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Articles from 2007 In April


Paul Gauguin marks a decade in Tahiti

Paul Gauguin marks a decade in Tahiti

In 2008, the ship will offer 43 voyages with itineraries of seven to 11 nights calling on the Society and Tuamotu islands and longer voyages exploring the Marquesas, Cook and Austral islands. A greater number of shorter, seven-night cruises will be offered than in recent years.

Seven pre- and post-cruise programs are available in 2008, including two new properties: Le Taha'a Private Island and Spa and Moorea Pearl Resort and Spa. Extensions are also offered to Australia and New Zealand in conjunction with select departures.

Twelve sailings will provide 'Ambassadors of the Environment' Circles of Interest for youngsters; these programs are offered through a partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society. The cost is $199. Cousteau himself will sail on the 14-night voyage departing Sept. 27, 2008.

The 14-night sailing on Jan. 5 is a 'President's Cruise' with special events hosted by Regent president Mark Conroy.

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RCI enables agent profiles in online locator

RCI enables agent profiles in online locator

'We are essentially giving our travel partners an unprecedented full page of free advertising on RoyalCaribbean.com,' said Lisa Bauer, svp sales for RCI.

Agents can create their online profile, including a company logo or photo, CLIA accreditation and specialties in market segments and destinations, accessible by consumers through the 'Locate a Travel Agent' link.

When consumers search for a local or specialized agency by name, city, state or zip code, they can view the profile by clicking on the 'About this Agency' link on the results page.

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Royal Caribbean forms Teen Advisory Board

Royal Caribbean forms Teen Advisory Board

The board will be on hand to introduce recommendations already implemented aboard Liberty of the Seas when the ship arrives stateside on Friday.

Enhancements to be rolled out fleetwide include musical instruments for jam sessions, Dance Dance Revolution and competitive Nintendo Wii video gaming. Teen-only dining in the Windjammer Café is another of a number of new concepts.

The Teen Advisory Board grew out of a study commissioned to analyze teens' travel habits and preferences. Conducted with Stone Mantel, an insights consultancy firm, the study determined teens want to explore the world, experience cultures and try new activities that shape their identity.

The research was followed by the formation of a series of targeted groups of 36 teens, ages 15 to 17. Finally, 10 teens - identified as influential among their peers - were selected to join the advisory board.

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V.Ships launches V.Hospitality initiative

V.Ships launches V.Hospitality initiative

Hospitality, a specialised unit focused on recruitment and hotel services for the global hospitality industry.

The recruitment arm of the new venture aims to provide quality contract personnel, with a focus on recruitment and career development for executive leaders, service and technical personnel, marine personnel and entertainers.

The hotel services arm will offer hotel management, catering and related consulting services using the expertise of V.Ships Leisure as a high-quality service provider to the shipping and off-shore industry.

V.Hospitality is intended to strategically complement the company's current shipping business at a time when the global leisure market is poised for double-digit annual growth.

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Australian co-owner confirms river orders

Australian co-owner confirms river orders


APT, a company launched by the late Bill McGeary in Melbourne 80 years ago that is now run by son, Geoff and his children, Robert and Louise, has joined forces with Amadeus Waterways to build a fleet of five European river ships.


The first of the five, the A$20m (US$16.5m) Amadagio, entered service last year and the second, Amalegro, was christened in Vienna last month.


The third and fourth vessels currently under construction are Amacello, which will enter service next March and Amadante, which will go on line in June, 2008.


Barry Matters, md of Australian Pacific Touring, said construction of the fifth, as yet unnamed ship, which is to enter service in April, 2009, will commence early next year.


The new vessels are being built to APT's specifications under the direction of Rudi Schreiner, the md of joint partner Amadeus who Matters describes as 'one of the world's foremost experts on European river cruising ship design and operation.'


Meanwhile, Avalon Waterways, the Globus & Cosmos river cruise company that operates Avalon Tapestry, Artistry and Poetry, has added two new ships to its fleet. Avalon Tranquility and Avalon Imagery, sister ships of Avalon Tapestry which entered service in 2006, were christened in Germany last month.

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South Americaapos;s Southern Cone in focus

South Americaapos;s Southern Cone in focus

The Southern Cone Cruise Forum 2007, which takes place in Ushuaia, Argentina on May 27-29 and is organised in association with Seatrade, will focus on these issues bringing together international cruise line executives to meet local industry executives and decision makers.

Speakers include Hugo Coccaro, governor of the Province of Tierra del Fuego; Alejandro Daniel Vernet, president of Tierra del Fuego Port Authority; Ricardo Lujan, undersecretary of ports and sea roads; plus other local officials. They will be joined by cruise line executives including Mike Ronan, vp government & community relations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Bruce Krumrine, director of shore operations, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line; Edouard Petitson, port captain, Norwegian Cruise Line; and Mike Pawlus, vp product planning for Regent Seven Seas.

Issues such as ports costs and berthing, port infrastructure and services, crew supply and training, environmental concerns and ecotourism will all be discussed in depth.

Representatives from Surcruise, the association of cruise ports from Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Argentina, will also attend the event which includes workshop sessions where delegates, cruise lines and officials will meet face-to-face. Surcruise honorary secretary, Juan Permuy, said day two of the conference will focus on the Southern Cone with speakers from ports throughout the region. For more information go to www.seatradeush.com.ar.

Host port Ushuaia, located in the southern tip of Patagonia, received 378 calls and 97,500 passenger movements during winter 2006/07, a rise of 20% compared to the previous year. Some 40% of traffic is comprised of cruise vessels circumnavigating South America, the rest (around 20 ships) is using the port as a home base, from September to April, for itineraries to Antarctica.

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Pullmantur drags Royal Caribbeanapos;s Q1

Pullmantur drags Royal Caribbeanapos;s Q1

The company also said demand, especially in the Caribbean, has been softer than expected.

Royal Caribbean described Pullmantur's highly seasonal business as 'very strong' in the summer months but 'very weak' in the winter. However, the company said that pattern has little impact on the profitability of the year as a whole in reaffirming its full year EPS guidance of $3.05 to $3.20.

In the first quarter Royal Caribbean posted net income of $8.8m, compared to $119.5m a year ago. The first quarter of 2006 included a net gain of $36m, or 16 cents per share, from the partial settlement of a lawsuit. Revenues for the first quarter 2007 increased to $1.2bn, up from $1.1bn a year ago.

Demand, especially for Caribbean cruises, has been weaker than expected, Royal Caribbean said, adding that its revenue decline was offset by cost control. First quarter net yields, not including Pullmantur, decreased 4.2%, below the company's guidance of down 2% to 3%.

'After a strong fall performance, close-in bookings in the first quarter required more aggressive price promotions than we experienced throughout the last year,' said Royal Caribbean chairman and ceo Richard Fain. However, cost performance came in better than guidance. Excluding fuel, net costs per berth increased 2.5% for the quarter versus guidance of an approximate 4% increase. Including fuel, costs increased 1.5% compared to guidance of up 2% to 3%.

Royal Caribbean said the soft Caribbean pricing environment continues through spring, and is somewhat greater than forecast in February. However, it called the revenue picture for the balance of the year more encouraging. Load factors and pricing are ahead of the same time last year for the fourth quarter and into the first quarter of 2008.

For the full year 2007, Royal Caribbean forecasts net yields will increase approximately 2% compared to 2006 or, excluding Pullmantur, to be flat. For the second quarter, net yields are expected to be flat or, excluding Pullmantur, to decrease approximately 1%. Second quarter EPS is expected to be in the range of 59 cents to 63 cents.

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A Portofino naming for Royal Princess

A Portofino naming for Royal Princess

Royal Princess, formerly Swan Hellenic's Minerva II and a sister to Tahitian Princess and Pacific Princess, will be named by a godmother to be announced shortly.

The relocated celebration will take place on the ship's first port call during a voyage that begins in Civitavecchia the previous day.

'Although we're saddened by the tragedy that prompted this change, we are pleased to name Royal Princess in a beautiful Mediterranean port that signifies the ship's visits to some of the most scenic ports in Europe,' said Princess Cruises president Alan Buckelew. 'Portofino is a charming example of the type of the "explorer" destinations we're able to highlight with this smaller vessel, and we're delighted to be able to christen our new ship in such a beautiful location.'

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How much did Pullmantur impact Q1?

How much did Pullmantur impact Q1?

? The company posted earnings per share of 4 cents, compared to 55 cents a year ago.

During today's call with analysts, Royal Caribbean cfo Brian Rice didn't give Pullmantur specifics. But he said more than half of the 51-cent difference in EPS between a year ago and the recent quarter was due to a combination of Pullmantur's impact and the partial legal settlement that added 16 cents to Q1 EPS in 2006.

Royal Caribbean expects Pullmantur will also drag second quarter earnings but will boost third and fourth quarter profits.

Bottom line: the Spanish cruise operator will have little impact on the profitability of the year as a whole.

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Two ship debuts for Cape Liberty

Two ship debuts for Cape Liberty

, will host the stateside debut of Royal Caribbean International's Liberty of the Seas when the ship arrives from Europe on Thursday.

Several days of trade and media events are planned before Liberty heads to its year-round home in Miami.

Celebrity Journey, formerly Pullmantur's Blue Dream, is also en route to Cape Liberty where events are planned on Friday by Celebrity Cruises.

On Saturday, Celebrity Journey sets off on its first Bermuda cruise.

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