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Articles from 2001 In December


SeaDream II refit nears completion

SeaDream II refit nears completion

SeaDream I, operating in the Caribbean now, will go into the same European dry dock in April for the same work. Beginning in May, both yachts start their Mediterranean season. SeaDream I and II will base in Nice for Med sailings and in St. Thomas for the Caribbean. Both will cruise from Miami in November and December for a 10-week stint.

As outlined here earlier, SeaDream Yacht Club is promoting itself as a yachting experience - not a cruise - featuring flexible arrival and departure times, overnighting in key ports such as Monte Carlo and St. Tropez, socialising and excursions with the officers and staff and casual dress. 'The key word to our yachting experience is unstructured. Think of it as a free-form holiday. It's all about personal choice,' says SeaDream chairman and ceo Larry Pimentel.

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NCL teams with Virtuoso, Leisure Travel Group

NCL teams with Virtuoso, Leisure Travel Group

Andy Stuart, NCL's svp sales and marketing, says the partnerships will bring to the line 'a more upscale resort-type audience who wants a vacation experience with more flexiblity and choices. We are also looking forward to participating in the innovative direct mail marketing programmes undertaken by both groups.' Executives from Virtuoso and Leisure Travel Group cited Freestyle Cruising's dining options, the Norwegian Sun's year-round Caribbean presence and Norwegian Star's year-round Hawaii programme as factors that make NCL appealing to their clientele.

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Aussie representation company closes

Aussie representation company closes

Christopher Palmer of O'Brien Palmer has been appointed administrator of Icon Services (Australia) and its associated company Airline Vacations with a meeting of creditors set for January 7. However, Palmer told Seatrade Insider the creditors meeting does not involve Icon Cruises which has closed its doors.

Prior to the appointment of the administrator to Icon Services and AirlineVacations, Cruise World at Icon Cruises lost its representation of Silversea when regional sales and marketing vp Steve Odell decided to consolidate distribution in the growing Australian marketplace. Odell said he believed reducing the number of representative companies from four (the other was Creative Cruising) to two (Cruise Brokers and Wiltrans Australia) this year would achieve more efficiency.

Around the same time the regional office of Cunard/Seabourn announced its plans to market Costa, which was represented by Cruise World, under the World's Leading Cruise Lines banner.

Peter Podesta, who was gm of Icon Cruises, told Seatrade Insider today he has parted company with Stevenson and has launched his own business called Classic Voyages which will continue to represent Peter Deilmann River & Ocean Cruises.

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20,000 lower berths due in 2002

20,000 lower berths due in 2002

The first two ship deliveries of the year in fact are delayed orders from 2001 - ResidenSea's The World and Royal Olympic's Olympia Explorer.

Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess and RCI/Celebrity will all receive two newbuilds next year: Carnival the 84,000gt Carnival Legend from Kvaerner Masa in the summer and 110,000gt Carnival Conquest from Fincantieri in the autumn; the Italian yard will also deliver the 109,000gt Star Princess to Princess in March and the line receives the 88,000gt Coral Princess in October from Chantier de l'Atlantique; meanwhile Celebrity gets the 91,000gt Constellation in May and RCI's 88,000gt Brilliance of the Seas will enter service in July.

Other lines with new ships include Aida Cruises' AIDAvita, the first of its two 1,300 passenger vessels from Aker MTW, Festival's 1,566 European Stars, HAL's Zuiderdam and Sun Bay's 96 berth Sun Bay II - its second new vessel in two years from Cassens Werft for the German luxury market.

2003 and 2004 are set for bumper delivery years too with a total of 25 new vessels, 14 and 11 respectively, due to enter service.

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Carnival responds to POC circular

Carnival responds to POC circular

In a statement, Carnival reiterates that its December 16 offer of 200 pence cash and 0.1361 Carnival shares for each POC share is superior to the dual-listed company merger proposed by RCL. (Carnival's bid currently values POC at about 467 pence per share, exceeding the 401-1/2p closing price in London today.) Carnival promises a more complete response after further reviewing the documents.

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POC: apos;01 EPS could top 40 cents

POC: apos;01 EPS could top 40 cents

And in a circular to shareholders, the POC board reiterated its advice to vote in favour of the merger with Royal Caribbean at the extraordinary general meeting called for February 14. The company's last earnings forecast, in October, was 38-40 cents EPS for 2001. Since third quarter results were released, P&O Princess said it had seen improved bookings, with prices showing some recovery but still under those of a year ago. Shares closed up 1.1%, or 4-1/2 pence in London, at 399-1/2p. At midday in New York, POC was up 1.75% or 40 cents at $23.30. The stock's previous 52-week high was $23.09.

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RCL mails merger proxy to shareholders

RCL mails merger proxy to shareholders

Theproxy includes the board's recommendation to vote for the merger. Royal Caribbean chairman and ceo Richard Fain said thebenefits detailed in the statement underscore the strategic rationalebehind joining the two companies, whose shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposed merger on February 14. Two of Royal Caribbean's major shareholders in early December gave voting commitments for atleast 44.5% of the outstanding RCL shares in favour of themerger.

The proxy statement notes that over the past six weeks, Royal Caribbean has seen a steadily improving trendin pricing. 'We are very encouraged by the continually improving trend inbookings, and especially the reduction in price discounting,' Fain commented. He also reiterated his conviction that a merger with POC 'will provideboth sets of shareholders significant long-term value.'

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Maasdam enlarges childrenapos;s facilities

Maasdam enlarges childrenapos;s facilities

Each new area features seven computers with software and games, a large screen TV, VCR, DVD player and audio system. The WaveRunner teen room includes a dance floor with lighting and fog system, video games, and a pantry with juice and drink machines. HAL also provides Just for Kids shore excursions. The line has seen a steady increase in the number of children and teens cruising with their parents or grandparents, especially during the summer (last summer, 12,000 children were aboard the fleet). Week-long Caribbean cruises are especially popular with families, HAL reports, with up to 42% of the guests comprised of family groups.

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Another record year for Stockholm

Another record year for Stockholm

96% of US passengers visiting the city said they were very pleased according to a survey conducted by the City of Stockholm. The triennial survey also showed for the first time these passengers found the city to be no more expensive than any other city in Europe. Cruise passengers spent SKr160m in Stockholm during the four months of the cruise season.

Stockholm has formed a network linking the Stockholm Information Service, Ports, Arlandia International Airport, SAS, port agents, ground handlers, local transportation companies and everyone involved in cruising under a marketing arm called, Stokholm Cruising Capital. More information can be found at www.stockholmcruise.com.In spite of itinerary changes by several cruise lines next year, the Stockholm Information Service reports that many lines are maintaining their Baltic schedules for 2002 and says a number of new incentive cruises have been added to Stockholm's scehdule next year.

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Antigua upgrade sharpens competitiveness

Antigua upgrade sharpens competitiveness

'They've certainly prepared themselves for the future. As a result, our best and newest hardware is going into Antigua,' says John Tercek, Royal Caribbean's vp commercial and new business development. Adventure and Radiance of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises' Infinity are scheduled for St. John's.

Antigua's passenger count climbed to 500,000 in 2001, but the new facilities should propel that number to 1m in just a few years, predicts Cameron Fraser, gm of Key Properties Ltd, the development company that teamed with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to form Antigua Pier Group Ltd, driver of the port and waterfront improvements. Along with the infrastructure upgrade, Antigua will boost trade and consumer marketing as it works toward being featured on seven-day itineraries from Florida, adding year-round calls and homeporting vessels.

'They've done a lot over the last couple years to improve the product and encourage more cruise ship calls,' says Steve Nielsen, Princess Cruises' vp of Caribbean & Atlantic Shore Operations, who says it's operationally feasible for Florida-based vessels to reach Antigua on seven-day cruises. 'We have looked at it and would consider it. It's not a question of being too far away from Florida as much as that Antigua hasn't been a marquee-name destination and it hasn't had the product to compete with Eastern Caribbean ports like St. Thomas and St. Maarten. But with the improvements they're doing, I think they will become much more competitive.'

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