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Articles from 2001 In March


Analyst: Yield pressure continues for NCL

Analyst: Yield pressure continues for NCL

But she cautions against drawing conclusions about the overall market, 'since NCL management noted that booking trends were particularly challenging in Q1 and Q2, while CCL indicated that Q2 pricing would be above last year's levels, even with weakness in the luxury segment.'

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Lines focus on on-board revenue, cost-cutting

Lines focus on on-board revenue, cost-cutting

In a new report, she notes that while consumers may shop around to save$50 when booking a cruise, they often are more liberal with on-board spending. Expense reduction could also strengthen bottom-line growth in the current tough revenue environment. 'New capacity helps sustain that trend, since newer ships are more efficient and bring economies of scale,' Farley observes. She notes CCL enjoys the industry's highest operating margins yet will still lower operating expenses this year, 'which reminds us why CCL is our preferred name in the group. We also note that while P&O Princess has forecast a 2% reduction in operating expense per passenger day, the company is comfortable it will exceed that in '01. For RCL, all the new bells and whistles on new ships may actually drive expenses higher, offsetting the benefits from scale. As a result, we do not forecast RCL to reduce operating expenses per passenger cruise day.' All Big Four companies told UBS Warburg that capacity increases and margins historically have been bigger drivers of earnings than ticket price increases. 'While capacity is needed to drive profits through unit growth and to sustain the trend of improving margins, there is a need for the European market to be robust, as RCL, CCL, and POC are all sending capacity to what has been a fast-growing part of the vacation market in Europe,' Farley points out.

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Legal battles against P&O Australia continue

Legal battles against P&O Australia continue

The 45-year-oldex-Carinthia, replaced by Pacific Sky when she was sold to Emerald Cruises and renamed Emerald Fortune, is at the centre of a long-running class action which was to have been resolved by March 31 (Seatrade Insider 22/12/00).However, that deadline for the mediation process has been extended.Passengers and crew seeking damages over the outbreak of typhoid fever which followed a shore excursion to the Kokoda Trail during a South Pacific cruise in May, 1999, now have until June 15 to reach a settlement with respondent P&O Cruises Australia and cross-defendants Adventures in Paradise and Bluff Inn Motel. The matter will return to the High Court if it isn't settled by that date the claimants solicitor, Mark Walter of Slater & Gordon, told Seatrade Insider. Meantime, the threat of a second class action is still looming. Solicitor Rachel Schutze of Maurice Blackburn Cashman told Seatrade Insider today she is still gathering evidence over an outbreak of what the NSW Department of Health diagnosed as influenza during two successive Fair Princess cruises between August 14 and September 10 last year. 'It's taking longer than we thought to access some of the (Department's) documents under the Freedom of Information Act', Ms Schutze, who had expected to complete her investigation last month, said.

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Carnival extends multiple seatings concept

Carnival extends multiple seatings concept

According to Carnival president Bob Dickinson, the new dinner seatings - 5:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. - have proven very popular among guests since the phase-in began several months ago. Last week Princess Cruises responded to Carnival's Total Choice Dining advertising campaign with its own trade ads comparing dining offerings aboard the Fun Ships with those available under Princess' own Personal Choice Dining strategy.

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Operator Pullmantur becomes an owner

Operator Pullmantur becomes an owner

The 585 cabin vessel, formerly owned by Premier, is Pullmantur's first owned cruise ship and according to general manger Alfonso Lopez, 'is perfect for the Spanish market.' DLJ and Progress Group, the mortgage holders in the vessel are 'pleased with the outcome of the sale,' says Niels-Erik Lund, president of ISP and Progress Group. Lund reports DLJ and Progress have the former Premier vessels Rembrandt and Big Red Boat III, currently laid-up in The Bahamas, for sale and Progress has the Big Red Boat II for charter and sale.

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Costa to get Westerdam

Costa to get Westerdam

The 1,494-passenger ship will move after completing its winter Caribbean season. After a short drydock for minor interior renovations and exterior modifications, it will embark on a programme of Mediterranean cruises beginning in June 2002. Westerdam follows in the wake of the earlier transfer of the Carnival brand's Tropicale to Costa (and plans announced last week to shift Seabourn Sun to the HAL fleet). 'While we will continue to expand Costa with an aggressive newbuilding program with three ships currently under contract, the transfer of these two vessels provides Carnival the unique opportunity to quickly build upon Costa's leadership position in the fast-growing European market,' said Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison. 'Although our primary focus will be to expand our core brands through new tonnage, we will also continue to analyse potential transfers of ships within our various operating companies to maximise the earnings potential of our cruise ship assets,' he added. Built at Meyer Werft in 1986 as Homeric for Home Lines, Westerdam was acquired by HAL two years later. In 1989, the vessel underwent an $84m renovation during which it was stretched by a then-industry record 130 feet, boosting capacity to 1,494 and tonnage to 53,872.

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Dubai launches cruise terminal

Dubai launches cruise terminal

Backdrop to the gala opening was provided by the QE2, whose famous dark blue colours provided a striking contrast to the brushed steel ship-shaped exterior of the Dubai Cruise Terminal.Speaking on the occasion, QE2's Captain Warwick said it was the best cruise terminal he had ever seen, while Cunard's senior vp Hans Rood endorsed the aspirations of Dubai to become a major player in the global cruise industry.He said Cunard and the QE2 were honoured to be playing a role in the opening of what is one of the most stunning and efficient cruise terminals in the world today: 'I personally hope that the association established today between Cunard and Dubai continues, and look forward to increasing the number of calls made here by Cunard, and our sister company, Seabourn Cruise Line.'Khalid bin Sulayem, director general of the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing - which will operate the terminal - said, 'We are confident that every passenger using this terminal will gain a favourable impression of Dubai - and leave the city with positive memories of their experiences. For the future, we will introduce initiatives to encourage summer cruise tourism, and will also be looking to add extra facilities at the terminal.'Existing facilities at the 3,300 sq metre terminal - constructed in a record six months - include personal and baggage security screening, covered baggage handling area, tour bus and taxi stands, an information desk, business centre with Internet access and conference room, VIP majlis lounge, duty-free shopping, lounge/café, Arabic palm garden and rest rooms with disabled access. Sited on a 335-metre quay, it can berth two ships simultaneously and has a 11.5 metre alongside draft.In Port Rashid for the day were three additional cruise liners (Columbus, Europa and Delphin) with a total of 4,000 passengers, making it the busiest 24 hours yet in the Dubai cruise calendar.

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Telenor to buy COMSAT Mobile

Telenor to buy COMSAT Mobile

5m in cash. The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, will positionTelenor as a major global satellite mobile operator. COMSAT Mobile, with annual revenues in excess of $100m, provides globalmobile communications to the maritime, land mobile and aeronauticalindustries and offers data, voice, fax, telex and video capabilities via theInmarsat satellite constellation. Telenor's purchase of COMSAT Mobile operations also includes two earth stationfacilities in Southbury, Conn., and Santa Paula, Calif. Linking those stations with Telenor's earth station in Eik, Norway, willenable the Norwegian company to offer global coverage for satellite mobile communicationservices. The transaction makes Telenor one of the leadingInmarsat global operators. Last September, Telenor purchased aportion of LMGT's Inmarsat shares to become the largest owner of Inmarsat,holding the maximum permitted stake of 15%.

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Industry gears up for Alaska studies

Industry gears up for Alaska studies

Items on what association president John Hansen described as 'a very, very full agenda' included discussion of Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles' bill that would give the state more industry oversight and create the Alaska Coastal Protection Fund with a fee amounting to $1 per passenger per voyage. (However, the association did not release a public position on the proposed legislation.) Hansen says the nine cruise line members spent most of their time preparing an action plan for the upcoming Alaska season and reviewing industry environmental initiatives. In other related news, last Friday the Alaska Cruise Ship Initiative released its Part 2 Report covering data gathered since last May by four working groups. The groups analysed findings from Summer 2000 (earlier reported by Seatrade Insider) to formulate recommendations for future studies and action. Among several recommendations put forward is the continued monitoring of air and water quality. Ambient air should be tracked on a year-round basis to establish a baseline standard, while a measure of visible haze (not just smokestack emissions) in the city of Juneau should be carried out. Wastewater study goals for the summer include increasing understanding of the characteristics and impacts of ship discharges as well as evaluating initiatives such as the new treatment technologies being tested by various lines. Last October the ASCI wastewater and solid waste discharge working group agreed to establish a science panel to help assess complex technical issues. Five scientists, from organisations including the US Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA and the SeaLife Centre, began meeting in January. Their initial focus is reviewing the Alaska SeaLife Centre's recently completed report on wastewater discharges. ASCI's spring steering committee meeting is set for April 6 in Juneau.

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Tropicale transforming into Costa ship

Tropicale transforming into Costa ship

It re-enters service as CostaTropicale on June 9, offering seasonal seven-night sailings from Venice to Bari, Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonos, Kusadasi and Dubrovnik. Work is being carried out on the cabins, public rooms and exterior of the 36,700gt vessel that can accommodate 1,412 passengers (1,022 basis two). Earlier, Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison told Seatrade Insider Tropicale 'will initially go into the Italian market, in effect replacing the capacity lost by the lack of the stretch of the Classica.' Whether CostaTropicale ultimately becomes assigned to develop the German market under the Costa umbrella remains to be seen. It's quite possible that a vessel from another Carnival brand could be tapped for that mission.

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