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Could Oceania growth force a Royal move for Azamara?

Could Oceania growth force a Royal move for Azamara?
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' purchase of another ship for Oceania Cruises could force a move by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. for its Azamara Club Cruises brand, Wells Fargo Securities told investors.

'We believe NCLH's move could force RCL to make a decision with Azamara to either bulk up the competitive niche brand versus Oceania or divest the brand/ships,' analyst Tim Conder said in a note.

Both Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey were built as R-class ships, part of a series of eight newbuilds for Renaissance Cruises from 1998 to 2001.

Conder described the $82m acquisition of another former R-class ship, currently sailing as Ocean Princess for Princess Cruises, as 'a strong commitment by NCLH to Oceania's successful niche of mid­size destination-orientated cruises.'

That makes four former R-class ships for Oceania in 2016, apart from its own larger, newer Marina and Riviera.

Conder speculated whether Norwegian would pursue the remaining R­-class ships in the Carnival Corp. & plc fleet, Pacific Princess and P&O Cruises' Adonia, over the next six to 18 months to add further scale.

He expects Carnival to divest of relatively small, older vessels from its overall fleet.