News Archive - January 2000

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1-29-00 Duel for NCL has Carnival Seeing Stars The battle for NCL between Star Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line ended last night in Oslo, Norway, when Star cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines agreed to work together to acquire NCL. Under the agreement, Carnival will get a 40 percent stake in Arrasas Ltd, a new company created by Star Cruises to take over NCL. On Feb. 4, an extraordinary meeting of NCL shareholders scheduled by Star cruises will take place, and it is expected that Star will announce a majority stake in NCL and that they will attempt to fire the NCL Board of Directors. Star Cruises has already selected a new CEO, Colin Veitch, a former senior vice president of marketing and corporate development for Princess Cruises, with the intention of appointing him CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line once the takeover by Star is complete.

Carnival, in the agreement with Star Cruises, has canceled its 40 Crown per share offer and will acquire 40 percent of NCL at the price of 35 Crown per share. Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival commented that the new pact was the start of the long-term global alliance between Carnival Corp. and Star Cruises. The agreement between Star Cruises and Carnival came as a surprise to the cruise industry since Kristian Siem, the chairman of NCL Holding ASA, had on Jan. 27 indicated that he would recommend acceptance of the 40 Crown per share Carnival offer to the NCL board.

Carnival originally offered 30 Crowns per share for NCL, and stated that was as high as it would go. Carnival also said that if anyone presented a higher offer it would be happy to sell the 2% stake in NCL it had already acquired. Subsequently, an offer by Singapore based Star Cruises of 35 Crowns came as a surprise to Carnival, who said it would not raise its bid and would allow its tender offer to expire quietly.

On December 17th, Star Cruises announced it had acquired a 50.2% share of NCL's stock, a controlling interest, and the company confidently hired Colin Veitch, a former Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development for Princess Cruises, with the intention of appointing him CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line once the takeover by Star was complete.

However, the fiercely independent NCL wasn't finished. Through a conversion of debt to equity and the issuance of new shares it managed to reduce Star's stake to an estimated 47 percent. Then Carnival upped the ante for Star Cruises by announce a 814 Crown per share offer. It was believed that Star Cruises had three options; to sell to Carnival and make a quick and tidy profit, it could retain its stake in NCL and effectively become a minor partner to Carnival, or to raise its bid. But Star Cruises had another trip up its sleeve, the company took steps to acquire additional shares by winning over other shareholders with small stakes which led to the decision by Carnival to drop its 40 Crown per share offer and to become a minority interest holder in NCL. Back to Top

1-29-00 January 30 Celebration Cruise Cancelled The Celebration needs more time for repairs following the fire in an auxiliary generator on January 12. Carnival President, Bob Dickinson, announced an additional week is required. Celebration is now scheduled to re-enter service February 6.

Passengers on the January 30 cruise will receive the same compensation as those on the cancelled January 16 and 23 sailings; a full refund and 50% off a future 3 to 7-day Carnival cruise prior to December 15, 2001. Back to Top

Carnival's Relentless Expansion Continues Carnival Corporation has signed a letter of intent to acquire Fairfield Travel Group, and operate the company as a subsidiary. Fairfield owns resort properties with six new projects currently under development. Fairfied is one of the largest vacation ownership companies in North America.

In addition, Carnival is moving to purchase the remaining 32% of Cunard not acquired in the 1998 takeover. Back to Top

Fuel Surcharge for Air/Sea Programs Holland America Line is adding a fuel surcharge to their air add-on program for cruises departing after April 20, 2000. There will be a $20.00 surcharge on sailings in the Panama Canal, Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii and Canada/New England. The surcharge will be $10.00 on Trans-Atlantic cruises and South America that depart or arrive in the U.S.

HAL claims the surcharge is necessitated by the airlines' recent addition of fuel surcharges. The entire transportation industry has been hard hit by rising fuel costs in the last seven months. Truckload freight companies began announcing surcharges last summer due to the rising cost of diesel fuel. Matson Navigation Company found it necessary to introduce surcharges on their Hawaii and Guam shipping routes last September citing increased bunker fuel costs as the reason. Back to Top

Year-round Caribbean Cruises for Grand Princess Grand Princess will spend the summer of 2001 in the Caribbean sailing alternating Eastern and Western itineraries from Ft. Lauderdale. St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays will be featured on the Eastern route, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Princess Cays on the Western.

Traditionally, Princess moves ships to Europe and Alaska in May. Grand Princess usually sails in Europe in the summer. The 2001 Europe and Alaska schedules are to be announced shortly. Back to Top

1-27-00 Carnival and NCL Reach a Preliminary Agreement Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Cruise Lines have reached a preliminary agreement, according to Howard Frank, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Carnival Corporation.

Kristian Siem, the chairman of NCL Holding ASA, has indicated that he would recommend acceptance of the new Carnival offer to the NCL board, based on the facts as they exist today. The deal is not final, however, unless NCL's board can deliver more than 50% of the shares to Carnival. The deal is also contingent upon approval by US Regulators.

According to the Carnival spokesperson, the new offer, which represents a 19% increase to the enterprise value of Carnival's previous bid, is still attractive and in Carnival's and in NCL's best interest. Back to Top

1-27-00 Carnival Ups the Ante for NCL Carnival Cruise Line's tender offer of 30 Norwegian Crowns per share of NCL stock was rejected last December 1st, but now Carnival is reviving the offer and has upped the ante to 40 Crowns per share. That places the value for NCL at $1.3 billion dollars (US), and in addition the acquiring company will have to assume NCL's current debt of approximately $800 million.

With the original offer Carnival said that 30 Crowns was as high as they would go, and stated that if anyone presented a higher offer they would be happy to sell the 2% stake in NCL they had already acquired. Subsequently, an offer by Singapore based Star Cruises of 35 Crowns came as a surprise to Carnival, who then stated they would not raise their bid and would allow their tender offer to expire quietly.

On December 17th, Star Cruises announced they had acquired a 50.2% share of NCL's stock, a controlling interest, and the company confidently hired Colin Veitch, a former Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development for Princess Cruises, with the intention of appointing him CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line once the takeover by Star was complete.

However, the fiercely independent NCL wasn't finished. Through a conversion of debt to equity and the issuance of new shares it managed to reduce Star's stake to an estimated 47 percent. Now that Carnival has upped the ante Star Cruises has three options. It can sell to Carnival and make a quick and tidy profit, it could retain its stake in NCL and effectively become a minor partner to Carnival, or it can raise its bid.

No one is exactly sure who owns what here, but one thing that is clear is that Star Cruises' stake has been reduced to less than 50% or Carnival wouldn't be courting. The only other thing that is clear here is that this affair isn't over yet. Back to Top

1-26-00 Commodore Buys Crown Dynasty Commodore Holdings has purchased the Crown Dynasty from Helsinki-based, Neptune Maritime. The purchase reflects Commodore's serious commitment to its newly revived, upscale division, Crown Cruise Line. Commodore had been leasing the 820 passenger ship for 7-day, southern Caribbean itineraries out of Aruba. In December, they announced they would purchase Crown Dynasty and the sale was completed last Monday.

The move returns the Crown Dynasty to her original owners. Built by Commodore in 1993 for its upscale, Crown Cruise Line, the 19,089grt ship was a popular addition to the line. In 1996 Cunard joined with Crown to form Cunard Crown Cruises and Crown Dynasty became Cunard Dynasty. After the collapse of that line, she was leased to Majesty Cruises and sailed as the Crown Majesty. NCL acquired Majesty Cruises in 1997 and renamed her Norwegian Dynasty. The lease ran out last fall and NCL opted not to renew. It was good news to hear that Commodore would lease and refurbish Dynasty and revive the popular Crown brand, known for sophisticated, high quality cruising at an affordable price.

Commodore has invested $5 million in upgrades since re-acquiring this elegant vessel, to bring her up to standard for Crown Cruise Line. Presently, Crown Dynasty is the only ship in the fleet. The 7-day sailings from Aruba fill a gap left by the departure of Premier's Seawind Crown which had been sailing the region for many years. In May Crown Dynasty repositions to begin Bermuda sailings from Philadelphia and Baltimore. Back to Top

1-26-00 NCL's "Name the Ship" Contest You have until February 15th to create a name for NCL's new ship. The name must begin with "Norwegian", in keeping with NCL's other ships, Norwegian Majesty, Dream, Wind, Star, Sea and Sky. You'll also need to write a short essay on why you chose this name, in 50 words or less. Don't forget to give them your name, address and phone number. There will be two Grand Prizes, three First Honourable Mentions and 100 Second Honourable Mentions.

The lucky Grand Prize winners will be flown to the ship and sail on the inaugural voyage in an outside cabin. A $400. shipboard credit will be theirs to enjoy. The First Honorable Mentions win a 7-day Caribbean cruise-only cruise for two on any NCL ship, before December 15, 2000. Gratuities are not included in any of the cruise prizes. Second Honourable Mentions will receive an NCL Polo Shirt.

The ship you are naming is the 80,000grt, 2000 passenger vessel being built at Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven, Germany. Very similar in design to the Norwegian Sky, it will feature larger staterooms with more storage space and wider hallways. There will be abundant public space, an Internet Cafe and multiple dining choices.

This newbuild doesn't sail until September 2001 however, the winning name will be selected on February 29, 2000, so don't delay. Winners will be notified by mail. You must be over 18 years of age and a resident of the United States to enter. Back to Top

1-25-00 Texaribbean is Back The Norwegian Sea will resume its "Texaribbean" cruises on January 30. Last month NCL announced cancellation of the route, deploying the Norwegian Sea for the 3/4-day Bahamas run. Now, the Norwegian Sea is in dry dock in Tampa, undergoing a multi-million refit which will include the addition of an internet cafe. The "Texaribbean" itinerary sails from the Port of Houston on Sundays, calling at the Mexican ports, Cancun and Cozumel, and Raotan,Honduras, on the 7-day itinerary.Back to Top

Black Boxes for Cruise Ships Following the Norwegian Dream/Ever Decent collision, it is expected that the International Marine Organization will recommend mandatory black boxes on all classes of vessels. Black boxes have been vital in the investigation of aviation incidents and it is believed they would serve the same useful purpose on board ships. Back to Top

Costa Expands Costa Cruises intends to expand capacity by 50% to 11,000 berths. The plan includes stretching Costa Romantic and Costa Classica from 53,000grt to 78,000 grt. Work will begin in November 2000 on Costa Classica to be completed in March 2001. Costa's new ship, Costa Victoria is scheduled to enter service in August. This ship features azipod propulsion, which is growing in popularity with cruise ship builders. Azipods pull the ship through the water and can be rotated to act as bow or stern thrusters. Back to Top

Royal Olympic to Sue Royal Olympic Cruises is suing the European Commission for compensation due to cancellations forced by the Kosovo conflict last summer. Back to Top

1-21-00 New Renaissance Sails in Northern Europe Renaissance Cruises will sail into new waters starting in June when the R6 begins Northern European sailings. The newly christened R6, is the sixth in a series of eight ships Renaissance is deploying around the world. The 30,277grt ship will carry 684 passengers (at double occupancy) and 373 crew. Renaissance cruises are unique as the ships are smoke free and adults only. Passengers enjoy a casual dining experience with open seating and a relaxed dress code throughout the cruise.

Three 16-day itineraries have been announced:"The Capitals of Northern Europe" June 2, London (Dover) to Stockholm, calling at Le Havre (for Paris), Zeebrugge and Antwerp Belgium, Amsterdam Holland, Oslo Norway, Copenhagen Denmark, Tallinn Estonia, 2 days in St. Petersburg Russia, and Helsinki Finland.

"Scandinavian Odyssey" Stockholm to Copenhagen, calling at Helsinki Finland, 3 days in St. Petersburg Russia, Tallinn Estonia, Riga Latvia, Visby Sweden, Gdansk Poland, Rostock and Lubeck Germany, and Arhus Denmark.

"Trail of the Vikings" July 2, Copenhagen to Oslo, calling at Rostock & Lubeck Germany, Arhus Denmark, Hellesylt, Molde, Trondheim, Flam, Bergen, and Kristiansand Norway.

Introductory specials start at $2,999 per person and include air from theU.S. That's half the regular fare.Back to Top

1-20-00 Sophisticated Cruise Line Advertising Interactive, 3D web sites and international advertising campaigns are two of the steps being taken by the major cruise lines to promote their ships and services. This week Royal Caribbean International, Cunard Line and Seabourn have announced new innovations in their marketing programs.

RCI is placing the emphasis on "International" in their new comprehensive campaign, which will include television and magazine advertising, direct marketing and web site design. Their global ports-of-call are beautifully showcased as RCI invites people to see the world with them, emphasizing cruising as international exploration. The huge variety of recreational and entertainment options on board the RCI fleet is also promoted.

Cunard and Seabourn have developed new, innovative web sites that contain everything the travel professional and consumer need to know about these two distinctive lines. Soon to be available in four languages, the highly interactive sites allow would-be passengers to tour the ships, study itineraries and view more than 200 graphics. See and Back to Top

1-19-00 Carnival Cancels 1-23-00 Celebration Cruise Carnival's Celebration will need more time at the Mobile, Alabama shipyard where she is being repaired. An assessment of damage and repair time has resulted in the cancellation of the 1-23-00 sailing. The 1-16-00 cruise had already been cancelled, immediately following the 1-12-00 fire in an auxilliary generator. Celebration then arrived late in Montego Bay and passengers were flown home, cutting short their 7-day cruise. Guests booked on both the 1-16-00 and 1-23-00 cruises will receive a refund as well as a 50 percent discount off a future Carnival cruise up to December 15, 2001. Back to Top

1-18-00 Settlement Filed in Alaska/RCI Suit A settlement agreement has been filed in the Alaska Supreme Court, in regard to the state's lawsuit against Royal Caribbean (RCI) for water pollution. The agreement to pay $3.5 million to state pollution prevention programs, comes just six months after RCI agreed to pay a record $18million in federal fines. Because the instances took place within 3 miles of shore, including Juneau harbour, Alaska was able to file a State lawsuit against RCI, the world's second largest cruise line. Charges include the dumping of toxic chemicals and oil-contaminated water into state waters. The hearing date has not been set for the necessary approval by a Superior Court judge. Back to Top

1-18-00 Olympic Countess Engine Trouble Unconfirmed reports from Europe indicate the Olympic Countess experienced engine trouble off Madeira on January 14 and returned to Funchal. The 699 passengers on board were transferred to Royal Olympic's Triton while the Olympic Countess returned to Greece for repairs. The 17,593 grt Olympic Countess entered service in 1976 as the Cunard Countess. Back to Top

1-17-00 Vancouver Pier to be Extended Canada Place will be extended, creating a third cruise berth at the downtown facility by 2003. The growing demand for cruise ship space necessitated the $79million expansion which is going ahead despite cancellation of the latest convention centre expansion plan. Several plans have been proposed over the last five years all of which include expansion of the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place along with increased convention and hotel space, however none have gone ahead. The Port cannot hold off on construction of the Canada Place extension any longer.

Passenger baggage loading and unloading will be expanded, the passenger-level area enlarged and the truck, bus and taxi access improved. The announcement is welcome as the 1999 cruise season saw the close of the popular Prow restaurant and Canada Place food court in preparation for project, yet construction did not begin. Back to Top

1-14-00 Anne Campbells Weekend Cruise News If you've read about Royal Caribbean International's 3,000-passenger Voyager of the Seas, you know to take extra money for activities such as ice skating and rockclimbing. Now, add the restaurant Johnny Rockets to the list of on-board extras: the cruise line is charging for hamburgers, which start at $3.75 .... If you've had a treatment in the ship's spa during the past few months, you may notice that prices have risen. Steiners, which operates all but two of the spas on cruise ships has raised its massage rates from $75 to $115, and you'll find other treatments have skyrocketed as well. ... Cruise writers Shirley Slater and Harry Basch announced their selections for the best and worst cruise lines of 1999 in CruiseReport magazine: The winners, who receive champagne, are Silversea Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, First European Cruises, Princess Cruises and Society Expeditions. The boneheads, who were sentenced to keelhauls, -- an old-time punishment involving being dragged under a ship while it is underway -- were given to these cruise lines: Premier Cruises, Royal Olympic Cruises, and American Safari Cruises, plus ships officers who keep passengers in the dark during emergencies, and the Royal Caribbean International engineers who falsified environmental reports. Back to Top

1-14-00 Celebrity Breaks Their Previous Record A single-day booking record has been set by Celebrity Cruises. On Tuesday January 11, 2000 they broke their previous record by 10 percent. All cruise line reservations departments are extra busy as people settle down and make vacation plans, now that the Y2K scare is over.

Meanwhile Star Cruises continues to make changes in the wake of acquiring Norwegian Cruise Line. New sales offices are being opened in New Delhi and Manila, Philippines as cruising in the region soars in popularity. Star has also received more praise for their service, winning the 1999 Best Cruise Product Overall award from the New Zealand travel industry fraternity.

On board spa facilities are also enjoying success as passengers enjoy being pampered more now than ever. As a result, spas are becoming a necessity for cruise ships. There is certainly much more thought being put into these services. Many lines are working with land-based spa resorts to bring cruisers the very best facilities possible.

With new itineraries in the works, at least a dozen new ships coming on line this year, and passenger numbers steadily growing, cruising has never looked better. Back to Top

1-13-00 Celebration Arrives The Celebration arrived in Montego Bay Wednesday afternoon carrying 1,586 passengers and 667 crew. Arrangements are being made for hotel rooms and flights back to New Orleans, where the cruise began.last Sunday, or to passengers' home towns. Montego Bay was the first port of call on the 7-day cruise. Grand Cayman and Cozumel were also on the itinerary.

Passengers were informed about the fire and told to stay where they were as there was only emergency lighting. They did not have to wear life jackets. The ship was adrift for about six hours and temporarily without running water, toilets or air conditioning. The January 16th cruise has been cancelled while Celebration undergoes repairs. Passengers on that sailing will receive full refunds and a 50 percent discount on another 7-day cruise.

The Celebration is 47,262 grt and can carry a maximum of 1,896 passengers and crew of 670. Built in Sweden at a cost of $135million, Celebration entered service in March 1987 and is registered in Liberia. She experienced a control room fire in June, 1995 which left her adrift with no power. During that incident, passengers were taken off by the Carnival ship, Ecstasy. Back to Top

1-13-00 Veitch Joins NCL Board Colin Veitch, has joined the board of Star Cruises who plan to appoint him CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line once the takeover of NCL by Star is complete. Mr. Veitch was Senior VP, Markeing and Corporate Development for Princess. He also held executive responsibility for P&O Holidays in Australia, operators of the tss Fair Princess out of Sydney. The development of NCL and Orient Line will be his primary role. Back to Top

1-13-00 Legend of the Seas Returns to the Middle East Legend of the Seas returns to the Middle East, Far East, Australia and New Zealand after a very successful inaugural season for the exotic itineraries of RCI's Royal Journeys. Africa will be included next year as Legend visits Mombasa. Safari tours of 4-days are included in the 18-day segments; Athens-Mombasa, and Mombasa-Bombay. The safaris include stays at the legendary Mount Kenya Safari Club and The Ark game outlook lodge, not to be missed when in Kenya. Starting in Athens, November 18, there will be six different itineraries, 18 and 16 days in length. Segments begin in Athens, Mombasa, Bombay, Singapore, Sydney and Auckland. Legend will then retrace her steps back to Europe. Back to Top

1-12-00 Celebration Fire Carnival Cruise Line's Celebration experienced an auxiliary generator fire late last night. The fire was put out in minutes by automated firefighting equipment. No injuries were reported. The Celebration is now headed for Jamaica after a delay of several hours. Passengers will be required to disembark at Montego Bay and will be flown home. All passengers will be given a full refund and a free 7 night cruise. Back to Top

1-11-00 Commodore to Purchase Crown Dynasty Commodore Holdings Limited, parent company of Commodore Cruise Line, will purchase the 820-passenger Crown Dynasty. Commodore had been charter the vessel -- formerly NCL's Norwegian Dynasty -- and will market the ship under a new division, Crown Cruise Line. At present, Crown Dynasty sails one -week cruises round-trip from Aruba to Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bonaire, and Curacao. On May 10, 2000 the ship will reposition for a spring-through-fall series of Bermuda Cruises, sailing from Baltimore and Philadelphia. Back to Top

1-7-00 Anne Campbell's Weekend Cruise News Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE 2) will offer innovative entertainment by hosting Broadway and West End stage productions on all cruises and transatlantic crossings, starting May, 2000. QE 2 emerged as a beautiful grand dame following a recent $18 million renovation. While Premier now has an entire fleet of "Big Red Boats" to inspire family cruising, the cruise company recently cancelled its Looney Tunes contract and the characters are no longer aboard for the kids ...American Classic Voyages, citing construction delays, canceled the first eight Pacific Northwest cruises of its new Columbia Queen riverboat, which was due to start service in April ... Carnival has plans to construct a third 84,000-ton "Spirit class" ship to be named Carnival Legend, for delivery in 2002. Sister ships Carnival Spirit and Carnival Pride will debut in 2001. Each of the three vessels will have a wedding chapels and 87% of all outside cabins will have balconies. Back to Top

12-31-99 Anne Campbell's Weekend Cruise News! Voyager of the Seas carried a record 3,537 passengers on the Dec. 19 sailing. We've also heard rumors that RCI will soon charge for food in the ship's Johnny Rockets restaurant .... Premier Cruise Lines is canceling three and four-night Mexico cruises of the 748-passenger Triton, on charter from Royal Olympic. Booked Triton passengers may move to Seawind Crown, also cruising in Mexico ..... Crystal Cruises has published the 180-page full-color The Crystal Cookbook with around 100 recipes and wine parings. Priced at $39.95, the book may be ordered by calling (800) 567-0557 .... American Hawaii Cruises will extend its "Kids Cruise Free" program to all seven-night cruises of the Independence. Children 17 and under will only pay port charges of $90 .... Radisson Seven Seas is increasing its roster of theme cruises. Visiting chefs will bring culinary excellent to Paul Gauguin, cruising year-round in Tahiti; Radisson Diamond will host music and "House of Faberge" to Baltic voyages while Song of Flower charts a brand new cruising region -- New Zealand -- from January through March .... You can celebrate Mardi Gras in both New Orleans and Key West on Regal Cruises' Regal Empress. The one-week March 4, 2000 cruise spends a night in New Orleans and 26 hours in Key West Back to Top

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