Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), the parent company of Celebrity Cruises just announced a new benefit for shareholders -- shipboard credits on all cruises with either either Celebrity Cruises or Royal Caribbean International. The amount of the credit is as follows.
For those who don't own shares yet, today's closing price was $19.03 -- which means that you could buy 100 shares for less than $2,000, including commissions and registration. If you take one cruise of 9-13 days or two cruises of 6-8 days per year, the shipboard credit would pay back 10% of the purchase price -- and that's in addition to the dividends (currently $52 per year on 100 shares), for a total return of 12.6%.
How do I buy some shares???????????????????????????
Ah, very carefully.... ;-)
Actually, it's really quite simple -- but you do have to conduct the transaction through a registered stock broker.
>> 1. If you don't already have a brokerage account, open one. (For those who are new to stock transactions, I recommend Charles Schwab & Co. (http://www.schwab.com). Charles Schwab is a traditional discount broker, whose commissions might be somewhat higher than "Internet only" borkers like Datek and E*trade but not so high that they will kill you. In exchange for the higher commissions, you get staff who are ready to assist you whenever you need help. You can call a toll-free telephone line and talk to a real person or, if you wish, make an appointment at a local office in your area.)
>> 2. Deposit enough funds in your account to cover the cost of the transaction.
>> 3. Place an order on line to buy the stock via the broker's web site. To do this, you will need the ticker symbol for the company. (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the parent of both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, trades on the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, under the ticker symbol RCL.) I recommend using a limit order with a price slightly higher than the price of the last trade, rather than a market order, to protect yourself against any sudden movement in the price.
Unless you direct otherwise, your broker will hold the shares in your account in "street name" (that is, registered to the brokerage). The shares will then appear on the statements that you receive periodically from your broker. If you wish, you may ask your broker to register the shares in your name and send the stock certificate to you, for which there will be a fee, but you should do this only if you intend to close out the account since you will have to open a new acount and deposit the shares into it whenever you wish to sell them. A photocopy of the brokerage statement showing the shares in your account is sufficient ot prove ownership to qualify for the shipboard credit.
By way of clarification, the shipboard credit is applicable to any cruise booked by 31 March 2004 -- even if the cruise itself occurs at a later date -- so I suspect that you will surpass that 15% "instant" return by a fairly significant amount.
It does appear that you have to submit a separate copy of the form (]url]http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/nys/rcl/Shareholder_Discount.pdf[/url]), with proof of ownership of the stock (i. e., a photocopy of your statement showing the shares in your account), for each booking.
Bob is right -- you should have received a copy of the form with your annual report and proxy, which came in the mail recently. If not, you can download and print the form by going to the investor website (http://www.rclinvestor.com) and clicking on the last entry in the menu at the top of the screen ("Shareholder Benefit"). This investor web site also has contact information, including both e-mail postal addresses and telephone numbers.