Okay all you doomsayers. How will the announced merger of Princess and Royal Caribbean affect Celebrity? Is this all part of RCI's grand design to ravage Celebrity? Will Princess do to Celebrity what it did to Sitmar? Will it be possible to distinguish between the three brands? Any thoughts? Conversely, is it possible that the combined strengths of each line will compensate for each others weaknesses and a stronger, better offering will be the result
Hopefully, and probably, they will realize the power of branding, and realize there are markets for each brand. Look at what Carnival has done with Cunard. No, it may not look and feel exactly like the "old days" but these execs are pretty sharp. They can make money by appealing to different segments.
My own view is that they will attempt to strengthen the brand identification of all three. They might very well position Royal to go head to head with Carnival (they've been inching in that direction anyway), leave Princess pretty much alone, and move Celebrity up a notch toward Crystal.
I think they'll simply be too big to try to sell all 70,000 berths to the same demographic.
But I've been wrong before. My agent tells me that the stocks of both companies are up today.
Bill.. we can only hope that the good things from each cruise line will find their way to the others. I suspect that they'll try and keep all their brands seperate, ala Carnival (with HAL, Windstar, Cunard, Seabourn, Costa).
I suspect most of the benefits they see in merging will be behind the scenes, where they can save money with single depts. covering areas for Princess, Celeb & RCI.
I'm glad to see that the initial reaction, on this board at least, seems to be positive. Let's hope for the best. The three lines certainly have a number of beautiful and relatively new ships and each has not only its own loyalists, but also a number of cruisers, including myself, who find that each seeks to deliver a cruise experience that appeals to me. Perhaps with the merger, I will be even more tempted to expand my horizons and try book the different lines for the unique features or itineraries they offer. We tend to form emotional attachments to things like cruiselines and forget at times that they are businesses and sometimes must do what business situations require. If they can coordinate their repeat passenger programs, they might encourage fans of each line to experience what the other two have to offer.
As a major cruise lover I hate to see the merger, but as an investor that has owned Princess, RCI, and Carnival stocks I understand the reasoning behind it. I personally feel Celebrity will continue to offer new ships, but the food area is becoming less and less special. My last cruise the cuisine was just barley 1 step above RCI. I currently am booked on both Princess and Celebrity, but I hope the lines are operated like Carnival does with Holland America and leave them separate. Each cruise line has something different about it and thats what might attract a person to that particular line.
For me, I don't want the lines identical....Lets hope the lines are allowed to survive and do what each one does best.
A close reading of the HAL boards might give rise to some questions as to whether or not Carnival's ownership has had some influences on Holland America in terms of ship decor, food quality, and general service. I think that in many instances we choose our evidence to prove our predetermined conclusion, and if enough people say that Carnival doesn't influence HAL's operations, it is taken as fact.
Now with this move all 3 lines are basically the same. They are selling to much of the same product.
Look for Carnival to make a move on NCL again. Mickey won't let Carnival slip to number 2 for very long.
I find it very interesting that in all the press releases no one has come out and said that the three brands will be operate as three separate and unique identities.
Furthermore, there was no mention of separate Presidents for the three lines.
Just one CEO and one COO.
But I do have a name for the new company. Remember Dollar Lines ??????
My name for this new company - The 5 & 10 Cent Line.
Carnival has many brands. I don't see where it would beneficial for RCI/Princess to make all 3 brands the same. I think that the brands will pretty much continue to offer what they do now, but you never know what the corporate "genuises" will come up with.
Personally I believe this is a good move. Each cruise line can now market to a different segment of customer needs/wants. Celebrity can stay focused in on the mature crowd who like service/food, RCL can focus in on variety ( a nice blend of excellence and adventure). Since I havent' sailed on Princess. I'm sure they have a nitch customer segment. If they are smart, which I think they are.. they will keep doing what each does well, and make improvements from learning what the others do well, and market each line to a specific target customer. It's a no lose situation.
>>>Mickey won't let Carnival slip to number 2 for very long<<<.
Actually, Carnival is only #2 in number of berths. As for value, Carnival is worth more than double. C-P-R cruise line is valued at $6 billion and this is why the European Union does not have to give it blessing. Carnival is worth $15 billion.