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Articles from 2001 In November


Australian shipyard fills order book

Australian shipyard fills order book

Speaking to Seatrade Insider after being re-elected chairman of theAustralian Shipbuilders Association at its agm in Sydney yesterday, Austal Ships md Bob McKinnon said he expects to ratify the contract for the 2,677-ton sister ships Tia Moana and Tu Moana before the end of the year.

They will each have 37 outside cabins, two bars, a dining room, library,lounge, showroom and cinema and will join the French Polynesian company's existing vessel Haumana that operates three, four and seven-day itineraries around the Tahitian islands.

McKinnon, who signed a A$47.5 million contract last month with New WorldFirst Ferry of Hong Kong for three 416-passenger high-speed (42 knots)catamarans to operate between Hong Kong and Macau, with an option foranother four, believes ultra-luxury hotels and resorts are a potentialmarket. He said a number of hoteliers have expressed interest in owningexclusive five-star mini vessels as value-added extras for guests. Theconcept is to put together packages that include a few nights on board for local sightseeing or diving excursions, he said.

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USCG, Weather Service team up in Alaska

USCG, Weather Service team up in Alaska

By year's end, the two organizations will install nine new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather broadcast sites. 'By partnering with the Coast Guard, we will expand our weather radio coverage in the coastal areas of Alaska by 300%,' said Fred Peters of the National Weather Service. USCG Petty Officer Roger W. Wetherell said the improved weather reporting will help cruise ships operating in the area. 'Now we'll get more radio weather broadcasts out to all ships,' he said. 'We will be able to give more advance warning of storms. The weather can change very rapidly up here.'

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UBS Warburg downgrades POC

UBS Warburg downgrades POC

Analyst Robin Farley said the deal could go through as announced, Carnival Corp. could make a bid for POC, or the merger could collapse due to regulatory hurdles, shareholder approvals or spoiling tactics from Carnival.

'In each scenario, we think the near-term upside for POC is more limited,even with a CCL bid. Cost saves in the proposed merger go disproportionately to RCL shareholders. We don't believe there is meaningful accretion to POC shareholders until above that $100m level in cost savings (projected for the first year),' Farley stated. 'We are maintaining our 'buy' rating (on RCL) and raising our price target to $17-$18 per share.' Farley also said that, in each of the scenarios, 'we continue to feel positively about CCL.' If the deal falls through, Farley expects both RCL and POC to return to pre-merger levels ($15 per share for RCL, $18 for POC). 'Of course, CCL would still be the best positioned in this scenario, in our view,' Farley stated.

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What about a CCL bid for POC?

What about a CCL bid for POC?

'In terms of potential actions by Carnival, we would note that CCL has historically either been an acquirer (Holland America, Cunard, Costa) or has gotten involved in major industry transactions (forcing a higher bid from RCL for Celebrity in 1997, taking a blocking stake in NCL bonds in 1995). Therefore, it may be more likely that CCL attempts some kind of spoiling technique in the RCL/POC deal rather than an all-out bid for POC.'

Is there a Carnival 'ego factor' that would influence a bid? 'We would go against conventional wisdom on this issue,' Farley said. 'While some would suggest that Carnival is more likely to make a bid in order to remain the largest, we believe the opposite. We think the ego factor makes CCL less likely to make a bid because the company would not want to be perceived as being forced to do a deal and having a competitor force its hand.'

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Why is Princess seeking this merger?

Why is Princess seeking this merger?

While earnings for POC will be affected in 2002, we believe the combinedcompany will begin to generate extra value in 2003 and thereafter. We feel there is an opportunity for there to be another company like Carnival and this deal will help to drive margins toward it. It is important tounderstand that while the individual brands will stay separate, we willcombine corporate functions, create a joint systems platform and address many issues of overhead duplication such as POC's Fort Lauderdale office. It should be mentioned that under British Exchange rules, when we mentioned cost savings of $100m (after the first year of the merged group), this figure had to be approved by our accountants. In the UK, the cost savings figure would be viewed as eminently attainable.'

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Itapos;s official: Conroy to chair CLIA

Itapos;s official: Conroy to chair CLIA

Conroy currently serves as CLIA's vice chairman. By taking the top post in January to finish Sasso's term, Conroy will serve an extra six months in addition to the usual two-year term. His term will expire in July 2004.

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Hebridean Spirit to continue with East of Suez itineraries

Hebridean Spirit to continue with East of Suez itineraries

The 80 guest vessel, acquired earlier this year, will depart from Greece on December 14, travelling down the Red Sea, following the 'route of the dhows' along to the Maldives and Sri Lanka before returning back to the Med in March 2002.

The company reports bookings for Hebridean Spirit remain 'largely unaffected by the international situation' and that its American clientele have continued to support the company, 'not cancel their cruises - just understandably deferring them.' Managing director Michael Fenton said 'several of our clients have called us, asking us to continue to travel to the region and after due consideration, we have decided to do so.' The line uses private aircraft for cruise connections and says should the situation change it has 'alternative emergency itineraries in place with a brochure ready to go to print.'

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Cruiseinvest buys six Renaissance ships

Cruiseinvest buys six Renaissance ships

Cruiseinvest, a Marshall Islands company, has acquired through its subsidiaries the R8, and is in the process of acquiring the Rs 1,2,5,6 and 7 as it was the highest bidder at auctions held in Gibraltar and Tilbury.

Seatrade Insider understands Cruiseinvest, established by a group of French investors led by Credit Agricole Indosuez and all of whom held first guarantees on the mortgages, paid over $700m to buy back the six ships.

Cruiseinvest, headed by Dominique Prunier, former cfo of Festival Cruises, is setting up an office in Paris to oversee the management of the fleet. Technical management of the vessels has been contracted to Martinoli of Monaco, whilst New York investment bankers American Marine Advisors will market the vessels.

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Holland America Line gears up for Wave Period

Holland America Line gears up for Wave Period

With the new early-booking program, applicable on sales made by January 31, the premium line is building upon two earlier promotions launched in the weeks after September 11 including the '30-Day Lowest Prices Ever' program. 'I think we have really driven a well-organized recovery,' said David Giersdorf, svp-marketing and sales.

'We've got the volume back and now we're focused on getting the rates back.' He said bookings during the two-week period ending Nov. 25 were 30% above what they were in the same period last year. In addition, yields were up 35% over sales made in October. The early-booking discounts will be promoted with a $7 million advertising program, including newspaper ads in 40 markets; regional television spots in New York, Los Angeles, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and Seattle; direct mail; and an increased Internet presence. Not all cruises will be sold for half-price; most of the discounts are at least in the 25-30% range, Giersdorf said. Sample prices: a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise in March costs from $659 compared to last year's $1,039; a seven-day Mexico voyage in October is $749 instead of last year's $1,099.

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DeChambeau assumes new Alaska post at HAL-W

DeChambeau assumes new Alaska post at HAL-W

In this newly created position, DeChambeau will head the development of sales promotions, marketing initiatives and travel agent outreach for Alaska cruises, tours and land-only programs. DeChambeau previously was director of charter and incentive sales for two years at Windstar Cruises, a division of Holland America-Westours. Prior to that, he served as product manager, Alaska cruise-tours, from 1991 to 1999.

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