Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Sitemap


Articles from 2009 In January


Star Cruises shuts London office

Star Cruises shuts London office

Dupont led the Star Cruises sales and marketing function in Europe for over 12 years. This included driving the brand's exploration into new international markets including the first Star Cruises ship to be based outside Australasia in summer 2006 when the line offered Malta-based Mediterranean sailings. Prior to this Dupont led Royal Caribbean sales teams.


UK tour operators and travel agents were informed of the office closure by Star Cruises senior management earlier this week who thanked the team 'for their commitment and dedication over the years.'


Star said it will continue to offer Singapore-based SuperStar Virgo to the UK and Ireland trade, and travel partners have been told to redirect their queries to Star's offices in Malaysia (for reservations), Singapore (for product support) and Hong Kong (sales and marketing).

Seatrade Insider was unable to reach Star today to get a steer on the line's future sales and market strategy for Europe.

NULL

Cruise Shipping Miami names upscale panel

Cruise Shipping Miami names upscale panel

Panelists include Sebastian Ahrens, md Hapag-Lloyd Cruises; Pamela Conover, president and ceo, Seabourn; Gregg Michel, president and ceo, Crystal Cruises; Tony Peisley, analyst, author of '2020 Vision: New Focus for the Global Cruise Industry' Amerigo Perasso, president and ceo, Silversea; andCharles Robertson, chairman and ceo, American Cruise Lines, Pearl Sea Cruises and Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp.

The session is scheduled for the afternoon of March 17 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Information: www.cruiseshippingmiami.com.

NULL

Grand Turk on track for half million cruisers

Grand Turk on track for half million cruisers


The figure is a 25% increase over 2008, when the facility was closed for 30 days following Hurricane Ike.


Excursion offerings recently expanded with the opening of Grand Turk Grace Bay Car Rentals, for passengers who wish to explore the island independently.


The new option complements choices like horseback riding and kayaking, world-class diving, snorkeling and fishing.


Grand Turk Cruise Center can accommodate up to 6,000 passengers per day at facilities including a private beach, swimming pool, shops, FlowRider surfing simulator and a Margaritaville-themed bar and restaurant.

NULL

Moodyapos;s lowers Royal Caribbean rating

Moodyapos;s lowers Royal Caribbean rating

to 'Ba2' from 'Ba1,' with a negative outlook.

The Associated Press said Moody's cited the cruise operator's below-expectations fourth quarter results and 2009 guidance as further evidence of deteriorating cruise pricing.

'Ba2' is a notch lower on the junk bond scale than 'Ba1.'

NULL

Arisonapos;s 2008 compensation totalled $4.48m

Arisonapos;s 2008 compensation totalled $4.48m

48m in compensation last year, including a salary of $880,000, up from $850,000 in 2007, and a bonus of $3.7m, which he declined.

According to a filing, Arison also received restricted stock awards valued at $3.47m on the day they were granted.

Other compensation of $404,329 included the personal use of a corporate aircraft, sporting tickets and health insurance.

Vice chairman and coo Howard Frank received compensation of $4.23m, including a salary of $780,000, up from $750,000 the year before. He also received restricted stock awards valued at $2.89m. Other compensation, including personal use of the corporate aircraft and car leasing, totaled $355,255.

Costa Crociere chairman and ceo Pier Luigi Foschi received EUR2.11m, including a salary of EUR950,000, up from EUR915,000, plus other compensation of $402,830 including private accommodations and security. In addition, Foschi's unrestricted stock rewards were valued at EUR701,908.

Carnival Cruise Lines president and ceo Gerry Cahill received $1.89m, including a salary of $750,000, up from $625,000, and other compensation of $48,775. His restricted stock awards were valued at $1.03m.

David Bernstein, corporate cfo, received compensation of $945,000, including a salary of $350,000, up from $300,000, and other compensation of $105,088. In addition, his restricted stock awards were valued at $413,400.

NULL

RCCL earns penny per share, sees apos;09 yields off 9%-13%

RCCL earns penny per share, sees apos;09 yields off 9%-13%

Analysts had expected a profit of 7 cents per share.

The company said the revenue outlook for 2009 remains weak, with both ticket sales and on-board spending affected by the economy. 'Substantial' discounts have been needed to spur sales, and bookings remain close in.

Net yields down 9%-13% are now forecast for 2009, with earnings expected in the range of $1.40 per share. Analysts had been forecasting $1.67 per share.

A loss of 30 cents to 35 cents per share is projected in Q1.

'The fourth quarter was an extremely difficult operating environment and we expect even more challenges in 2009,' said RCCL chairman and ceo Richard Fain. 'Nevertheless, I am pleased by our success in reducing costs without compromising the guest experience.

'Although the wave period has only just started, we are encouraged by what we have seen so far; pricing is still very difficult, but booking patterns have begun to stabilize,' he added.

Profit in the recent quarter was $1.5m, compared to $70.8m a year ago. Revenues were flat, at $1.5bn. Full-year profit was $573.7m, or $2.68 per share, under analysts' expectations of $2.73 and lower than 2007's $2.82. Revenues were $6.5bn, up from $6.1bn.

Bookings began to suffer a 'substantial' downturn in September, resulting in a 5.9% net yield decline for the quarter, steeper than guidance of down 4%-5% due to currency changes.

Cost containment and other actions largely offset higher than anticipated fuel and insurance expenses. Royal Caribbean expects cost controls will lower average cost per berth by 5%-7%, excluding fuel, in 2009.

NULL

STX Europe to delist in Oslo, new execs join

STX Europe to delist in Oslo, new execs join

STX Norway earlier acquired the remaining shares in STX Europe that were held by minority shareholders.

In other news, cfo and evp Ole Heggheim resigned. Byung-Ryun Woo was named cfo, and Hans-Jørgen Wibstad took the role of svp performance, budget and control.

Woo was cfo of STX Panocean in South Korea, one of the world's largest ship operating companies. Wibstand was md of DFDS Lys Line.

NULL

Carnival notes currency moves but holds guidance

Carnival notes currency moves but holds guidance

25 to $2.75 per share but noted the strengthening of the dollar against the euro and sterling currently implies a 12-cent decrease in that range.

In a filing, Carnival said its Dec. 18 guidance was based on the then-current spot prices for fuel of $295 per metric ton and currency exchange rates of $1.38 to the euro and $1.53 to sterling.

To date, fuel has remained at $295 per metric ton. However, the dollar has strengthened to $1.29 to the euro and $1.38 to the pound.

'Based on these currency exchange rates our earnings per share for the 2009 full year would decrease by 12 cents,' Carnival said, adding that it is not updating its guidance at this time.

Carnival's Dec. 18 forecast put first quarter EPS at 20 cents to 22 cents.

NULL

RCCL to swap peak occupancy for price integrity

RCCL to swap peak occupancy for price integrity

The practice of deep discounts to fill the last cabins is not seen as the right way to go in the current market, RCCL chairman and ceo Richard Fain told analysts during today's earnings call.

Brian Rice, cfo, said that while load factors will likely decrease as a result, a 'fundamental change' is not expected -- the occupancy rate will perhaps drop a couple points lower than Royal Caribbean's standard 105%.

Rice noted that when it comes to 'developmental products,' the company sees diminishing returns when it slashes rates to fill every last bed.

Fain disclosed RCCL management had fears coming into the year that the wave period would be 'way worse than it has been.' He described the booking pace as 'encouraging' and said pricing, though down, has reached an 'equilibrium,' allowing revenue management tools to kick in.

Until last autumn, customers typically booked five months prior to sailing. That window is now only four months, 'a dramatic change in customer behavior,' as Rice put it.

He said revenue management strategy has been adjusted accordingly to aim for the right pricing when customers are ready to buy.

Booked loads are 'well down' due to the shorter window, at about the same level as in 2004, however well ahead of the two years following 2001, Rice added.

NULL

RCCL assures on liquidity, capex and costs

RCCL assures on liquidity, capex and costs


At Dec. 31, liquidity was more than $1bn, including $400m in cash and $625m in an unsecured revolving credit facility. The company feels 'very comfortable' about its position but may look to extending loan maturity or monetizing derivatives, cfo Brian Rice said.


Royal Caribbean will not have to access the capital markets in 2009, he added. However, chairman and ceo Richard Fain left that option open, clarifying it would be on an opportunistic rather than a need basis.


State guarantees and bank financing commitments have been secured for the remaining four Solstice-class newbuilds, under construction in Germany. For Oasis of the Seas, the 80% Finnish state guarantee is in place and talks with lenders are under way for the balance.


'We are comfortable with our ability to get Oasis financing done,' Rice assured analysts. Noting the company typically finalizes financing five to six months before delivery -- Oasis is coming in late November -- he characterized RCCL as 'well ahead of the curve in conversations with our lenders and the export credit agency.'


There is a lot of talk about the relative high price of Royal Caribbean's newbuilds, but Fain told analysts the company is building its most 'cost-effective' ships. 'Even in these crazy times, they are substantial cash-flow generators and will produce lasting rates of return,' he said.


That was underscored by Celebrity Cruises president and ceo Dan Hanrahan, who called the newly introduced Celebrity Solstice 'a strong exception to trends. We are pleased with ticket and especially on-board revenue.' He said Solstice is Celebrity's most efficient ship.


Management reported progress on costs, guiding a per berth decrease of 5%-7% in non-fuel expenses for 2009. New initiatives are under way on top of the $125m in general and administrative expense reductions announced in July that involved staff downsizing.


The guidance implies an additional $150m in cost cuts, an analyst said, with Rice confirming the figure as 'in the ballpark.' Not more downsizing -- the focus now is an 'FIT' (Financial Improvement Team) initiative with various teams targeting vendor synergies and capturing deflationary opportunities.


'That is leveraging the current economic environment for cost concessions,' Rice explained.

NULL