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Articles from 2001 In June


Costa names new ships

Costa names new ships

First, in 2002, Costa welcomes CostaEuropa. Currently sailing as Holland America Line's Westerdam, the 1986-built vessel will enter drydock next spring for what the company calls 'a modest refurbishment.' As CostaEuropa, it will carry 1,494 passengers and offer 10- and 11-night Mediterranean cruises. Summer 2003 brings CostaMediterranea, sister to CostaAtlantica. The 2,114-passenger vessel is under construction at Masa-Yards in Helsinki and will debut in time for Costa's Europe season followed by a Caribbean winter programme from Port Everglades. Costa will end the years 2003 and 2004 by launching its two largest vessels ever: the 105,000gt CostaFortuna and CostaMagica. They'll each carry 2,720 passengers double occupancy and are being built at Fincantieri's Sestri yard. CostaMagica will push the Costa fleet to a total of one dozen ships with capacity of 19,000-plus berths.

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Governor to ink Alaska discharge bill

Governor to ink Alaska discharge bill

HB260 was passed in a special session after the Senate failed to address the issue during the regular legislative session. The cruise industry supported the bill. Also attending the signing will be Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, US Coast Guard Capt. Bruce McQueen and Cmdr. Spencer Wood, Rep. Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau), and Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Michele Brown.

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Knowles: others will emulate Alaska

Knowles: others will emulate Alaska

The governor spoke at the signing of HB260 this morning in Juneau. The new law includes a verifiable programme for sampling, testing and reporting wastewater and air discharges; enforceable standards for what ships may discharge in Alaska waters and payment by the cruise lines for the programme's costs. Knowles has been pressing for regulatory controls since last September when he blasted the industry after preliminary results from a sampling of wastewater discharges showed 'shocking' results; of 36 samples, not one fully complied with federal standards. And more than 70% of the grey water samples contained excessive levels of fecal coliform. 'Today, we have an open and constructive, if sometimes uncomfortable, relationship with the cruise ship industry,' Knowles remarked. (Do you agree with the governor's forecast that others will emulate his state? Click on the Survey icon at the top of this page and cast your vote.)

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Delta Queen sets group discounts

Delta Queen sets group discounts

In 2002, discounts of 25%-40% will apply for a group minimum of 10 passengers in no fewer than five cabins, categories A through G. A free 'tour conductor' berth is earned after every nine paying passengers. In the first half of 2002, DQ will also offer free or reduced air on the three boats cruising the Mississippi and Ohio river systems. DQ vp marketing Scott McGinnis says the strategy responds to travel agent requests for 'an easy-to-understand group policy for all sailings that incorporates meaningful discounts and additional rewards such as free or discounted air.'

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Mother, daughter sue NCL for negligence

Mother, daughter sue NCL for negligence

Daniel Hanoian, 30, pleaded guilty in March in federal court to sexually assaulting the girl on a Caribbean cruise aboard Norway last September. Sentencing is set for July 31. The lawsuit, filed in May in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, charges NCL with negligence for failing to offer proper shipboard security and for hiring and failing to supervise Hanoian, whose long arrest record includes indecent exposure, public intoxication and petty theft. An NCL spokeswoman told Seatrade Insider the line 'cannot comment on pending litigation.'

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UBS Warburg upgrades POC

UBS Warburg upgrades POC

Also, Farley notes the stock's improvement relative to Royal Caribbean, at which it has traded to a discount. 'That gap has been closing and we believe POC should trade at a slight premium to RCL, given its better earnings growth and balance sheet,' the analyst says. 'POC's discount to RCL peaked in early April at a 14% discount and that has narrowed to 1-2% in the last two-three months. As investors have gotten more comfortable with P&O management and performance, we believe P&O should trade more fairly at a slight premium to Royal Caribbean's P/E and less of a discount to Carnival's.' UBS Warburg is maintaining current estimates but raising its price target on P&O to $27 based on 14.5x its 2002 EPS estimate (a 20% discount to Carnival ($30.21).

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Chantiers to appeal asbestos decision

Chantiers to appeal asbestos decision

According to the lawyer acting for the plaintiffs, as many as 700 similar cases may be brought against the company. The yard has decided to appeal the court's decision. On Monday, yard boss Patrick Bossier, told French daily newspaper Les Echos that the St Nazaire yard faced closure if the French government agrees to alter early retirement provisions for personnel who have been exposed to asbestos. At the moment personnel can apply for early retirement if they were exposed to asbestos before the end of 1975. Unions want this extended to 1997. Boissier warned that the yard would lose up to 1,500 employees - a quarter of workforce - if new provisions were adopted. Chantiers cruise orderbook numbers nine firm contracts for Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, RCI, Princess, Mediterranean and Festival but as this point two major US lines with ships under contract at the yard that Seatrade Insider contacted for comment downplayed any concerns.

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Steiner to acquire 60% stake in Mandara

Steiner to acquire 60% stake in Mandara

(collectively, 'Mandara Spa'). Steiner Leisure president and ceo Leonard Fluxman confirmed that Steiner will pay $29.4m in cash, $7m in subordinated debt and $8m in Steiner Leisure common shares for the interest in Mandara Spa. The transaction is expected to close in early July. Mandara currently operates spas in more than 50 locations worldwide, principally in Asia and the Pacific, the United States and the Caribbean. Mandara also provides spa services for Silversea Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Orient Lines (and now operates on 11 ships with the recent launch of Silver Whisper). During a conference call with analysts, Fluxman cited potential synergies in training and in boosting product sales in the Mandara spas. NASDAQ-traded STNR's 52-week range is $12.12-$24.93. Shares were trading this morning at around $19.

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Hebridean in good spirits

Hebridean in good spirits

The 1991-built 4,200gt vessel will be officially named by HRH the Princess Royal in Leith on July 3rd. Hebridean Spirit, the former MegaStar Capricorn, has undergone a £3m conversion in the UK enabling her to accommodate 79 guests who will be looked after by a crew of 70. Spirit's inaugural season takes her into the Baltic from where she will move to the Med in July/August to the Red Sea and into the Indian Ocean in December/Jabuary 2002. Bookings for the coming season are going very well reports marketing director, Candida Hubbard. Prices range from £2,900 to £8,600 per person double occupancy on a 7 night cruise, which Michael Fenton, md of Hebridean Island calls, 'fiendishly expensive' but tells Seatrade Insider 'we prefer to be judged on what we give rather than what we charge.'

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Renaissance eyes US homeports

Renaissance eyes US homeports

Although 2002 brochures went out last week, they contain itineraries created by former management, and a company spokesman tells Seatrade Insider some published routes could change from next spring. For example, Renaissance officials are talking with the government of Bermuda about launching a seasonal Boston-Bermuda route, and the line is considering following that up with autumn foliage cruises from Boston or New York. Additionally, Renaissance is eyeing Alaska in 2003, with possible turnarounds from Seattle or San Francisco. Nothing is firm yet. Company officials are aware that before they sell or even advertise US-based itineraries, they must post evidence of financial responsibility coverage under the Federal Maritime Commission's passenger vessel programme. The Renaissance spokesman expresses confidence the line can meet the requirements of Public Law 89-777, administered by the FMC. 'The bonding never stood in our way,' he notes. 'We position our ships where we position them because of passenger demand.' More than five years back, Renaissance sailed occasionally from the US. Now it's considering a return because 'passengers are looking to do more itineraries close to home.' But the spokesman says the line's heaviest ship commitments will remain on its core exotic routes in the Baltic, Mediterranean and South Pacific.

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