I agree. I am sure that there will be plenty of worriers and doomsayers who will bemoan this merger as a sure sign of disaster for Princess, Celebrity, or RCI (pick one). Change is inevitable and I think that the new company has a great opportunity to establish identities for each of the lines that will distinguish them from one another while achieving certain economies of scale, and perhaps offering past passengers the best of the benefits offered by each line's repeaters group.
I guess we'll have to disagree about what the lines do for their repeaters, but the 20% discount I received in the shops on RCI ships, the $100 off of some of my recent RCI cruises, plus all or most of the other benefits that RCI and other lines all offer (and except for Celebrity, don't charge for) seem to be decent benefits to me. What repeaters benefits would really make you choose one line over another? There are none that would make that much difference to me.
Lets see I think I paid 25.00 for my Celebrity lifetime membership and I have had upgrades on all my sailings. The only$ 100 specials I got from RCI were for published fares which I don't pay anyway.(weird because I have been sailing RCI ships since the 1970's) I can even remember my favorite small ship the Sun Viking and the great service and excellent food the the smaller ships offered.The food back then really was good on RCI.
My husband and I just last night were at a Princess Alaska "information seminar" and the representative informed us of the merger. He said that even they do not have much information yet, although he joked about having worked for Celebrity Cruises in the past and that it looked like he might be working for them again! Truly, what does everyone think about this? I realize that most cruise lines will be making changes to stay "afloat" in the next year, but should we all start to worry a bit? Or do we just wait and see?
I'd suggest waiting and seeing. Worrying and anticipating things that might occur (and might not) only adds unnecessary stress. For the most part we are very adaptable people and if we find things we don't like about the merged lines, there will likely be an alternative line that wants our business.
David - each time we reached a different membership level in Crown and Anchor, we received discount coupons applicable to any of their ships or sailings and applicable to the best rates we could find, not restricted to the brochure rate. Their latest coupons apply even to suites. Perhaps your ta was less willing to make a call to RCI to check on the use of the coupons and saw restrictions that weren't there. I grant you that $35 membership fee is nominal, but the point is that no other line requires a fee, just as none of the others suggests tipping the so-called chief housekeeper. For all the interference in Celebrity's operations that RCI has been accused of, one might think they would have at least dealt with these minor irritants. It would be nice if some form of reciprocity could be granted to members of the repeaters groups of all three lines.
Sorry your sister did not enjoy the food on the Royal. We cruised the British Isles itinerary on the Royal in August with another veteran Princess cruises couple and found the food to be the best we have had on a cruise ship. This is the rule for past Royal cruisers rather than the exception and I am surprised to hear of inedible food. We all have different tastes but while I don't always like every dish served, there are always more than enough alternatives to choose from.
BTW, I just reread your post and it is not clear to me. Princess owns the Royal now. Perhaps you mean your sister was on a RCI ship and Princess is "buying them?"
The report of inedible food is one of the first I have heard. I have to suspect that the food was not contaminated, unsanitarily prepared or presented. I prefer to consider the description of the food as "inedible" to be a melodramatic statement reflecting a what that particular diner considers to his or her liking rather than its actual healthfulness I know that there are many foods that I prefer not to eat (sushi, spicy Tex-Mex, etc) but that makes them inedible only to me, not everyone else. I have eaten on Carnival, RCI and Princess and other ships and while some meals have not been as good as others (often on the same ship, during the same sailing) I have yet to lose weight on a cruise (). Perhaps we can all be a little more careful in our word choices so as not to overly alarm those who read these posts.
I agree that I, too, manage to gain weight on every cruise. As I noted, food is probably a little off topic but the merger of Princess and RCI/Celebrity is sure to bring changes. Hopefully we cruisers will get the best of both worlds and, so far, food on Princess has been more than satisfactory as well as service and itineraries. I feel sure, after rereading Osidunkers post that she/he was probably referring to the food on Royal Caribbean rather than the Royal Princess. While I have never sailed on RCL, I have seen numerous posts complaining of disappointing food. Of course, there are a few complaints about food on the Royal Princess too. Some folks just like to complain, I guess.
The upcoming merger should bring about some interesting changes and I feel that there is an opportunity to glean the better and best from the two companies and offer a truly outstanding line of cruises at a reasonable cost for a wide spectrum of cruise lovers. Lets hope that "bigger" translates to better.
If in fact this merger goes through I think you'll find except for some minor tweeking, they'll take Carnival's lead and run each line totally seperate from each other.
Each line had it's own strenghts and weaknesses, and each it's own loyal customers.
About the only thing Carnival corps different brands have in common is the Ocean Player's Club. I'd expect "CPR"<g> to be about the same.
According to the <a href=http://www.corporate-ir.net/ireye/ir_site.zhtml?ticker=rcl&script=410&layout=9&item_ id=229066> joint press release </a> from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.and P&O Princess Plc., the deal is structured as a essentially merger of equals and the top corporate management will come from both companies. Here are the details from the press release.
The combination will be achieved through a dual listed company ("DLC") structure. The combined entity will be managed as a single, unified business with principal corporate headquarters in Miami, Florida and a significant corporate office in London. Appendix C contains a summary of the principal terms of the DLC. Richard D. Fain, currently Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean, will be Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the combined group. Peter Ratcliffe, currently Chief Executive Officer of P&O Princess, will be Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the combined group.
Existing P&O Princess shareholders will, in aggregate, have economic ownership of 50.7% of the combined entity and existing Royal Caribbean shareholders will, in aggregate, have economic ownership of 49.3% of the combined entity. No shareholders in either company will need to exchange or tender their shares in order to effect the combination. Contractual arrangements between the two companies will ensure that distributions of both income and capital to shareholders take place in a "fixed equalization ratio", subject to adjustment for certain events, which reflects the respective economic interest of the shareholders in the combined group. Under the terms of the combination, an existing Royal Caribbean share will have an economic interest equivalent to 3.46386 existing P&O Princess shares.
Principal trading markets following completion of the transaction will continue to be the New York and Oslo stock exchanges for Royal Caribbean and the London Stock Exchange for P&O Princess. Based on the closing prices of P&O Princess and Royal Caribbean shares on 19 November 2001, the aggregate market capitalisation of the combined entity is approximately $6.0 billion and the aggregate enterprise value of the combined group, based on 30 September 2001 balance sheets, is $11.8 billion. Aggregate EBITDA for the 12 months to 30 September 2001 exceeded $1.2 billion.
There's no information on plans to realign any of either corporation's cruise lines.
I suspect that you are right, at least in the short term. Once it's a "done deal," though, I suspect that we will see clearer definition and positioning of the respective lines. With RCL solidly in the "mainstream" segment of the market, it probably would make sense to push Princess more solidly into the "premium" segment. That leaves the question of what to do with Celebrity since it probably does not make sense to maintain two brands that really do compete directly with each other for the "premium" segment. One option would be to move Celebrity up to the "luxury" segment. The other obvious option would be to merge Princess and Celebrity into a single line.