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Articles from 2003 In December


Deilmannapos;s apos;04: 10 river ships, apos;01 pricing

Deilmannapos;s apos;04: 10 river ships, apos;01 pricing

The company is once again holding pricing to 2001 levels.

New for 2004 is the 108-passenger five-star MV Heidelberg, which will debut on the Rhine March 27, sailing spring cruises from Amsterdam. And, on the same day, the five-star Frederic Chopin, a 79-passenger vessel built in 2002, will inaugurate cruises on Poland's Vistula River from Gdansk on the Baltic Coast to the capital of Warsaw.

Deilmann's 105-page Great Rivers of Europe 2004 brochure presents all the itineraries and a selection of independent cruise tours that combine London, Paris, Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Nice, Florence, Rome, Venice, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin and other cities with river cruises. The 12- to 17-day programs include seven to 11 nights of cruising, first class hotels, deluxe rail travel on TGV and Orient Express trains, transfers and shore excursions.

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Upbeat industry outlook for 2004

Upbeat industry outlook for 2004

The new berths represent an estimated 8.4% net capacity increase globally and a 10.4% net increase in North America, according to forecasts by A. G. Edwards.

Carnival Corp. takes the lion's share of the new capacity, with seven deliveries -- two for the Carnival brand, three for Princess Cruises, one for Holland America Line and one for Costa. That translates to a 17.6% capacity increase for the Carnival family. Royal Caribbean delivers one ship, as do Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC and Birka Line.

During Carnival's mid-December earnings report, management expressed confidence in 2004 overall, reporting that bookings and pricing are up across every brand and every major geographic market. Guidance is for net yields to increase 2%-4%. During its most recent guidance, Royal Caribbean management indicated continued strengthening in 2004 pricing and that first quarter yields will be up.

Shares in both Carnival and Royal Caribbean hit 52-week highs in New York during trading on the last day of 2003. AGE analyst Tim Conder sees 2004 as the first full year of industry recovery and says cruise stocks are positioned to outperform the S&P 500 over the next 12-18months.

Tony Peisley, author of the Seatrade report 'Global Changes in the Cruise Industry 2003-2010,' expects continued yield improvement in 2004 but does not see full recovery to 2000 levels until 2006 at the earliest. Peisley singles out on-board revenue as a key indicator to watch in the New Year.

'Despite [cruise lines'] protestations, there is no doubt that they have been loading prices on existing revenue streams and looking for any new ones they can,' Peisley says. 'The revelation that nearly a third of RCCL's bottom line profits are coming from shore excursion profits just underlines that. Alternative restaurant prices are going up all the time, and I am waiting for the first line to start charging for some of the production show entertainment.'

Peisley forecasts 2004 as a 'banner year for European source markets -- Italy, Germany, France and, in particular, Spain.' He points to many more ships operating year-round in the Mediterranean, noting, 'It won't be North Americans filling them.'

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Costa reinstates Istanbul

Costa reinstates Istanbul

Visits had been cancelled after November's terrorist attacks in the Turkish capital. Costa Mediterranea will operate a weekly call between May and mid-November. Costa Europa, Costa Romantica and Costa Allegra will stop at Istanbul on their Black Sea itinerary in spring and autumn.

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Star Flyer back to Singapore

Star Flyer back to Singapore

Apart from shopping, this route will give passengers a whole day at sea as the ship navigates the Malacca Strait.

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Oceania Cruises on the French market

Oceania Cruises on the French market

Built in Saint-Nazaire, the 684-guest Regatta and Insignia (which starts sailing for Oceania in April) should attract French customers, as they will offer an extensive European season between the end of March and the beginning of November. Another asset: food on board is supervised by Jacques Pépin, who served as the personal chef to three French heads of state including Charles de Gaulle.

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Putting Kingston back on the charts

Putting Kingston back on the charts

It's not the first passenger ship to call this year, though. That was Vistamar in March, with some 260 passengers.

William Tatham, vp of cruise shipping and marina operations at the Port Authority of Jamaica, says that Arcalia's decision to visit Kingston began at a meeting with the Portuguese shipowners in Lisbon some one and a half years ago.

'Arcalia were insistent that they wanted to stop in Kingston even though we advised them that much work still needs to be done to make it a cruise friendly port,' Tatham says. 'But, like many of the European lines, Arcalia's clientele are interested in visiting ports such as Kingston that have a rich history and many cultural attractions.'

Princess Danae passengers took tours of Devon House, Hope Gardens, Port Royal and Spanish Town. In addition, passengers aboard the Minerva II, which docked at Port Antonio yesterday, visited these Kingston attractions as well as others in and around the resort town.

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Jamaica record: ships at all 4 ports

Jamaica record: ships at all 4 ports

Princess Danae visited Kingston and Minerva II was at Port Antonio, while Navigator of the Seas and Imagination were at Ocho Rios and the Norwegian Sun and Seven Seas Mariner visited Montego Bay. Tuesday's total passenger count on all six ships is estimated at more than 9,200.

'We at the Port Authority are of course very proud of this achievement,' says William Tatham, vp of cruise shipping and marina operations at the Port Authority of Jamaica. 'However, we see this as just another step in Jamaica becoming a major player in the marketplace.' Tatham pledges the port authority 'will continue to aggressively market Jamaica as well as address the concerns of the cruise industry in 2004 to make Jamaica one of the most sought after cruise destinations of the future.'

Swan Hellenic's Minerva II is one of several luxury cruise ships to Port Antonio this winter season. With the 2002 refurbishment of the Ken Wright Cruise Terminal, Port Antonio can now accommodate smaller vessels of the boutique cruise lines, up to 650 feet. The Port Authority will soon commence dredging to allow vessels of up to 720 feet in the harbour.

[See also following story.]

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HAL details cabin upgrades

HAL details cabin upgrades

All cabins will be outfitted with SealyPosturepedic Premium Plush Euro-Top mattresses. The beds will betriple-sheeted with high quality cottonbed linens. Passengers will get thick 100% Egyptian cotton towelsand deluxe waffle and terry cloth bathrobes.

New amenities will includepremium massage showerheads, 5x magnifying make-up mirrors with halolighting and salon-quality hair dryers. Passengers will get fresh fruit in a stainless-steel basket and a stainless-steel ice bucket and serving tray for cabin beverage use.

In addition, all penthouse and deluxe verandah suites will be outfitted with duvets, fully stocked mini-bars, VCRs or DVD players and personalizedstationery. Suite passengers will have access to a video/DVD library and new one-touch 24-hourconcierge service.

Holland America will also extend the Neptune Lounge, now on seven ships, fleetwide. This concierge-staffed lounge is open to suite-level passengers.

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CCL, RCL end the year with record highs

CCL, RCL end the year with record highs

Carnival reached as high as $39.84 before closing at $39.73, up 46 cents, a 1.17% gain. CCL's previous high, $39.58, was yesterday.

Royal Caribbean peaked at $35 before closing at $34.79, up 10 cents. RCL's previous 52-week high was $34.97 on Dec. 26.

Both stocks traded at lower than average volume.

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Arison: QM2 coverage unprecedented

Arison: QM2 coverage unprecedented

But nothing ever like Queen Mary 2. 'This is by far the most-high profile. Nothing else even comes close,' he tells Seatrade Insider. 'The buzz on this ship is everywhere -- Germany, Japan, the UK, France.'

'Entertainment Tonight,' the widely watched US network television program, will broadcast from QM2's inaugural festivities next week in Southampton. The new Cunard liner will be featured on Jan. 6, 7 and 8, with ET host Mary Hart taking viewers behind the scenes of the world's largest passenger ship.

Meanwhile, Hart's coverage is being promoted in ET spots all this week. 'It's like a full two-minute commercial for the ship,' Arison says. Exposure will surge next week, with news conferences in Southampton leading up to the high-profile Jan. 8 naming. Arison says more than 20 television camera crews have requested places at one conference.

QM2 sailed from Southampton today on one of a series of short shakedown voyages taking place over the next few days. The ship is carrying Cunard employees, their families and friends to give the crew practice for next week's unveiling to the media, travel agents and VIP guests. One evening is set aside for Continental travel agents. Arison expects 1,000 agents, mainly from France and Germany where, he says, the ship is selling well. 'Aside from the UK, France is the biggest market right now [outside the US] because of all the coverage [surrounding the liner's construction in Saint-Nazaire],' he informs.

Speaking of Saint-Nazaire, Arison takes issue with media descriptions of the ship's sailing from Chantiers de l'Atlantique which portrayed the event as 'somber' or 'understated.' 'I've never seen a ship departure as vibrant,' the Carnival chief says. 'To call it "somber" when the ship was surrounded by hundreds of boats as far as the horizon and tugboats throwing water at us and three overflights by the [French Air Force] jets and signs and banners [was misleading]. I've never seen a departure from a yard that was livelier than that.'

Arison's inside tip on QM2: don't miss the planetarium, a sea-going first. Besides celestial shows, it will host virtual reality rides, activities for kids and special events.

[Seatrade Insider will be at events in Southampton, including the vessel's naming by Queen Elizabeth II. Watch this space for full coverage.]

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