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Oscar goes to sea

Oscar goes to sea

The three lines will telecast the 74th annual awards show live in various theatres and lounges. Aboard Celebrity and RCI ships (all but Splendour and Legend of the Seas), the Oscar telecast will serve as the centrepiece for themed events, drink specials and look-alike contests. Princess vessels likewise will feature Oscar parties during a formal-dress night with a red carpet and 'paparazzi' photographers. In a particularly intriguing twist, a Princess release says shipboard fashion critics will also have their say as they determine the best- and worst-dressed passengers.

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Analyst: CCL pricing looking up

Analyst: CCL pricing looking up

'The benefit of expense reduction and pricing improvement pushes our '03 EPS estimate to $2.09 from $2.02,' Farley said Thursday after CCL's conference call on Q1 earnings.

Q3 discounting may not be as deep as feared. 'Competitor NCL has load factors ahead of last year, so we believe that may mean less chance of heavy discounting in the market later on. Furthermore, group business has recovered, which we believe will help rebuild a booking base in advance, further stabilizing prices,' Farley wrote.

In addition, a sale of the Nieuw Amsterdam looks like a possibility, Farley said. Carnival sold the Nieuw Amsterdam to American Classic Voyages, which operated it as the Patriot in Hawaii until AMCV declared bankruptcy; the ship was returned to mortgage-holder CCL. 'We believe the company may be close to a sale of the old Nieuw Amsterdam,' Farley said. 'If that happens, it would be the first large ship sale in over a year and could bode well for the possibility of other used ship sales, improving the industry capacity outlook.'

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Star signs $450m refinancing facility

Star signs $450m refinancing facility

Said Dato Lim after the signing, 'With the completion of this facility arrangement, the Star Cruises Group is in a stronger financial position to more aggressively and efficiently extend our lead in Asia Pacific and tap into new markets in North Asia. The timing is crucial as an economic rebound is generally anticipated in the second half of 2002 and the cruise industry inevitably will benefit from this global well-being.'Today's South China Morning Post reported Star is to launch a service between Xiamen and Hong Kong starting next week and is planning to extend its service to other mainland cities in north-eastern China. It was also reported that the group was working on a proposal for a plan to build a cruise terminal on the site of the former Kai Tak airport.

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Fain works the regulatory route

Fain works the regulatory route

14. They didn't, but on Thursday Fain said he is indeed still working to make the merger a reality.

As regulators in both Europe and the US scrutinize the RCL-POC merger as well as the hostile takeover bid by Carnival for POC, Fain issued a statement from London saying he is cooperating with the reviews. 'We remain convinced of the superior relative value that our proposed merger with P&O Princess offers both to consumers and to the shareholders of our two companies,' Fain said. 'Fortunately, the cruise industry has enjoyed a dramatic recovery from the effects of September 11 and this makes us even more confident that the merger will help elevate the combined company to greater levels of success. The regulatory process is inevitably unpredictable, but we will continue to present data that demonstrate the benefits of our transaction and that contrast these with Carnival's takeover proposal.'

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Celebrity cancels three cruises for emergency repairs

Celebrity cancels three cruises for emergency repairs

Celebritysaid the pod problem stems from ball-bearing units that wear outprematurely, forcing ships to reduce cruising speed and potentially missport calls. Both ships will drydock at the Grand Bahama Shipyard inFreeport, Bahamas. The Summit goes in March 29 and Infinity April 13.

Theaction forces the cancellation of three cruises - Summit's March 29 sailingfrom Fort Lauderdale, and Infinity's April 13 and April 20 departures fromSan Juan. In addition, the Summit's April 8 voyage will instead depart April12, shortening the cruise from 11 to seven nights, while Infinity's April 6and April 27 itineraries have been modified. The line is offering refundsand 50% discounts to consumers and is protecting travel agent commissionsplus paying a $50 rebooking fee.

Celebrity parent Royal Caribbean said the cancelled cruises are expected to negatively impact 2002earnings by 6 cents per share. 'We do not expect this to significantlyimpact the stock, given that the recent booking environment has been strongand we raised our 2002 EPS estimate by 33% last week to $1.25 from 94cents,' UBS Warburg analyst Robin Farley said.

Royal Caribbean spokesmanMichael Sheehan said all four ring bearings on each ship will be replacedwith 'an upgraded, modified version that is supposed to be superior.' TheInfinity had a similar problem with a different ball-bearing ring in June2001. Of the other Millennium-class vessels, Sheehan said the Millennium hashad no ball-bearing problems and the Constellation, scheduled for deliveryMay 3, will have its bearing rings replaced in the yard. 'It will not delayits delivery,' Sheehan said.

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Port Canaveral exec honoured

Port Canaveral exec honoured

' The Propeller Club is an international organization of maritimeand industry leaders with chapters in the U.S., Europe and Asia. 'Macexemplifies the mission and purpose of our club,' said club vp JustinRussell. 'He has been an integral part of turning this small fishing andcargo port into the world's second-largest cruise port.'

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Festival Cruises announces capital infusion

Festival Cruises announces capital infusion

New funding includes a capital increase of Euro65m, contributed by existing shareholders as well as through a private share placement with a group of European investors. The package also includes a Euro100m bond of up to seven years' duration through a pool of Italian banks.


Festival's chairman and chief executive George F. Poulides underlined the importance of the news to the company's overall development: 'It has long been part of our strategy to widen the company's shareholding base and to expand our fleet at a rate consistent with our financial strength,' he said. 'This new funding gives us a very sure footing for continuing Festival's remarkable growth.'


Festival takes delivery of European Stars this spring, increasing the company's fleet to six ships. European Stars will perform weekly Mediterranean cruises through to mid-December, with calls at Barcelona, Marseilles, Genoa, Naples, Messina, Bizerta and Palma de Mallorca.
Referring to the last year Poulides continued, 'It has been an exciting period, including our pioneering cruise season in Cuba as well as record earnings and booking levels.'


Poulides added: 'With delivery of European Stars and record bookings in the first three months of this year, Festival is projecting its best-ever year in 2002.' He also said the group is planning new departures that will involve its ever-popular 'Discovery' cruises fleet, which includes the classic vessels Azur and Flamenco. Throughout 2002, Azur is sailing weekly cruises from Venice through the Corinth Canal, while Flamenco is offering traditional weekly voyages to the Norwegian fjords and Baltic capitals, both from the port of Kiel.

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Carnivalapos;s 1Q results exceed expectations

Carnivalapos;s 1Q results exceed expectations

8m for 1Q 2002, compared to net income of $128m on revenues of $1bn for the same quarter in 2001. Revenues for the 1Q of 2002 were down 10% compared to the same quarter last year. This decrease was primarily caused by the impact of September 11 events, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of guests purchasing air travel and also lower cruise ticket prices and occupancies. These reductions were partially offset by a 2.3% increase in cruise capacity.

Net revenue yields were down 7.5% in Q1 compared to last year but Carnival chairman Micky Arison pointed out this was 'a significant improvement over our November expectations that first quarter net revenue yields would be down 15%.' Howard Frank told analysts bookings during this Wave Period have continued to be strong and Arison confirmed in the past a turn-down is normally seen during weeks 6-8: 'we are now in week 10 and bookings haven't turned down.'

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NCL to add second ship to Seattle in 2003

NCL to add second ship to Seattle in 2003

NCL has booked theSaturday and Sunday slots for seven-day Alaska cruises, he announced atSeatrade Miami. Veitch wouldn't say which ship would move there, but he did say the Norwegian Sky would return. Holland America Line, which is offering Seattle-based cruises this year, will return the Amsterdam to its hometown in 2003 as well. However, the Amsterdam will switch from Saturday to Friday departures next year because NCL requested the Saturday slot first. 'We have demonstrated to the market the viability of running seven-day cruises out of Seattle to the point that we're confident of putting a second ship there,' Veitch said.

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Industry poured $17.9bn into US in 2000

Industry poured $17.9bn into US in 2000

Cruise-related spending grew 16.8% between 1997 and 2000 to $1 0.3bn, according to the study, which also noted that US capital expenditures by cruise linesmore than tripled during the period. In total, lines and their passengers spent $9.4bnon US goods and services in 2000.

Cruise expenditures generated 257,067 jobs and $8.7bn in total wages for US employees in 2000, with the industry's economic impact reaching into 'every state economy,' according to ICCL. The largest number of workers employed through industry operations in the US were in transportation fields.Other cruise-related jobs were in the areas of wholesale and retail trade, agriculture, insurance, entertainment and hotels and lodging.

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