This came out this morning:
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (ticker: RCL, exchange: New York Stock Exchange) News Release - 14-Dec-2004
Celebrity Cruises' Horizon Moves to Island Cruises Fleet
MIAMI, Dec 14, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Celebrity Cruises' Horizon will move to the Island Cruises fleet in October 2005 under a six-year lease agreement arrangement with the British-based cruise line.
Island Cruises, created in May 2000, is the brand name of Sunshine Cruises Limited, a joint venture between Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and First Choice Holidays PLC, one of the United Kingdom's largest integrated tour operators.
"Island Cruises has performed well in its first three years," said Jack Williams, president and chief operating officer of Celebrity Cruises. "By adding a ship, Island Cruises can continue to grow its brand and overall presence in Europe and South America. Horizon has served our Celebrity Cruises guests very well during the past 14 years and will continue to do so for the guests of Island Cruises."
Since its first sailing in spring 2002, Island Cruises has attracted a high number of first-time cruisers with its casual ambiance. The cruise line offers informal, flexible and affordable cruise vacations with open-seating dining and a relaxed dress code. It currently offers two transatlantic, six Brazilian and three Mediterranean itineraries on the 1,740-guest Island Escape. The line also offers combination cruise/hotel packages with 20 resort hotels in Majorca, Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro, as well as air/sea packages originating from 16 regional airports. Island Escape previously sailed as Royal Caribbean International's Viking Serenade.
"We couldn't be happier about the expansion of our fleet, especially with such a wonderful ship," said Michael Bayley, managing director of Island Cruises. "We look forward to growing our cruise line and providing our guests with even more alternatives for their cruise vacations."
Horizon will complete its current winter sailings to the Caribbean from the Port of Tampa and its summer 2005 Bermuda sailings from the Port of Philadelphia. The ship will be turned over to Island Cruises in late October. It will then enter drydock in Freeport, Bahamas, where it will undergo extensive refurbishment, including the addition of two restaurants, 59 staterooms and 50 balconies.
The ship will enter service for Island Cruises in December in Brazil under a new name. The ship will sail from Brazil during winters and in the Mediterranean during summers.
Horizon joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in May 1990 and was built by Jos. L. Myer GmbH & Co. of Papenburg, Germany. It was refurbished in October 1998. The 47,000 gross-registered-ton ship carries 1,700 guests and 642 crew members. Celebrity Cruises currently operates the ship primarily in Bermuda in summers and in the Caribbean in winters.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, with a combined total of 29 ships in service and two under construction. The company also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Canada and Europe through its cruise-tour division. Additional information can be found on [www.royalcaribbean.com]
SOURCE Celebrity Cruises
Leslie Katz of Celebrity Cruises, +1-305-539-6574
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