time. When we were informed about the opportunity to buy World Discoverer, we took immediate action in a matter of days. We believe that exploration cruises can combine extremely well with an utterly exclusive product. With the addition of World Discoverer, our current fleet increases to five ships and to six in 2009, offering a more-expansive cruise schedule that encompasses all seven continents.” After the planned refurbishment, World Discoverer will accommodate around 140 guests (reduced from current 175) in ocean-view staterooms, including
Owner's Suites, Grand Suites, and 12 yet-unnamed suites that will be similar to the line's popular Silver Suites -- offering an intimate club-like ambiance that will deliver an expedition cruise experience
consistent with Silversea's award-winning luxury standards.
Star Cruises sells SuperStar Gemini
Star Cruises today announced the sale of the SuperStar Gemini which is to be concluded in the following weeks. SuperStar Gemini will be chartered back from the new owner until December 2008 to continue offering her cruise itineraries before being handed over to the new owner. SuperStar Gemini is presently owned by Star Cruises along with the Asian fleet of other mid-sized ships such as the SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius, SuperStar Libra, Star Pisces, Megastar Taurus, Megastar Aries and Wasa Queen. ìSuperStar Gemini has an extremely loyal following especially from the Australians as it is a truly unique ship that offers an ambience that is filled with a very personalised level of service and genuine warmth and hospitality. The crew onboard are very dedicated and many repeat guests have fondly commented that it really does feel like they are part of an extended family onboard, and this is what keeps them coming back time and time again.” said Mr. David Chua, Star Cruisesí President. ìThe sale is part of the companyís fleet optimisation plan in line with the realization of new growth opportunities in the region. Such a need to sell or replace selected ships in the fleet will occur as and when opportunities from potential buyers arise to enable us to acquire bigger, better vessels as well as to renew and further enhance our products and services to better cater to our guestsí needs.î he further added. ìAn example is the arrival of the SuperStar Aquarius recently in June this year to Hong Kong, with greater capacity and features to cater to the needs and tastes of our guests.î

Apart from the future growth potential with renewed and bigger capacities and features of ships, Star Cruises will now be able to focus on further improvements to its current ships such as the SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Aquarius, SuperStar Libra, with continuous innovation and improvement of personalised services, ongoing new activities and world-class themes and performances. Star Cruises is the pioneer of the industry in this region for more than a decade, it has the local knowledge and depth of experience to know and understand what each guest's needs are in order to provide them with the best cruise experience in the region.
Aker Yards France begins building of the next generation NCL ships
The steel cutting for the first of NCL's third generation of new Freestyle Cruising ships, project name ”F3,” took place yesterday at Aker Yards S.A. in Saint Nazaire, France. Andy Stuart, NCL's Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Passenger Services, was assisted by representatives from America's Vacation Center and Direct Line Cruises in pushing the button that began the historic steel cutting. In addition, nearly 50 of NCL's President's Club members, representatives from the company's top travel partners, witnessed the event. ”Today's steel cutting marks a major milestone in NCL's history as we begin the construction of our first F3 ship in conjunction with Aker Yards,” said Colin Veitch, President and CEO of NCL Corporation. The F3 ships are the next phase in NCL's unique Freestyle Cruising, which offers vacationers a less structured, more relaxed, more resort-style experience than traditional cruising and is characterized by no fixed dining times, no formal dress codes and up to 10 different restaurants. The 150,000-ton ships will each total 4,200 passenger berths, representing the largest ships in NCL's fleet. The first ship is scheduled for delivery in January 2010.
Carnival appoints EVP of Marketing and Guest Experience
Ruben Rodriguez will join Carnival Cruise Lines as Executive Vice President of Marketing and Guest Experience effective October 29. Most recently he was a partner and Managing Director in the Miami office of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global strategy and management consulting firm. In his new role, Rodriguez will have overall responsibility for marketing, public relations, guest experience and product development. He will report to Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill.
KONE supplies elevators for second Genesis, fifth Tallink ferry
KONE has received a major order from Aker Yards for the design, supply and installation of all elevators in Royal Caribbean International's second Genesis cruise ship. KONE will also supply all elevators for Tallink's fifth new cruise ferry. Altogether, the orders consist of 53 custom designed elevators for an approximate value of EUR 15 million. ”With these two orders, KONE further strengthens its position as the market leader in vertical transportation for the international cruise ship segment,” says Heikki Leppänen, EVP, New Elevators and Escalators, KONE. ”We are consistently focusing on creating customer-oriented products and service solutions. This approach has once again played a big part in the booking of these orders.” The second Genesis will equal the first Genesis luxury cruise ship as the largest ever built. The ship will be 360 meters long and accommodate up to 5,400 passengers. It is scheduled to be completed in 2010. Tallink's Cruise 5 ship will be the third in a series of cruise ferries for the Baltic Sea and is scheduled to be completed in 2009. Both ships will be built in Finland.
Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard lays the keel of Costa Luminosa
Costa Crociereís expansion program is progresssing. Earlier today, a keel-laying ceremony of Costa Luminosa was held in Fincantieriís Marghera yard. It will be the 13th member of the Costa fleet and is due for delivery in spring 2009. The Costa Luminosa will be Panamax-size with 92,700 gross tons and 292 meters in length with accommodation for 2,260 passengers.
Cunard to build new Queen Elizabeth with delivery expected in 2010
Cunard Line has ordered a new 92,000-ton liner, to be named Queen Elizabeth and scheduled to enter service in the autumn of 2010.  Cunard, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc signed an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of the new 2092-passenger ocean liner, which will be built at Fincantieri's Monfalcone yard at an all-in cost of approximately $700 million.  The vessel will be the second largest Cunarder the company has ever built. ”Cunard already owns and operates the two most famous ocean liners in the world, Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2, and a third - Queen Victoria - is due to be named by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales, in December of this year,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line.  ”The decision to order another ship for Cunard Line has been taken as a result of the strong booking response to the new Queen Victoria, and we are extremely pleased that Cunard will once again become a three-ship fleet so soon after the departure of the much-celebrated Queen Elizabeth 2 in November next year.  Furthermore, we are delighted that Her Majesty The Queen has given her blessing to our calling this new Cunarder 'Queen Elizabeth', after our first vessel of that name.” The new ship follows a long line of famous Cunard liners stretching back to the company's inception as the first operator of a timetabled transatlantic service 167 years ago.
Port Everglades in serious negotiations as Genesis homeport
Port Everglades is in negotiation with Royal Caribbean International to homeport its 220,000 gross ton Genesis newbuilding, the port's Carlos Buquieras confirmed for Cruise Business Online today at the FCCA Conference in Cozumel, Mexico.  The plan is to ”supersize” the current Terminal 18 and build another facility north of that. The value of the required investment to homeport the Genesis would be around USD 35 million, including a new parking garage, multiple passenger loading bridges and required road alterations and construction. Currently the largest passenger vessel calling in Port Everglades is the Queen Mary 2, which is only 15 meters shorter than the Genesis. Port Everglades would be able to finish the required improvements and additions by September 2009.
Jamaica to open fourth port-of-call to accommodate Genesis
Jamaica is in the late planning stages to construct a new port-of-call in Falmouth, located between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. It will be the fourth cruise destination on the Caribbean island and will initially have a pier able to handle two Genesis-size newbuildings simultaneously. According to William Tatham of the Jamaica Port Authority, the island would rather create a new port-of-call than expand the present ones. This approach will provide a better passenger experience than having a multiple number of megaships call simultaneously at the same port, he told Cruise Business Online during the FCCA Conference in Cozumel, Mexico. Diana Block, Royal Caribbean's Vice President of Revenue Management and Deployment, told CBO that when Genesis enters service in late fall 2009, there will be at least six ports-of-call ready to accommodate her in the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
Say goodbye to Sovereign! The first ever modern megaship to join Pullmantur fleet
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will transfer Sovereign of the Seas to the company's Pullmantur fleet. Monarch of the Seas will assume Sovereign of the Seas' sailings out of Port Canaveral. These changes will take place in October and November 2008. ”We are fortunate that our mix of brands allows us the flexibility and opportunity to expand in key strategic markets and to diversify in existing ones,” said Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Adam Goldstein. ”We thank our partners at the ports of Los Angeles, Ensenada, Catalina and San Diego for our outstanding and ongoing relationship. We
look forward to providing our Monarch of the Seas guests with exceptional vacations as we visit those locations through next fall.” Sovereign of the Seas' last scheduled sailing for Royal Caribbean International will be on October 31, 2008. Two subsequent cruises, scheduled for November 3 and 7, will be canceled, and guests booked on those cruises will receive a full refund and an onboard credit for
rebooking an earlier Sovereign of the Seas sailing during 2008 (excluding holidays). All rebookings must be made by December 31, 2007. All guests currently booked on Sovereign of the Seas on or after November 10, 2008, will be re-accommodated onboard Monarch of the Seas.

Costa Maya against Mexico's proposed per-passenger cruise tax
Costa Mayaís president Teofilo Hamui announced today that Costa Mayaís port does not support the approval of the per-passenger cruise tax proposed by Mexicoís Federal Government. Hamui reaffirmed his position to dispel rumors circulating from last weekís Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference and Trade Show, held in Cozumel, Mexico. According to Hamui, the proposed taxation is still in discussion and has not been approved in any way by the necessary branches of Mexicoís Federal Government. The potential measure calls for the implementation of a per-passenger cruise tariff or head tax. ìWe do not support the measure in question and are currently not involved in the tax discussion,î said Hamui. ìCosta Maya is committed to continue serving the cruising industry with an innovative and rewarding experience for cruise passengers. Our main focus right now is rebuilding and raising the standards we previously set for ourselves.î In August 2007, the Costa Maya region and its port facilities were hit by category five, Hurricane Dean. The rehabilitation and improvement of Costa Mayaís port and Mahahual, the beachside town that surrounds Costa Maya, is currently underway. Costa Maya is planning a speedy recovery and intends to have cruise ships calling back to the port as early as September 2008.
Costa orders two more Concordia-class ships from Fincantieri
Costa Crociere, the leading cruise line in Italy and Europe, has announced an order for two new 114,200-ton ships to be delivered in 2011 and 2012. Costa Crociere S.p.a, the Italian subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc, signed an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri for the construction of the two new vessels at an all-in cost of approximately Ä1 billion (Ä510 million per ship). The two new ships will be built at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard and will be sister ships to the Costa Concordia, Costa Serena and Costa Pacifica, the latter of which is currently being built at Fincantieriís Sestri Ponente shipyard. The new ships will each be able to accommodate 3,780 passengers in total (including all upper berths) or 3,012 guests based on double occupancy.
Aker Yards executive Bo-Erik Blomqvist named SVP for Carnival Corporation
Bo-Erik Blomqvist, a 20-year cruise industry veteran, has been named senior vice president - corporate shipbuilding for Carnival Corporation & plc. Based at Carnival's Southampton, UK, offices, Blomqvist will begin February 1, 2008, and will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company's various newbuilding projects. He will report to Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison and Vice Chairman and COO Howard Frank. Blomqvist replaces Carnival's Senior Vice President - International Ian Gaunt who is retiring as a senior officer but will remain as outside
legal counsel for shipbuilding contracts and related matters. Blomqvist brings diverse experience to his new position at
Carnival. Most recently, he was deputy president - business area Cruise & Ferries at Aker Yards and positioned in France where he was responsible for the integration of the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard into the Aker Yards group and, before that, with Aker Yards in Finland.
Royal Caribbean reports record third quarter earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. yesterday reported record net income for the third quarter 2007 of $395.0 million, or $1.84 per share, compared to net income of $345.4 million, or $1.63 per share, in 2006. These results were better than expected mainly due to stronger late bookings driving better yields. Revenues for the third quarter 2007 increased to $2.0 billion from revenues of $1.6 billion in the third quarter 2006. The company also raised its EPS guidance for the year to the high end of its previous guidance despite higher crude oil prices. ”It was a very encouraging finish for the quarter and augurs well for upcoming periods,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO. ”It is very satisfying that, despite higher fuel prices and other challenges, we produced record results.”
South Korean STX invests in Aker Yards
South Korean shipbuilder has acquired a substantial (close to 40%) stake in Aker Yards. ”Following the announcement on Tuesday October 23rd regarding the new ownership situation in Aker Yards ASA, the Board of Directors is currently taking the new information into consideration,” Aker Yards said in a short statement. Chairman of the Board, Mr Svein Sivertsen states in a comment: ”We will now gather all relevant information in order to review the strategic alternatives available in order to maximize the value of Aker Yards. The Board's main task is to consider the interest of all shareholders.” STX is reportedly the 7th largest shipbuilder in the world.
Carnival Australia forecasts strong growth and high yields
Carnival Australia, the Sydney based unit in the Carnival Corp & PLC group, forecasts strong growth and high yields in the next few years ahead as it plans to widen further the range of cruise products on offer on the Australian market. It is possible that a Seabourn Cruise Line ship will be based in Australia in five years' time, said Ann Sherry, ceo of Carnival Australia. Seabourn is a luxury brand and it currently has three2000 passenger, 10,000 gross ton vessels in srvice. In addition, the company has ordered two 32,000 gross ton newbuildings with 450 beds each. She said the company plans to build up the higher end of the market that caters for older people and includes longer cruises. So far, the focus on the Australian market has been in serving the 20 year-plus clientle and on short cruises, a situation opposite to most other source markets. This means that there is a large, untapped potential for the cruise industry and this potential also offers very good yields, both in terms of ticket prices and on board spending, Sherry told Cruise Business. The Australian source market grew by 18% to some 250,000 passengers last year, putting it in size in the same category as France and Brazil. Sherry forecasts Carnival Australia's volume to double in the next three years and to double again from that by 2012. Princess Cruises' 77,441 gross ton Sun Princess is currently at a dry dock in Brisbane before it commences a series of cruises from next month, mainly operating out of Sydney, as the first Princess ship that will be based year-round in Australia. It will be complemented by sister ship Dawn Princess next year. Sister company P&O Cruises Australia will introduce the 70,000 gross ton Pacific Dawn next week as the biggest ship ever to operate under its houseflag.
MSC Orchestra to join Lirica in North America next winter season
MSC Cruises will be bringing two state-of-the-art ships ñ including one of its newest ñ to Fort Lauderdale for an exciting 2008-09 Caribbean season that features seven itineraries, 16 enchanting ports and the lineís first call in Bermuda, the company says in a statement. Guests can select itineraries that feature the tropical Deep Caribbean, the wonders of the Western Caribbean, the jewels of the Eastern Caribbean, the exotic Caribbean featuring Panama , the pink sand beaches of Bermuda as well as transatlantic voyages between Fort Lauderdale and some of Europe ís most intriguing ports of call. Cruise-only prices begin at $449 per person, double occupancy for the 7-night sailings and $699 per person, double occupancy for the 10-night sailings; government fees and taxes are additional. Most of the itineraries include visits to Cayo Levantado, the lineís private paradise experience in the Dominican Republic . MSC Lirica, which has sailed Caribbean waters for several seasons, will be joined by MSC Cruisesí newest ship MSC Orchestra, which debuted in 2007 and will be sailing her inaugural Caribbean season. At 92,400 gross tons, 196 feet high and 961 feet long, with 16 decks (13 of which are passenger decks), MSC Orchestra is the largest member of the lineís fleet to sail the Caribbean . It can carry 2,550 passengers (double occupancy) in 1,275 staterooms (80% outside staterooms, most with a private balcony). ìMSC Orchestra is ideally suited for the preferences of our American and Canadian guests,î says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA). ìIt is an elegant ship that epitomizes the lineís ëBeautiful. Passionate. Italian.í approach to cruising.îWith more than 236,800 square feet of public areas and 5 restaurants (LíIbiscus, Villa Borghese, La Piazzetta , Four Seasons, the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant ñ the only dedicated Chinese restaurant at sea), 10 bars (two of which are open air), 3 meeting and conference rooms, a 21-foot by 12-foot outdoor LED screen, and the 16,146 square feet for the Body and Mind Spa, MSC Orchestra represents the perfect combination of grace and style. MSC Orchestra will arrive in Fort Lauderdale Jan. 2, 2009. The following day she will begin sailing alternating 7-night roundtrip itineraries through April 18, 2009: Eastern Caribbean, calling at Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Johnís, Antigua; and Nassau, Bahamas, as well as two days at sea. Western Caribbean, calling at Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic, and two days at sea. A special 7-night roundtrip Bermuda sailing departs Fort Lauderdale April 25, 2009 and includes three days in Kingís Wharf, Bermuda and a day in Nassau , Bahamas , as well as two sea days. MSC Orchestra is scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale May 2, 2009 on an 18-night voyage that will include a two-day visit to New York before heading eastbound to Copenhagen . The itinerary includes calls at Ponta Delgado, Azores; Lisbon , Portugal ; Vigo , Spain ; La Coruna , Spain ; and Dover , England before arriving in Copenhagen on May 20, 2009.
Seabourn orders third ultra-luxury ship
A year after The Yachts of Seabourn announced that it would build two new, ultra luxury ships, advance booking activity for the first, Seabourn Odyssey, has led to the line's decision to exercise the option for another. The third sister ship will be built by T. Mariotti S.p.A. of Genoa, Italyfor delivery in summer, 2011. Seabourn, a division of Miami-based Carnival Corporation & plc, has agreed to the project at an all in cost of approximately Ä200 million. Seabourn Odyssey will debut in June of 2009. Bookings for its maiden season are being accepted from the general public starting today, after a successful advance booking period reserved for past guests of the line. The second ship in the series is scheduled to enter service in the summer of 2010. ”Our decision to order a third new ship is based partly on the enthusiasm we have already seen for our new ship design,” explained Seabourn's President & CEO, Pamela Conover. ”That enthusiasm, combined with research indicating a continuing robust expansion in demand for ultra luxury cruising in general, convinces us that we have the right formula at the right time,” she continued. That formula is embodied in the new, 32,000 gross ton ships, which will accommodate just 450 guests in 225 luxury suites, 90% of which will offer private verandas. The ships are specifically designed to achieve a balance between Seabourn's small-ship signatures, such as its highly personalized service, truly fine dining and exceptional delivery of destinations, with the added spaciousness, features and amenities that a larger ship will allow. Seabourn's guests will continue to enjoy an unmatched level of personalized service from a skilled and dedicated staff, and one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the industry.
Heavy workload hits Aker Yardsí third quarter profit
A continued heavy workload, particularly in the Cruise & Ferry business unit, resulted in a sharp but expected fall in net profit of Aker Yards in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. The figure fell to NOK12 million from NOK111 million on operational challenges. Measures are being introduced to tackle with operational challenges and local management at the three Finnish yards has been strengthened as part of these measures. The market for both panamax and post panamax cruise liners remains vibrant. Projects concerning possible orders for smaller cruise liners are also in progress, but the market for ferries has weakened from a year ago
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines take delivery of future Balmoral
Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL) has taken possession of its fifth ship, the 34,242 gross ton Norwegian Crown which was redelivered under the terms of the charter agreement by Star Cruises in New York on Monday, 5th November 2007. The vessel, which will eventually be renamed Balmoral, will sail across the Atlantic to Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH Hamburg where it will undergo an extensive refit and refurbishment.  It is expected to arrive in Hamburg in 10 days time, the company said in a statement. The major work to be done is the insertion of a 30 metre mid section which has already been constructed and is now in Hamburg awaiting the arrival of the ship.   Public areas will all be redesigned, and alterations in cabin accommodation includes the addition of balconies on several cabins and suites to bring it in line with the companyís other ships:  Black Watch, Braemar and Boudicca. Balmoral will sail on her inaugural cruise from Dover on 30th January 2008 on a 14 night cruise to the Canary Islands

Ambassadors International suffers fall in third quarter net profit
Ambassadors International, the niche cruise, marine services and events group, has reported pretax income of $4.6 million and net income of $0.4 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, for the third quarter ended September 30, 2007, compared to pretax income of $8.7 million and net income of $7.6 million, or $0.66 per diluted share, for the third quarter ended September 30, 2006. The company booked a $6.1 million loss from the grounding of Empress of the North in Alaska, but on the other hand, it will receive $4.6 million in insurance payment. ”Our costs and operating expenses increased $41.1 million in the third quarter of 2007 compared to the same period in 2006. Our cruise operating expenses and other selling, general and administrative and depreciation expenses associated with our cruise segment increased $30.3 million as a result of the increase in number of ships operated. In addition, cost of marine revenue increased $9.8 million related to revenues generated from our marine construction and shipyard operations which commenced during 2006,” the company said in a statement.

NCL and Bermuda announce long-term agreement
Norwegian Cruise Line and the Bermuda Government announced today that they have reached a comprehensive, long-term agreement that continues their longstanding relationship for the next 10 years, commencing in 2009 and running through 2018. Under the agreement, the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Spirit and 2,200-passenger Norwegian Dawn will depart predominantly from New York and Boston and will each sail at least 22 cruises per season. The combined itineraries of the two vessels will provide for overnights in Bermuda from Sunday through Friday. The agreement calls for NCL to continue through the 10-year term its tradition of being the exclusive line to sail from Boston to Bermuda. ìOur commitment to Bermuda in 2009 represents one-fifth of our summer deployment,î notes NCL President and CEO Colin Veitch. NCLís 2009 Bermuda deployment also includes the Norwegian Majesty. This 10-year agreement follows NCLís announcement in May of its largest deployment to Bermuda in the companyís history with 2008 itineraries from five East Coast cities.

Pacific Dawn named as Carnival Australia moves on high gear
P&O Cruises Australia celebrated the naming of its largest vessel yet on Thursday, 8 November, when Olympic gold medalist Cathy Freeman named the 70,000 gross ton Pacific Dawn in Sydney. The ship, built in 1991 as Regal Princess of sister company Princess Cruises, will effectively replace the 35,190 gross ton, 1981 built Pacific Star that has been sold to Pullmantur, the Spanish unit of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. However, Carnival Australia, which operates Carnival Corp & PLC brands in the country, will receive another major boost in its fleet this month, when the 77,441 gross ton Sun Princess will commence cruises from Australian ports year-round. It will remain under the Princess Cruises house flag and be supported by sister vessel Dawn Princess next year.

Two Queen Elizabeths on the high seas in seven yearsí time
In the year 2014, there should be two large ships that are both called the Queen Elizabeth and that fly the British flag. The first one to enter service is the 92,000 gross ton Cunard Line cruise ship that was ordered last month from Fincantieri in Italy that will be delivered in 2010. Cunard Line has had a ship with the same name before: the first Queen Elizabeth was a turbine steamer that was completed in 1940 and served the company for 28 years. Four years after the new Cunard ship, the Royal Navy is scheduled to commission the 65,000 ton displacement aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. It is the first of two new fleet carriers on order for the British navy and the second unit, to be called HMS Prince of Wales, will enter service in 2016. Both will carry about 40 combat aircraft. There has been one warship called Queen Elizabeth in the Royal Navy in the past ñ this was a 33,000 ton displacement battleship built in 1915 and the lead ship in a class of five similar ships that carried eight 15 inch guns.

ABB centralises Azipod production to new premises
ABB, the Swiss-Swedish electrotechnical group,  has centralised its know-how around the Azipod electric podded propulsor in a new purpose-built production plant in the harbour area of Vuosaari, Helsinki. The factory investment of more than Ä30 million includes about 10 000 square meters of production and office premises. The new factory was inaugurated on 9 November by Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki. The factory optimizes production of the electric Azipod propulsion systems, improving efficiency and doubling the assembly and testing capacity. Centralizing all special skills within the same facilities will improve internal communication and the ability to meet the demands of an increasing number of customers. The location in the Vuosaari harbour is logistically excellent since the propulsion units can be loaded directly on a freighter to be shipped all around the world. The Marine unit of ABB Finland employs 200 persons in production development, project planning, maintenance and production of electric propulsion and power systems. This year the unit has recruited dozens of professionals. At the moment, 20 engineers are being sought for specialist and management tasks, ABB said in a statement.

Carnival and Oceania introduce fuel surcharges
High cost of bunkers has lead Carnival Corp & PLC to introduce a fuel surcharge for its North American brands and Oceania Cruises has decided to follow suit. On 7 November, Carnival said Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn have announced they will implement a fuel supplement of $5 per person per day. ìThe fuel supplement, which only applies to the first and second guests in a stateroom and will not exceed $70 per person per voyage, is effective on all bookings for voyages departing on or after Feb. 1, 2008,î Carnival said in a statement. ”Earlier this year, we implemented a supplement for our European brands. We had hoped to avoid a similar supplement for our North American brands but with the price of oil approaching $100 a barrel this is no longer possible. The implementation of the fuel supplement beginning February 1 for our North American brands will result in consumers paying approximately one-third of our year-over-year fuel cost increases over the first six months of the fiscal year,” chairman and ceo Micky Arison said in the statement. Oceania Cruises said on 12 November it is implementing a fuel surcharge of $7 per guest per day for all reservations that are not paid in full by December 1, 2007. The surcharge applies to all currently publishedsailings through April 2009. ”At the time that we set our current pricing, oil was trading at approximately $60 per barrel and it is now quickly approaching $100 per barrel. This is the first time we have implemented a surcharge and I hope our guests will understand the root cause of this necessaryaction,” stated Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises.

Cruise giants defy uncertain economic outlook, analyst reports say
The outlook for the cruise industry giants Carnival Corp & PLC and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd  appears to be brightening despite an otherwise uncetain economic outlook,  analyst reports recently posted on say. Analysts at Wachovia Securities initiate coverage of Carnival Corporation, the US based constituent of the group, with an ”outperform” rating, while analysts at Lehman Brothers upgrade Carnival from ”equal weight” to ”overweight.” The target price has been raised from $52 to $55. In a research note published yesterday, the analysts mention that net yields are likely to continue to improve at least through the first half of 2008. The Caribbean trends are stabilizing, and Carnival faces easy comps in 2008, the analysts say. The companyís booking curve appears to have substantially widened, and robust momentum continues in European cruises, Lehman Brothers adds. In a research note published on October 5, analysts at Matrix Research upgrade Carnival Corporation from ”sell” to ”hold.” Analyst Felicia R Hendrix of Lehman Brothers maintains her ”overweight” rating on RCCL while raising her estimates for the company. The target price has been raised from $47 to $50. In a research note published this morning, the analyst mentions that the company has posted robust overall results for third quarter 2007, with EPS and net yields ahead of the estimates. RCCL has raised the low-end of its EPS guidance for 2007 from $2.75-$2.85 to $2.80-$2.85. The companyís net yield growth is expected to improve through the remainder of 2007 and in first half of next year, in view of positive demand trends in the Caribbean, Lehman Brothers adds. The EPS estimates for 2007 and 2008 have been raised from $2.75 to $2.84 and from $3.05 to $3.24, respectively.

NCL to introduce $7 per day fuel supplement
NCL Corporation says both its Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and NCL America brands will introduce a $7 per day per person fuel surcharge for the first and second passenger in each cabin. For the third and fourth person, the charge will be $3 each per day. The surcharges will affect all new bookings made after 1 December, the company said in a statement.

Heavy foreign exchange loss drags Star Cruises' third quarter interims to red
Foreign exchange losses arising from a weak dollar against a strong euro dragged the third quarter net result of Star Cruises to a loss of $21.3M compared to a profit of $60.4M in the same quarter last year. However, net revenue, yield and occupancy ratio at NCL Group, in which the private equity group Apollo has agreed to acquire a 50% interest, all improved from a year ago. On the group level, Star Cruisesí capacity increased by 6.3% to 2.9 million passenger days, while net revenue incresed by 9.8% and net revenue yield rose 3.3%. Offsetting these improvements in oiperations, the group suffered a $43.4 million loss on foreign exchange against a profit of $26.0 million a year earlier. NCL Group reported a 9.2% rise in net revenue, 6.3% improvement in net revenue yield and a 2.8% rise in capacity. Occupancy ratio also rose, to 111.2% from 107.8%. The picture was somewhat less promising at Star Cruisesí operations excluding NCL, where the introduction of Super Sat Aquarius increased capacity by 21.4% and revenue by 9.8%, but net yield fell 7.2%
NCL upbeat as both Caribbean and Hawaii show signs of recovery
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the cruise shipping group in which the private equity firm Apollo has agreed to inject $1 billion in new equity, is on track to recovery after a difficult period. ìNCL Groupís recent forward booking activity has been positive. Pricing in the Caribbean has stabilised and is improving. In addition, the measures that NCL Group has taken with respect to its Hawaii operations seem to be having a positive impact,î parent company Star cruises said in a statement.  ìThese improvements have contributed to the overall fourth quarter booking levels and ticket prices being up versus levels achieved at the same time last year. As a result, NCL Group expects that the change in net yields for the full year 2007 will be positive,î Star said.

Hurtigruten to unveil restructuring plan after interims weaken

High cost of fuel, finance and the introduction of Nox charge in Norway hurt the third quarter interim result of Hrtigruten, the Norwegian passenger transport group. The company that is best known for its service along the west coast of Norway and expedition cruises and which also operates local ferries and coaches, reported a third quarter pre tax profit of NOK 141 million, down from NOK196 million in the same period last year. Managing Director Olav Fjell said in a statement that the company that introduced the 11,647 gross ton expedition cruise liner Fram in the summer will seek to increase the efficiency of its organisation both in Norway and abroad. The company plans to publish concrete targets and measures regarding this before the end of the year, he said. Hurtigruten has a relatively weak balance sheet with equity only accounting for 22.4% of it.

Wartsila and V.Ships in technical and ship management venture
Wärtsilä, a leading supplier of ship machinery, propulsion, manoeuvring solutions and services and V.Ships a  leading ship management company, have agreed to cooperate on the provision of a broad spectrum of marine technical services to third parties in the marine market, Wartsila said in a statement.  Drawing on Wärtsilä's strengths as a supplier of highly rated ship machinery and systems and V.Ships' proven success at recruiting and training senior officers and technicians, the partners plan to offer an integrated portfolio of services that encompasses the full lifecycle of ship's machineries at competitive cost. The new partnership offering of Ship and Technical Management Services embrace technical supervision, machinery maintenance planning, conditioned based maintenance and planning, software updates, training programs, spare parts and labour, logistics and accounting for technical management. The shortage of skilled labour and the increasing complexity of ship machinery represent a challenge for the marine industry. Wärtsilä and V.Ships' partnership is a strong alliance of expertise that will provide skilled labour, who are continuously trained and supported by state of the art logistic and management organisation. ”Our alliance with Wärtsilä is another good example of how we are realising one of our core strategies: to work closely with key business partners to develop innovative service offerings for existing clients and to attract new customers. After many years of managing ships powered by its equipment, we know Wärtsilä well. Our two companies are highly compatible and well-suited for collaboration. This follows closely our announcement in October of V.Funds, our strategic ship finance partnership with Merrill Lynch,” commented Donald Anderson, CEO of V.Group, parent of V.Ships. ”Capitalising on its expertise in several areas and strengths in advance monitoring and management methods, Wärtsilä ensures highest quality of technical services and crew training to the latest technologies and standards. The partnership with V.Ships will guarantee the best technical and economical performances of the ship equipment and peace of mind for customers,” said Mr Tage Klockars, Director Wärtsilä Operations & Management Services.  ”Through this agreement Wärtsilä reaches new height in technical management services for marine applications and creates new business opportunities. It is aligned with our vision to become the most valued business partner of all our customers and demonstrates our steadfast efforts to provide the best services in the industry during the whole lifecycle,” added Tage Blomberg, Group VP, Wärtsilä Corporation, Services.
Voyages of Discovery and RCCL score awards in UK
Voyages of Discovery and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) have scored in two separate contents for awards in the UK. Voyages of Discovery has scooped 'Favourite Niche Cruise Line' at the annual British Travel Awards. Announced at a ceremony, which is held post-WTM at the Battersea Marquee in London, the award was voted for by the travelling public. ”We're delighted that the travelling public has recognised the originality and creativity of our 'discovery' brand of cruising. Our continued success is earned by listening to customers and constantly striving to offer a diverse range of voyages to off-the-beaten-track destinations, all of which are enriched by our excellent programme of informal talks onboard. Our winter 2008/9 programme reflects our regular passenger's requests for more destinations, with exciting new ports of call in South Africa and the Indian Ocean,” said managing directgor David Yellow. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL)is the winner of a Silver Award in the annual E-Learning Awards of the E-Learning Network. The E-Learning Awards span all areas of trade and industry and are recognised globally as indicators of excellence in training and development. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line received the Silver Award in the category for ëexcellence in the production of learning contentí. Jo Rzymowska, managing director, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, UK and Ireland said: ìThe E-Learning award celebrates the first-class Cruising for Excellence Online training programmes for agents from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. In fact, we beat off competition from the training providers for organisations such as Learning and Teaching Scotland, Vodaphone and the Metropolitan Police. Not only do agents have access to the best training tools in the travel industry, it is one of the leading training programmes in the UK across all industry sectors.î  RCCL's  Cruising for Excellence Online training modules were launched in April 2005, and have been updated and enhanced ever since to improve the interactivity, learning experiences and effectiveness. The 2007 E- Learning Awards had nearly 50 shortlisted organisations competing for 11 prestigious awards. The category in which Royal Caribbean Cruise Line was successful - ëexcellence in the production of learning contentí ñ was the most competitive in the awards with the highest number of nominations, 26 in total.

Aida Cara receives facelift and new coating to save fuel
Aida Cara of  Carnival Corp & PLCís German unit Aida Cruises has finished a two-week dry docking period at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, where the 38,600 gross ton ship underwent scheduled servicing and maintenance work in the drydock. An efficient new underwater silicone coating was applied to the hull that will help to reduce frictional resistance through anti fouling effect and hence reduce fuel consumption. The 1996 built ship received new furniture, carpets and sliding glass doors were fitted, while the suites had their bathrooms modernised. For the work on the interior approximately 200 sub-contractors from Germany were taken on board, the company said in a statement. The dry dock visit also included substantial work in the technical areas. The ship is now on its way to Dubai, from where it wil make a series of cruises over the winter period.

Pacific Sun on first cruise from Brisbane as business grows in Australia
P&O Cruisesí Pacific Sun has arrived in its new home town of Brisbane, claiming the title of the largest ship ever to be based in Queensland as demand for cruise holidays continues to surge, the company says in a statement. The 47,000 gross ton ship berthed at the Portside Wharf at Hamilton early on 17 November  and left  on her first Brisbane cruise later the same afternoon, carrying 1900 passengers on a seven-night South Pacific holiday. Pacific Sunís move to Brisbane represents a 40 per cent increase in P&O Cruisesí capacity in the Queensland market. The shipís little sister, the 1350-passenger Pacific Star, has now moved from Brisbane to Auckland before she leaves the fleet in March 2008. Stretching 223 metres from bow to stern, Pacific Sun features 743 cabins ñ almost two thirds of which have ocean views ñ and multiple entertainment areas over nine decks. Commenting on Pacific Sunís deployment, Ann Sherry, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said it was testament to the growing popularity of cruising in Queensland. ìP&O Cruises has had one of its ships calling Queensland home since November 2004 and weíve seen some dramatic growth in the local cruise market in that time,î Sherry said. ìNot only have Queenslanders been keen to cruise from their doorstep, our seven-night voyages from Brisbane have also proved a winner with interstate passengers and holidaymakers from New Zealand who love Queenslandís close proximity to South Pacific destinations.îMs Sherry said many interstate and international visitors were combining their cruise holidays with a short stay on the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast, generating even greater benefits for both Queensland tourism and the economy.Latest research supplied by Tourism Queensland showed that the 2006-07 cruise season was worth $132.6 million to the Stateís economy ñ a nine-fold increase from 2001 when the industry was estimated to be worth just $14 million.Sailing more than 40 cruises from Brisbane through to January 2009, Pacific Sun will offer a huge choice of itineraries to ports dotted throughout the South Pacific and north Queensland, including tropical islands in Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia, the stunning Whitsundays, Cairns and Port Douglas.
MSC Cruises to introduce $6 per day fuel surcharge on 1 December
MSC Cruises joined the league of cruise lines that have decided to introduce a fuel surcharge in the face of record high oil prices. ìIn recent months, fuel prices have reached levels that make it impossible for us to offset them, particularly given the already attractive cruise offers we extend to our valued guests,î says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA).   To make the new policy fair to MSC Cruisesí North American guests and easy for the lineís agent partners to administer, the line will protect existing bookings on all voyages that have guest names and are under deposit by Nov. 30, 2007, the company said in a statement.  The non-commissionable fuel surcharge of $6 per guest per day will only apply to new bookings made Dec. 1, 2007 and onwards and will be applicable only on cruise departures after Feb. 1, 2008. No surcharge will be levied on third and fourth passengers in the same stateroom.  ìThis was a very difficult decision for us to make,î says Sasso. ìThe surcharge only represents a small portion of the increase in fuel prices and we look forward to the day when fuel prices stabilize to a level that will allow us to eliminate this supplement. We also want to particularly express our appreciation to our loyal guests and professional travel agent partners for their understanding and continued support.î
”Advance Australia Fair” - Dawn Princess to be based year-round in Sydney
The rapidly expanding Australian cruise market received a further boost today as Princess Cruises said it had decided to post the 77,441 gross ton Dawn Princess in Australia on a year-round basis.  Dawn Princess that has 1,950 lower berths will be based in Sydney from November 2008, whereby three 70,000 gross ton plus ships, until recently described as ìmegaships,î will serve the Australian market. Sun Princess that entered the Australian market on year round basis earlier this month is of similar size as Dawn Princess, will be based in Fremantle in Western Australia for five months. ”The demand for Sun Princessí 2008 inaugural season of cruises from Fremantle has been nothing short of fantastic, which is why weíve decided to deploy the ship in Western Australia for an even longer season in 2009,î said Ann Sherry ceo of Carnival Australia. In addition, sister company of Princess, P&O Cruises Australia, operates the 70,000 gross ton Pacific Dawn that was introduced earlier this month from Sydney. It also has another ship, the 47,262 gross ton Pacific Sun, which has been positioned to Brisbane in Queensland.

P&O Cruises elevates cruise experience with 67 changes
P&O Cruises in the UK has added 67 product enhancements to make the holiday experience more memorable for its passengers. The new initiatives and refinements are part of a multi-million pound programme called Elevation and designed to further improve the entire passenger experience on the companyís  fleet of five ships,  rising to six with the introduction of the 115,000 gross ton Ventura next April. All passengers will be welcomed to their cabins by a single stem flower in a stylish vase and a selection of confectionary in a bon-bon dish, both items are being created by leading designer Nick Munro. Children on board will not be left out with an in-cabin welcome, including specially designed duvet covers, balloon and sweets. All executive chefs have been inducted in the prestigious international society, Chaine des Rotisseurs, and will be adding more gala dinners. Master of Wine, Conal Gregory, has shared his extensive knowledge to encourage passengers to become wine savvy. As one of only 257 masters of wine in the world, he has trained P&O Cruises wine stewards to ensure passengers are pairing the right wines with certain foods and keeping them up to date with wine/grape trends. Golf fans are also in for a treat on board Arcadia, Oceana and Aurora as new golf coaching is available and escorted trips are available to golf courses around the world. New shore excursions have been added to include once in a lifetime experiences, such as an evening concert and after hours visit to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, or a salmon safari in Stavanger, plus specially designed family tours. P&O Cruises head of brand marketing Philip Price said: ìTodayís cruise passenger is looking to step away from everyday life and to have new experiences. It is not always the big things that make the difference, itis also the little things.

Explorer abandoned off southern Argentina after ”hitting an object”
Passengers and crew members are being rescued from a sinking cruise liner off Argentina's coast.The 2,400 gross ton Explorer is reported to have hit an object in the Antarctic Ocean, near the South Shetland Islands, the BBC says on its news website.Andy Cattrell, of the Falmouth Coastguard in the UK, said about 100 passengers and 54 crew members have been evacuated and are in lifeboats.  The master and the chief officer are understood to have remained on board the vessel, which was built in 1969.  Cattrell said the weather conditions were ”fairly good” for this time of year, but it would be cold.The master  and his first officer are still on board the vessel, which currently has a 25 degree list, said the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).  The agency said it was informed at 0524 GMT on Friday of the incident involving the 2,400-tonne vessel.  A rescue operation is being co-ordinated by the US Coastguard in Norfolk, Virginia, with the authorities in Ushuaia, Argentina.  Another ship called Antarctic Dream, which is in the area, has been diverted to help the rescue, the BVBS reported.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Barbuda scores as one of five undiscovered Caribbean islands on MSN site poll
The popular MSN web site has featured Barbuda as one of its five undiscovered islands of the Caribbean. A few days ago the sister island was highlighted on the popular web site for its natural attributes as one of the beautiful and untouched gems of the Caribbean. ìOther Caribbean islands with beaches like Barbudaís are colonised with big resorts. Not so on Antigua lesser-known sister atoll 25 miles to the northeast, which remains almost as unspoiled today as it was when Christopher Columbus discovered it in 1493,î the web site noted. ìThe Codrington family may have something to do with its pristine condition: They limited development when they leased the island from 1685 to 1870, a policy thatís endured, even though all thatís left of their tenure are a couple of ruins and a tiny hamlet (the islandís only village) bearing the family name,î the feature continued, as it told a little of the islandís history.  ìFew islands allow you to completely unplug from it all like this one, where the most common activity is beachcombing for tiny pastel-pink shells,î the web site further stated.  It said with a population of around 1,500 and only two beach resorts ìyou can count on monopolising miles of deserted pink- and white-sand beaches; snorkelling and diving amid 150 offshore shipwrecks; gazing at the many species of birds at the Frigate Bird Sanctuary; and walking the handful of streets that comprise rustic Codrington.î
”South Korea can produce cruise ship by 2012” - Fincantieri's Bono
South Korea may be able to produce a cruise liner in about four yearsí time, a senior Italian shipbuilding executive has pointed out. ìWe think South Korea can produce a cruise ship by 2012,î said Giuseppe Bono, ceo of Fincantieri, the Italian state owned shipbuilding group, according to Fairplay Daily News. Bono spoke at the delivery ceremony of the Cunard liner Queen Victoria and his words were echoed by Romano Prodi, the Italian prime minister, who urged the privatisation of the company. ìThe listing has become urgent to provide the shipyard with the necessary resources to meet its targets and avoid losing ground against the mounting competition from South Korea,î Prodi was quoted as saying. The possibility of competition from South Korea has become a more urgent issue for cruise ship builders in Europe after STX Corporation, the fifth largest South Korean shipyard group, acquired a 39% stake in Aker Yards in October.
UK cruise market growth exceeds forecast
The UK cruise market will grow by 11% yo 1.35 million passengers this year, slightly more than the 1.25 million forecast earlier this year, figures from the industry organissation Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show. Bill Gibbons, director of the PSA, has also predicted 2008 will be a boom year with 1.55 million people taking a cruise - up 14% on 2007. Several new ships will enter service on the British market next year, including P&O Cruisesí 115,000 gross ton Ventura and Royal Caribbean Internationalís 158,000 gross ton Independence of the Seas. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Easy Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises are also among the companies that will introduce ships new to the UK market in 2008.

Independence of the Seas to be completed two weeks early, RCI unveils two more cruises
Royal Caribbean International (RCI) has announced that its newest ship, Independence of the Seas, will be coming into service two weeks earlier due to works being completed ahead of schedule at Aker Yards Finland. The announcement means that the cruise line will be able to offer an additional two sailings on board the new ship from the beginning of May 2008, providing guests with even more opportunities to enjoy everything that the ship will have to offer, RCI said. Jo Rzymowska, managing director of Royal Caribbean International, UK and Ireland, commented, ìThe fact that this will be the first time we will have a Royal Caribbean International new-build based in Europe is exciting news, and now we have the fantastic confirmation that Independence of the Seas will be arriving two weeks earlier than anticipated. The extra couple of weeks provide our trade partners with further opportunities to earn commission, particularly over the peak booking period during the festive season and in the New Year. This complements our Turn Of Year campaign which has launched earlier than ever before.î The two additional sailings include a four night Cork cruise that departs on 2nd May 2008 and an 11 night Canary Island cruise that departs on 6th May 2008. For guests who have already booked onto the inaugural sailing on the 17th May, Royal Caribbean International is offering them first chance to move at no additional cost to the new maiden voyage on 2nd May, incorporating exactly the same itinerary (Southampton ñ Cork ñ Southampton).


Any guest wanting to change to the new date should contact the cruise line by Wednesday 12 December in order for their booked stateroom to be re-protected on the new sailing date. Royal Caribbean International is writing to all its trade partners to fully explain the changes and to provide details on re-booking any client that wishes to switch to the earlier sailing. The new sailings are live for re-booking from Friday 7th December 2007.


After a Nordic inaugural celebration in April 2008, Independence of the Seas will arrive in the UK on Friday 25th April with UK celebrations taking place from 26th ñ 30th April in Southampton which will be attended by hundreds of travel agents, key industry figures, Royal Caribbean Internationalís main partners, and for the first time, consumers.


The additional 11-night Canary Islands cruise departing Southampton on 6th May 2008 calls at Madeira (Funchal ñ Portugal), Tenerife (Canary Islands), Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), Lazarote (Canary Islands), Lisbon (Portugal) and Vigo (Spain).


RCI to base two Genesis ships in Ft Lauderdale
Royal Caribbean International (RCI), the contemporary market cruise brand owned and operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said it will be homeporting its two new 5,400-passenger ”Project Genesis” vessels in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The agreement between Royal Caribbean and Broward County is expected to be finalized by the cruise line company's Board of Directors and the Broward County Commission on or before December 19, 2007.  RCI's Project Genesis ships will be the largest cruise ships ever constructed. The first of the 220,000-gross-registered-ton ships is scheduled to begin sailing year-round from Port Everglades in late 2009, with the second sister ship to begin year-round sailings one year later. Each Project Genesis ship, being constructed at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, is projected to generate approximately 584,000 in passenger traffic annually at Port Everglades. ”We look forward to growing our outstanding relationship with Port Everglades,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, RCI. ”It's very exciting to see our plans come together for these two amazing ships. The bold designs, daring innovations and technological advancements planned for these ships will thrill our loyal guests and help generate new devotees to our brand.”  As part of the agreement, Royal Caribbean will reimburse up to $37.4 million in capital expenditures for expansion and related infrastructure needs of Terminal 18, which is already one of the largest cruise passenger terminals worldwide. Along with sister brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, Royal Caribbean International will generate approximately 17 million in passenger volume (embarking and disembarking) at Port Everglades during the first 10-year term of the contract.  ”Royal Caribbean has achieved great success with its year-round sailing schedule at Port Everglades,” said Port Everglades Director Phillip C. Allen. ”Now we can expect an average of 3.6 times more Royal Caribbean passengers, which is phenomenal.” An economic impact study conducted by Martin and Associates as part of the Port Everglades Master/Vision Plan, projects that homeporting the Genesis ships at Port Everglades will create more than 3,844 jobs, generate $172 million in personal income and $15.9 million state and local taxes. In addition, the analysis anticipates that more than 858 new construction jobs will be created during Terminal 18 expansion.

Three RCCL brands introduce fuel surcharge in Europe
 In an effort to deal with the sharp increase in fuel prices, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) have announced the implementation of a fuel supplement for its customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa of £2.50/ Ä3.50 per guest per day for all new bookings made on or after 10 December 2007 for sailings that depart on or after 1 February 2008.  ìI thank our guests for understanding our need to implement this fuel supplement,î said Brian Rice, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  ìWe have gone to great lengths to minimize the impact of rising fuel costs, for example, designing and building more fuel-efficient ships, installing energy-saving lighting, and using air conditioning more efficiently.  Unfortunately, as fuel prices have reached record highs, we are forced to take this extraordinary step to offset those costs.î The charge will involve three Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.  Existing bookings, those made prior to 10 December 2007 and those that depart prior to 1 February 2008, will not be affected.  The supplement will apply only to the first and second guests in each stateroom and will not exceed £35/Ä49 per person, per sailing.


The supplement will assist the company in offsetting the widespread increases in fuel prices, which have more than doubled in recent years.  The supplement will be periodically reviewed, with the intent of being temporary, and may be adjusted as fuel prices fluctuate.

ABP to build fourth cruise terminal in Southampton
Associated British Ports (ABP) will build a fourth cruise terminal in Southampton following a 20-year deal with Carnival UK regarding the use of the facilities in the soith of England city, theSouthern Daily Echo reports on its website.The terminal, which will cost £19 million,will be built in the eastern docks on berth 46 and 47, will be the city's fourth and lands Southampton the title of busiest turnaround cruise port in Europe, the paper said.Work is expected to start in the spring next year and the terminal to be operational by 2009. The new terminal will be located at berths 46-47 on the eastern side of the Ocean Dock, between the current day City Cruise Terminal and the Queen Elizabth II terminal. This means that passenger shipping will return to the site after a gap of more than quarter of a century: an art deco style buiding that was called the Ocean Terminal and which served e.g. Cunard Lineís first Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth opened for business here in 1950. It was demolished in 1983 after several years of little use. ABP expects the number of passengers using Southampton to exceed 1 million next year, while the 2007 figure is estimated in the region of 830,000.

MSC Cruises teams up with F1 racing
MSC Cruises will be a supporter of the 2008 FIA Formula 1 World Championships and it will be featured as a trackside advertiser at four 2008 Grand Prix events:  Grand Prix of Spain (Catalunya, April 27), Grand Prix of France (Magny-Cours, June 22), Grand Prix of Germany (Hockenheim, July 20), Grand Prix of Brazil (S„o Paulo, Nov. 2). In addition to adding visibility to the MSC Cruises brand, this agreement will also allow MSC Cruises to welcome guests into the invitation-only VIP area known as the Paddock Club.  ìThrough our new involvement in Formula 1ô events, MSC Cruises proves to be a leader in every field,î declares Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises. ìOur growth can be measured not only in terms of fleet but also by our decision to sponsor leading events like this one. It reinforces our image and gives emphasis to our position on the market.î Patrick McNally, CEO of Allsport Management, welcomed MSC Cruises, saying, ìIt is fitting that a leader in the cruise industry, known for the quality and glamour of its product, looks to Formula 1ô to bring additional exposure to their brand. We are delighted to welcome MSC Cruises as a new trackside advertiser.î Participation in this important sporting event, which is followed by millions of people around the world, offers the line significant exposure. It is through this effort that the line hopes to expose more consumers to MSC Cruises and drive them to travel agents selling MSC Cruise

RCCL and TUI unveil TUI Cruises, three ships in service in 2012
The German travel and shipping company TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) have announced the launch a new joint venture serving the German cruise market. ”The new company, TUI Cruises, will begin service with one ship, in early 2009, and grow quickly with two newbuilds planned for 2011 and 2012.  Sales and marketing will commence earlier in Spring 2008.  Both partners will hold a 50 percent interest in the joint venture, which is subject to regulatory and board approvals before completion, RCCL saidThe first ship to operate under the TUI Cruises brand will undergo renovations before entering service. Once deployed, it will not only enhance the German cruise market, but also meet the sophisticated needs of German-speaking customers seeking a contempo-rary/premium cruise experience.  The onboard product will be custom-tailored to German tastes, and encompass food, entertainment and amenities.  German will be the language used onboard as well. ìWe are very pleased by our new partnership and our new partner,î said TUI AG CEO Dr. Michael Frenzel. ìRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is truly a leader in the cruise vaca-tion industry, and TUI Cruises will greatly benefit from its expertise.  By collaborating with Royal Caribbean, we gain access to a very profitable growth market, a year earlier than we had envisioned,î he added. RCCL is the second largest cruise shipping group with a fleet of 35 ships. TUI owns Hapag-Lloyd, the container shipping and cruise operator in Germany plus 51% of the shares in TUI Travel PLC, a London based listed company that has five ships on the British market under the Thomson Cruises houseflag and another two under that of Island Cruises, a 50/50 joint venture with RCCL.

Apollo buys Regent and forms holding company
Carlson and Apollo Management L.P. (Apollo) today announced that Apollo has agreed to acquire Carlson's Regent Seven Seas Cruises operations. The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2008, subject to normal conditions for a transaction of this type, including regulatory approval The cruise operations will continue as a key part of the global Regent brand. Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises will be placed under the ownership of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc. (PCH), a corporation controlled by Apollo which will manage certain cruise portfolio assets of Apollo. NCL Corporation will remain a separate holding outside of PCH. Regent Seven Seas Cruises will remain a wholly independent brand under the guidance of Mark Conroy, president of Regent Seven Seas Cruises,and will continue to operate from its Fort Lauderdale, Florida headquarters, and Oceania Cruises will remain in its Miami headquarters, headed by Bob Binder, president of Oceania Cruises. Both Binder and Conroy will report directly to Frank Del Rio, chairman and CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings. The transaction is part of a unified strategy undertaken by Apollo and Carlson to expand their respective core cruise and hotel operations, and become the world's pre-eminent operators of luxury hotels, resorts andcruises. Carlson will retain ownership of the master Regent brand, along with the worldwide operations of Regent Hotels & Resorts

Costa adds second ship in Asia as Costa Classica heads east
Costa Cruises, the leading cruise line in Italy and Europe, will introduce the 53,000 gross ton Costa Classica in Asia. The move comes 18 months after it started operations there with the 28,000 gross ton Costa Allegra. ìWith this second cruise ship in the Asian market, Costa will offer nearly 55,000 additional berths with a total of over 60 cruises, thus bringing its overall capacity in the region to 85,000 berths. Since Costa began operations in the Far East, more than 50,000 guests have sailed on the Costa Allegra on a total of approximately 100 cruises,î the company said in a statement. Costa Allegra will offer 30 cruises from November 2008 through November 2009, some of which will be 14-day cruises, with departures from Hong Kong and Singapore on itineraries visiting some of the most exciting ports of call in the region. Meanwhile, the Costa Classica will be deployed from March 27 through November 7, 2009 on 33 cruises lasting between four and 14 days, with departures out of Singapore, Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong on itineraries offering the finest destinations in several Asian countries.As is currently the case, the product will be aimed both at the Chinese clientele, who are responding to Costaís product in ever-increasing numbers, and to international cruisers, including customers from other Asian countries, and Australia, where Far East cruises have a special appeal.

Carnival orders two new ships for AIDA, increases the size of the fourth
Carnival Corporation & plc has ordered two 71,000 gross ton cruise ships for its AIDA Cruises brand, which caters exclusively to the German-speaking market. These two newbuilds mark six new ships that the German cruise operator has ordered in just the past three years. The 2,174-passenger vessels, which will be built at Meyer Werft shipyard at an all-in cost of Ä380 million and Ä385 million, are scheduled to enter service in April 2011 and May 2012, respectively. Additionally, the company announced that it has contracted with Meyer Werft to increase the size of the fourth vessel in the series, set to debut in April 2010, to 71,000 tons with a passenger capacity of 2,174, making it a sister to the two ships ordered today.
Aker Yards ferry delivery schedule revised in Finland
As a result of the continued very heated situation in the shipbuilding industry, and continued high loading in the Finnish
operations, the delivery program for ferries in Finland has been further revised. Several of the projects will be delivered some weeks or months later than planned. As when the delivery plan is been shifted, the project estimates have been revised accordingly, and results for 2007 and 2008 will be impacted. Further, the Board of Directors has decided to evaluate a possible spin-off of the business area Offshore & Specialized Vessels in order to enhance shareholder values.
The Finnish operations of Aker Yards have taken losses in 4Q on its order book by NOK 400 million, lowering the expected result for Aker Yards in 2007 to approximately NOK 500 million EBITDA. The net profit is estimated at about NOK 350 million. The losses in Finland will have a diluting effect on margins in 2008. The margin level on cruise vessels in Finland has also been revised downwards. The combined effect gives an estimated EBITDA margin for the Group for 2008 at
around 4%. The main reason for the revised estimates lies in the previously communicated heavy load in the Finnish operations. The very high level of growth in activity level at the same time as the market is booming has lead to a lack of resources giving a knock-on effect on the total backlog in Finland. For this reason, the deliveries had to be adjusted to a more significant degree than previously anticipated. Towards summer 2008 loading will gradually be coming down.

Carnival fourth quarter profit falls on higher bunker and dry docking costs
Carnival Corporation & PLC reported net income for its fourth quarter ended November 30, 2007 of $358 million, or $0 .44 diluted EPS, compared to net income of $416 million, or $0.51 diluted EPS, for the fourth quarter 2006. Revenues for the fourth quarter 2007 increased to $3.1 billion from $2.8 billion for the fourth quarter 2006. The company reported record net income for the full year ended November 30, 2007 of $2.4 billion, or $2.95 diluted EPS, compared to net income of $2.3 billion, or $2.77 diluted EPS, for the prior year. Revenues for the full year 2007 increased to $13.0 billion from $11.8 billion for the prior year. Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said that fourth quarter results came in at the high end of the company's guidance as stronger pricing on close-in bookings was partially offset by higher than expected fuel costs. ”Our brands enjoyed strong yield growth in our fourth quarter as the continued recovery of Caribbean business led to higher yields for our North American brands while our European brands were bolstered by the stronger Euro and Sterling. However, continually rising fuel costs and the expected higher dry-dock costs held back our fourth quarter performance,” Arison said. Commenting on the full year results Arison noted, ”Our European brands enjoyed another record year absorbing substantial new capacity and driving significant improvement in unit operating profit. Although operating performance for our North American brands was hampered by pricing pressure in the Caribbean early in the year, demand for Caribbean cruises strengthened considerably as the year progressed and we expect this trend to continue into 2008. Despite the continuing increases in fuel costs throughout the year, we still managed a six percent improvement in earnings over 2006.”

NCL to introduce enhancements to its onboard product as part of its Freestyle 2.0 initiative
As the transaction between Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Apollo Management, LP nears completion and the infusion of $1 billion comes into the company, NCL announced yesterday during the Norwegian Gem inaugural its Freestyle 2.0 fleetwide initiative featuring significant enhancements in its onboard product that will further improve the guest experience. The enhancements include a major investment in the total dining experience; upgrading the stateroom experience across the ship; new wide ranging onboard activities for guests all of ages; additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony, suite and villa guests; and a re-launch of a tiered Latitudes past guest recognition program. The initiative has been driven by quantitative and qualitative feedback from both guests and travel partners and has been enabled by Apollo's billion dollar investment in NCL and Star Cruises continued commitment and vision. ”Our innovative Freestyle Cruising and exciting, dynamic fleet of new ships have combined to make NCL a truly unique and exciting cruise vacation,” said Colin Veitch, NCL's President and CEO. ”We have achieved the milestone of offering the youngest fleet in the cruise industry, and will now focus our attention on delivering the next generation of freestyle cruising - Freestyle 2.0 - a significant enhancement to the guest experience fleetwide.”
NCL christens the last of the Jewel-class, Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) named Cindy Cardella of Fairfield, NJ, the Godmother of its new Norwegian Gem, during the ship's Christening ceremony held Tuesday in New York. Cindy was chosen by NCL and the public among five finalists vying for the Godmother crown following an online video contest hosted on In addition to being named Norwegian Gem's Godmother, a position steeped in maritime tradition, she will receive a 7-night cruise in the ultra-luxurious 5,000-square-foot Garden Villa for her and five of her entourage. ”With this contest, we sought to reward our past guests with a once in a lifetime opportunity. Cindy received close to 10,000 votes from the public and was selected based on her ability to show how she embodies the attributes of NCL's hottest, hippest new ship, as well as the free spirit of NCL's Freestyle Cruising,” said Colin Veitch, NCL Corporation's President and CEO. The hour-long Christening ceremony held on board Norwegian Gem featured performances by Dem Boyz Step Team and the New York-based Luminescence Choir. In addition to comments from Star Cruises Chairman Tan Sri KT Lim, NCL Corporation President and CEO Colin Veitch, all five finalist video entries were shown, along with the premiere of Norwegian Gem's movie-sode, ”License to Thrill.” Cindy was also given the honor of officially naming the ship and pulling the lever that released the bottle of champagne to christen the ship. The ceremony and movie-sode can be viewed online at
Costa inaugurates in Mauritius
Costa Marina has called for the first time in Mauritius, its news base port throughout the 2007/2008 winter season. This 14-night Indian Ocean itinerary, marking the official debut of Mauritius as a new international cruise destination, is a global first for the cruise industry. On hand to welcome the Costa Marina on this her inaugural stopover were present Roberto Ferrarini, Marine Operations Director of Costa Crociere S.p.A., Robert Desvaux Chairman MTPA, Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authorithy, the Italian Consul in Mauritius Stefano Zinno and representatives from Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Infrastructure, Port Authority, local institutions and business community.
Cunard's three Queens to meet in New York harbour on January 13
On Sunday, January 13, 2008, Cunard Line will, for the first and only time, sail their three luxury liner Queens ñ flagship Queen Mary 2, famed Queen Elizabeth 2 and the new Queen Victoria ñ together out of New York harbor. The regal fleet is scheduled to depart at 6:30 p.m. Queen Mary 2 will depart from her home port, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal while QE2 will depart from Pier 92 and Queen Victoria will depart from Pier 88 both at the Westside Cruise Terminal.  Then, the three Queens will rendezvous and sail past the Statue of Liberty during a spectacular fireworks celebration at approximately 7:00 p.m. ”This is an historic occasion for Cunard and New York, marking the only time that the three ships will be together... ever,” said Carol Marlow, President of Cunard Line. ”More history will be made as our grand dame QE2 departs on her 26th and final World Cruise and Queen Victoria will depart on her maiden World Cruise,” added Marlow. This is the first-time in Cunard's 168-year history that three ”Queens” have been in service at the same time and with QE2 retiring in November 2008 will be the only time they will be together, offering a maritime history-making moment.
UPDATED: Hurtigruten's Fram in engine trouble in Antarctica
The passenger ship Fram drifted into an iceberg during a short time of engine trouble in Antarctica. It was just after finishing a planned landing at Browns Bluff that the incident happened at 0930 PM local time. Safety procedures where started and all passengers where gattered. The ship informed about calm passengers during the incident. The ship drifted into the iceberg and got some small damages Fram has 247 passengers on board and a crew of 71. It is decided to go to the Chilenian airbase Frei at King Georges Island where investigations on the damages and the reason to the engine trouble will be discussed. Arrival at Frei will be at about 0600 am local time. After this it will be decided whether to go directly to Ushuaia or continue the cruise with planned arrival in Ushuaia January 2. According to, Hurtigruten has now decided to cancel the January 2, 2008 departure.
Van Gogh world cruise to take place despite Travelscope collapse
The 2008 world cruise of Van Gogh will take place despite collapse of the UK based tour operator Travelscope on 21 December, the administrators of the company say on its website. The 17,000 gross ton ship is operated by Club Cruise, a Dutch company that provides ships inclkuding crews for a number of European companies. Travelscope axed plans to introduce the similar sized Athena, which is owned by Classic International Cruises, last year as the supply of tonnage on the British market is on the increase. Although Travelscope has operated in the budget sector of the market, but some observers say that Van Gogh has attracted quite a bit of repeat business too. The future of the company is now uncertain although it may be revived should its financial position allow this, the admninistratorts say, However, the Van Gogh world cruise is the only departure operated by Travelscope to take place after 3 January 2008, they note.
Captain Giuseppe Romano named Commodore of Princess fleet
Captain Giuseppe Romano, a 31-year veteran of Princess and Sitmar Cruises, has been named commodore of the company's 16-ship fleet. He becomes the senior master of the fleet and will represent the interests of all ships and their captains. The title of Commodore is an honor that is traditionally bestowed upon the most senior captain of a fleet of ships, and the position represents the highest rank attainable to a Princess mariner. ”We're delighted that Giuseppe Romano will serve as commodore of the Princess fleet,” said Alan Buckelew, Princess' Chief Executive Officer. ”This honor is a well-deserved recognition of his long career of service and contributions to Princess over the years.” Commodore Romano is presently serving aboard Caribbean Princess where he has been master since 2004.

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