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ROC takes delivery of Olympia Explorer

ROC takes delivery of Olympia Explorer

Originally slated for delivery on April 27 2001, the ship has been the subject of dispute between yard and owner. Whilst the godmother of the ship and christening date have yet to be finalised, it is likley to take place in Piraeus in early June.

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Ratcliffe: Impact of 9/11 events limited to 12 months

Ratcliffe: Impact of 9/11 events limited to 12 months

We have absorbed an 8% reduction in like for like yields and still increased pre-tax profits by 43%, achieved through a good performance on costs.'

Pricing in North America has improved and is currently close to levels at this time last year reports P&O Princess adding, 'whilst it is clearly early in the booking cycle, to date the volume and prices of bookings for Q4 and beyond are not inconsistent with our belief that the impact of events of September 11 will be limited to a 12 month period, ending with Q3, 2002.' Ratcliffe reiterated this message in a conference call to analysts today.

Whilst UK and Australia bookings continue to be positive, 'there is some pricing pressure in Germany', said Ratcliffe. Seetours' AIDA brand is reportedly performing well as it absorbs a doubling of capacity caused by the introduction of AIDAvita next month. While bookings for the new A'ROSA brand are reasonably good for the initial northern European programme reports P&O Princess, demand from German consumers for travel to North America has not recovered from the decline seen post September 11. As a result, A'ROSA BLU's Canada/New England programme later this year has been cancelled and replaced with alternative itineraries.

As far as expansion plans go, Ratcliffe declined to comment on reports that the company plans to charter R3 and R4 for Australasian operations and would not be drawn on future newbuildings other than to say, 'in due course we will be ordering further ships but not at the pace we have been doing in the past.'

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Fred Olsen switches to South America

Fred Olsen switches to South America

Taking in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru, this itinerary replaces the brochured Far East cruise, following concerns about security in the light of the current Middle Eastern political situation. The dates and length of the cruise - 72 nights - are identical, as are the prices for the full length cruise.

Lol Nichols, Fred Olsen's general sales manager said: 'Having monitored the political situation closely, we took the decision to act now, to ensure that an itinerary is in place which has the minimum chance of disruption. Our last Black Watch Around South America cruise in 2001 was our most successful long cruise ever, so we are confident this will be a popular replacement for the Far East.'

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NCL and Orient to distribute through Amadeus Cruise

NCL and Orient to distribute through Amadeus Cruise

Launched in October 2000, Amadeus Cruise, which is utilised in 24 markets worldwide, features 'point and click' browser-based technology that allows travel agents to more efficiently book cruises. The latest version of Amadeus Cruise features deck plans and cabin photos as well as upgrades to existing features.

Amadeus currently works with NCL and Orient Lines to provide an integrated, customised air/sea reservations solution. 'We are very pleased to broaden our relationship with Amadeus and become a provider on Amadeus Cruise,' said Andy Stuart, svp of marketing and sales for the NCL Group. Amadeus, headquartered in Madrid, entered the UK market in 1991, having identified the region as a strategic key target for future development. Over the last two years, the company has expanded with offices employing some 400 people based at Gatwick and Heathrow.

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ROC considers its position on EU ruling

ROC considers its position on EU ruling

ROC deputy chairman, Andreas Potamianos tells Seatrade Insider, 'Our legal people are looking at the initial ruling and political dimension involved. We are considering our response on what we think is a very legitimate claim.'

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Early delivery for Navigator of the Seas?

Early delivery for Navigator of the Seas?

The company is also considering asking Kvaerner Masa-Yards to accelerate by a few weeks the delivery of Navigator of the Seas, the fourth Voyager ship. If so, the newbuild would be delivered in December to take advantage of holiday sailings. Royal Caribbean additionally confirmed it will deploy six ships in Europe next year, more than doubling its product offerings there.

'Our new ships continue to generate strong consumer demand in the marketplace,' said Royal Caribbean chairman and ceo Richard Fain. 'Based on the improved pricing trends in the market and the timing of the holiday season, we think a slightly earlier delivery date for Navigator of the Seas may provide an advantageous revenue opportunity.'

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Royal Caribbean beats the Street by one cent

Royal Caribbean beats the Street by one cent

The company also said that in recent weeks, pricing has returned to pre-September 11 levels and going forward, yields are projected to be down 5-7% in the second and third quarters vs. 2001 (earlier guidance was down 7-8%). Continued close-in booking patterns limit fourth quarter visibility.

Net income for the first quarter was $53m - essentially the same as in Q1 '01 - on revenues that climbed 10% to $800m from $727m. Net income was impacted by $5m in passenger and travel agent related expenses due to the drydocking of two ships for podded propulsion system repairs.

Yields were off 7% compared to the first quarter of 2001, mainly because of significantly discounted pricing in the initial months after September 11. By January, pricing on new bookings for the first quarter was only marginally lower than during the same period the prior year, Royal Caribbean said.

On an available passenger cruise day basis, operating and SG&A expenses were down 14% for the quarter. SG&A costs for the quarter were down 27%, achieved by cost containment and the timing of marketing expenses. Certain operating expenses were also lower due to the impact of September 11. Agent commissions dropped in tandem with cruise pricing, and air travel expenses were off because of reduced air/sea levels. Air/sea bookings dropped from 31% in the first quarter of 2001 to 20% this year. Both commission and travel costs are expected to return to more normal levels as the year progresses, and Royal Caribbean anticipates that full year operating and SG&A costs, excluding fuel, will be down approximately 5% on an available passenger cruise day basis.

'We are extremely pleased with the speed and strength of the industry's recovery,' said Royal Caribbean chairman and ceo Richard Fain. 'Clearly, the powerful fundamentals of our company and our industry have been proven in recent months. I am encouraged both by the recovery of pricing levels and by the company's ability to manage costs. We are committed to continuing our efforts on both fronts.'

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Post-wave bookings continue strong, Royal says

Post-wave bookings continue strong, Royal says

And RCI/Celebrity president Jack Williams said 'Booking strength after the wave period has continued to be very strong. We did not see the drop off we have seen in past years.' In recent weeks, pricing has been on par with 2001 levels. The company has also become more adept at adjusting rates to today's closer-in booking patterns.

Royal Caribbean redeployed 19% of its fleet as a result of 9/11. The most impacted area was Europe, where only 5% of the company's capacity is deployed this summer compared to 9% in 2001. Currently, 'demand is much stronger for Northern Europe itineraries than for our Mediterranean itineraries,' Williams said. As earlier reported, Royal Caribbean will boost its Europe '03 presence by three ships for a total of six. Asked about possible overcapacity on the Continent next year with many other lines going back, Williams said, 'I feel confident that if the Middle East situation can stabilise, there will be pent-up demand for Europe in '03.' Overall, Fain indicated 'very good' momentum on 2003 business.

Is Royal Caribbean considering new ship orders? 'That's not a major focus for us at the moment,' Fain told analysts. Instead, he said the company is more concerned with 9/11 recovery, improving yields and continuing cost containment.

Two unscheduled drydockings for podded propulsion repairs will cost Royal Caribbean $12m, $5m in Q1 and $7m in Q2. Fain said the pod issue has caused considerable concern. 'This is something that ought to be a lot more reliable than it is,' he said, adding that Rolls Royce, ALSTOM and Chantiers are working hard to resolve the problem.

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HAL promotes Slattery to lead new revenue unit

HAL promotes Slattery to lead new revenue unit

The department isresponsible for worldwide deployment and itinerary planning, market research, pricing and sales policies, as well as revenue and yield management.

Slattery, who reports to David Giersdorf, svp marketing and sales, has been with Holland America for nine years and most recently was director of revenue planning.

As earlier reported here, Capt. Simon Douwes is HAL's new director of itinerary planning, replacing Herman van Deursen, who retired. Douwes is charged with developing itineraries for all HAL ships. 'In his 21 years with Holland America, Capt. Douwes has traveled the world and has extensive knowledge of hundreds of ports of call,' Giersdorf said. 'In addition, Capt. Douwes has interacted with thousands of Holland America guests, giving him valuable insights into their needs and wishes.'

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Costa celebrates

Costa celebrates

A total of 447,808 passengers were carried on the lines eight ships amounting to 3.3m passenger days - a rise of 20% on 1999/2000. Costa chairman Pier Luigi Foschi announced the results in Genoa just prior to the christening of Costa Europa (ex Westerdam). The vessel was christened at Ponte de Mille this evening in presence of godmother Finnish-born Piia Noora Kauppi, at 27 years old the youngest Scandinavian member of the European Parliament. Carnival Corp chairman Micky Arison was also on hand. He told Seatrade Insider that the 1,744 passenger Costa Europa, 'was a beautiful and elegant ship that will do well for Costa.' The vessel has just undergone a Euros 5m refit and will sail in the Med for now and in October and in between out of Amsterdam of fjord and Baltic cruises.

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