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Articles from 2002 In June


Itapos;s official: P&O to operate R3 & R4

Itapos;s official: P&O to operate R3 & R4

One vessel will operate year-round in Polynesia, while the other will remain for two months of the year and spend the other 10 months in New Caledonia. Ten-day cruises are foreseen starting in December.

The move is a relief for Polynesia, where the two ships were carrying 40,000 passengers a year with a turnover of 25m to 30m euros. Moreover, the wharf in Uturoa, Raiatea's main town, had been specially equipped for the Renaissance vessels.

Tourism in Polynesia will develop further with the arrival in 2003 of Windstar Cruises' WindSurf which -- with 150 more cabins -- will replace WindSong. The local government has adopted new measures to encourage island cruises, including holding the line on some taxes and customs duties to make the region more competitive wtih the Caribbean.

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Carnival: RCL letter uses apos;scare tacticsapos;

Carnival: RCL letter uses apos;scare tacticsapos;

Carnival said FM Strategic Communications, acting on behalf of client Royal Caribbean, has been actively soliciting agents to write the FTC.

Carnival's letter states that Royal Caribbean and its lobbyist are asking agents to tell the FMC that if Carnival buys P&O Princess, it will have 'too much power over prices,' that 'clients will have no other real choices, and that Carnival could lower or cut out commissions to travel agents altogether. All of these allegations are scare tactics that are blatantly untrue.' Carnival also dismissed the Royal Caribbean letter's claim that Carnival would control more than half of the US market and said cruising comprises less than 3% of the overall vacation market.

'Sadly, this is another in a series of unethical and desperate attacks by RCCL on Carnival Corp designed to undermine our efforts with regulators in both Europe and the United States,' Carnival's letter continues. 'Royal Caribbean has deliberately and selectively spread misinformation and falsehoods in its campaign of lies against our company and violated a confidentiality agreement with the European Commission -- all in an effort to spoil our proposed merger.' Carnival's letter -- signed by chairman and ceo Micky Arison -- also states that Carnival brands operate independently, setting their own pricing and commission policies, and adds, 'We do not intend to change our long established, proven operating policy in the event our merger with P&O Princess is successful.'

Immediate comment was not available from Royal Caribbean.

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Festival postpones Havana startup

Festival postpones Havana startup

Instead, the weekly, year-round programme will commence on December 23.

'In order to guarantee the Caribe product the same quality standards as the Festival product, we have delayed the start,' said Graham Smith, Festival's UK md. Smith said as many passengers as possible are being rebooked on other Festival ships together with 'substantial financial compensation and vouchers to spend on board.' Agent commissions are protected.

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RCL: Carnival deal is apos;anti-competitiveapos;

RCL: Carnival deal is apos;anti-competitiveapos;

Responding to Carnival's charge that Royal Caribbean is using 'scare tactics' to spur travel agents to oppose the Carnival deal by writing to the Federal Trade Commission (see story below), the No. 2 operator says: 'We have stated repeatedly that Carnival's takeover is harmful to consumers, travel agents and other suppliers.

'We are simply educating travel agents to the fact that a combined Carnival/P&O Princess would control 50% of the cruise market measured in US passenger days. Even if the measurement is US passenger berths, as Carnival states in its press release, Carnival would control 49.4%,' Royal Caribbean says, adding, 'Travel agents understand the harmful effects these numbers would have on their freedom of choice if Carnival were to achieve such a dominant position.'

Counters Carnival spokesman Tim Gallagher: 'Carnival and Royal Caribbean have virtually the same amount of berths in the US marketplace.' He says a Carnival-P&O combo would comprise 46% of US berths at year-end 2002 while a Royal-P&O combo adds up to 45%.

Royal Caribbean claims its merger with P&O Princess 'will result in continuing vigorous competition, with two virtually equal competitors in the cruise market.' The company cites a Travel Weekly poll in which agents supported a Royal-P&O merger over Carnival's bid by more than a two-to-one margin. (The poll was conducted last year, shortly after Carnival announced its hostile takeover bid. - Ed.)

'The facts show that Carnival's takeover is anti-competitive and Royal Caribbean's merger is pro-competitive. Royal Caribbean will continue to inform regulators, consumers and travel agents of those facts,' the company says. Royal Caribbean's statement does not address Carnival's allegation that RCL violated a confidentiality agreement with the European Commission.

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Musical pair for MSC

Musical pair for MSC

Lirica will be launched in spring 2003, followed by a second newbuild a year later, to be named MSC Opera. 'Both MSC Lirica and MSC Opera will express the true Italian ambiance and service that have become the hallmark of our cruise line,' remarks New York-based Nicola Arena, president of MSC Italian Cruises, part of the MSC Group of Companies.

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Silja Opera hitting the high notes

Silja Opera hitting the high notes

Cruises will depart Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays through to end August. Then owner Silja Line, which employs a total of ten ships in the Baltic including five passenger/car ferries and three train/car ferries, will operate Opera from Helsinki to St Petersburg on Wednesdays and Fridays. In between the longer cruises, Silja Opera will make 24-hour cruises to Tallinn. In January 2003, the St Petersburg run will switch to Riga.

Silja has invested 6.5m euros in modifying the ship (the former SuperStar Taurus) for her new service. The restaurants and interior decor has been renewed and an enhanced ice strengthening of the hull to cater for winter Baltic sailings. Work was undertaken by Turku Repair Yard. Besides the onboard programme, passengers have the whole day in port on the mini-cruises to either partake in conducted city tours or explore independently. No visa is required for Silja's tours in St Petersburg, but those passengers wishing to move around on their own will have to get a personal visa in advance.

Silja Opera marks a return to cruising for Silja Line following a break of nine years when it operated Sally Albatross. That same vessel is now returning to the Baltic under Silja colours once again following an extensive re-build in 1995 and spells as Leeward (for NCL) and SuperStar Taurus (for Star Cruises).

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Rolls Royce completes QM2 order

Rolls Royce completes QM2 order

Rolls Royce, which manufacturers the Brown Brothers range of ship stabilisers, has taken a year to complete the four 100 ton, folding fin stabilisers for the luxury liner. 'The departure of the stabilisers marks the completion of the £1.5m project,' says Gerry Burton, operations director and site manager in Dunfermline.

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Fred Olsen rolls out 2003/04 programme

Fred Olsen rolls out 2003/04 programme

'It is the most extensive programme the line has undertaken,' remarked marketing and sales director, Nigel Lingard at a programme launch in London last night.

For the first time ever Black Watch will embark on a world cruise from Southampton on January 5, 2004. The 105-night cruise visits 32 ports in 20 countries and has been introduced 'due to demand from our extremely loyal customers who have already booked all suites and all singles on the 28,492gt ship,' said Lingard. With the line avoiding Suez transits and the Middle East for the 'immediate future', the world cruise will be spent mainly in southern hemisphere waters including the Caribbean, Panama Canal transit, Pacific Ocean (10 days), South Pacific islands, Australia, New Zealand and routing back to UK, via South Africa and the Canaries.

Another first for Fred Olsen's 2003/04 programme is two turmarounds in the US. Latest addition to the fleet, 19,089gt Braemar will sail an 11-night cruise out of New York next September to Montreal and back before proceeding on a 15-night cruise to Bridgetown. 'We are looking to grow our US passenger count on the New York-Montreal runs and would aim to have a two-thirds UK, one-third US mix of the 730 passenger complement,' Lingard told Seatrade Insider.

Black Prince will be based in Malaga from November 03 to January 04 for a series of fly/cruises to the Canaries and East Med for which Fred Olsen will use exclusively chartered aircraft from two locations in the UK. 'Fly/ cruises are becoming increasingly popular as our cruise clientele reduces in age,' says Lingard 'which means we are moving further away from of ex-UK year-round format.'

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Cassens hoping to secure more yacht-type orders

Cassens hoping to secure more yacht-type orders

Sun Bay II, was delivered by Cassens to Bahamian Sun Bay Holiday Ltd in early June and was christened on June 7, in Kiel, by German actress Grit Boettcher.

A sistership to 2001-built Sun Bay, both are controlled by a group of investors from southern Germany. At a length of 88.50 mtr and maximum draught of 3.60 mtr Sun Bay II has 46 outside cabins. Nine of the cabins have a private veranda. Powered by a MaK-engine with an output of 1,850 kW the vessel can sail at a maximum speed of 16 knots.

After her christening, Sun Bay II performed chartered cruises out of Kiel related to the Volvo Ocean Race and, has subsequently, started to cruise in the Baltic and Northern Scandinavian waters. Autumn will see her in the Mediterranean before she leaves Europe for the Caribbean. Sun Bay II is bare-boat chartered to Sun Bay Cruises Ltd. (Limassol) for ten years and is technically managed by Bremen-based H. Glahr.

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Stockholm builds new pier for sightseeing boats

Stockholm builds new pier for sightseeing boats

'Finally we have a real means of transport for cruise passengers. This will mean better service and, we hope, even more satisfied visitors,' says Maria Guggenberger, project manager for Stockholm Cruising Capital at Stockholm Visitors Board.

According to Cruise Europe's 2001 statistics, Stockholm was the second busiest cruise port in North Europe with 191 calls and 170,000 passengers, 26,000 of which either began or ended their cruise in the Swedish port.

Destination Stockholm is awaiting 180 calls in 2002 and 148,000 passengers which represents a 13% drop compared to last season, although the number of turnarounds will increase to 25 vessels. Its first call took place on May 7 when Albatross arrived and the last call of the season is Costa Romantica on September 10. Amongst vessels calling for the first time are Asuka, Constellation, Braemar, Silver Shadow, Seven Seas Mariner and Brilliance of the Seas. Passengers will be able to partake in the city's 750 year jubilee celebrations, as Stockholm was founded in 1252.

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