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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 16th, 2003, 06:22 PM
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Default It's Down Hill from Here....

Sadly, the shareholders of P&O Princess Cruises Plc. (LSE: POC), the British parent of Princess Cruises, voted to approve the proposed merger with Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL). Although the "dual listed merger" structure retains the separate listings on both stock exchanges and permits all shareholders to retain their present holdings, the reality is that Carnival Corporation's shareholders now control over 70% of the merged entity and thus that Carnival Corporation's culture is certain to dominate.

I really don't like what I have seen of the way in which Carnival Corporation maintains (or, more accurately, does not maintain) its vessels, nor am I favorably impressed by the company's track record of safety, security, sanitation, or satisfaction. Thus, I liquidated my holdings of P&O Princess Cruises Plc. earlier today and I will use other cruise lines for the foreseeable future. Right now, I am most impressed by the outstanding record of both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International, to which many favorable comments throughout the discussion boards on this web site attest. I'm also intrigued by the new start-up Oceana Cruises, so I'm giving serious consideration to that line. Obviously, I probably will be spending more time on those discussion boards and less time here in the future. I will, however, post the promised review of MV Tahitian Princess over the coming weekend.

Norm.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old April 16th, 2003, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Norm, my husband and I have the same feelings as you. I too am curious about the Oceana. I got a brochure from them about a month ago. I guess we will see you there.
What a sad ending.
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Old April 16th, 2003, 08:21 PM
Peabodynvl
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Carnival also owns Cunard, and I don't think their vessels have fallen into disrepair. I'd go on the QE2 anytime!

I don't think Carnival will mess with the Princess branding. It takes away from the value of the product they just bought.

Pea
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Old April 17th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Carnival would be foolish to "mess around" with Princess. Its two different markets when it comes to these two cruise lines and there is room for both.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

If anything, I expect to see Carnival continue to upgrade itself to match its more highly thought-of sister lines, than see a reduction in service on Princess. Changes being forced on the cruise lines are driven more by market conditions, not a desire to erase any lines image that it has built over the years.

As for RCI, they're building ships that do everything possible to eliminate any connection with a sea voyage. They could stay docked and most would never notice.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 12:03 PM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

It will be interesting to see what twists and turns Princess takes under Carnival corps guidance.
Carnival Corp includes Seabourn, Cunard, Windstar and HAL... which are all quite different from the "Carnival" Norm talks about.
Though until now HAL and Princess have basically been competitors in the Premium brand market.

Of late Celebrity has taken on a plan to upgrade themselves to above the other premium brands with service additions. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Carnival take Princess in a similar direction..... sort of a Premium Plus level.

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Old April 17th, 2003, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

I wouldn't mind that at all, Kuki, but won't that be a bit tough with most of the new Princess builds being high-capacity ships? It seems like HAL would be better-suited to Premium-Plus since that is the market segment they appear to attract anyway.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Norm:
I tend to agree with Pea and the others - I think Carnival would be shooting themselves in the foot (or higher) if they messed around with Princess. Yes, some changes will probably take place. I've got 3 cruises booked with Princess in the next 10 months and I'll judge from that. That being said, if I could get similar prices and itineraries for where I want to go on one of the Celebrity Millenium class ships, I'd chose that over Princess.

For now though, I'm going to want to see if being a Platinum Circle Club member provides any other worthwhile benefits other than free internet, which BTW, is meaningful to me.
Frank-in-CA
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Old April 18th, 2003, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Pea,

Cunard Lines Ltd. once had a reputation as the best line on the seas. Unfortunately, it deteriorated badly before Carnival Corporation acquired it and apparently has not imprived since. MV Queen Elizabeth II -- Cunard's flagship -- failed sanitation inspection by the U. S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) a couple months ago. AFAIK, this is the only ship operated by a major cruise line to fail the CDC's inspection in years.

Norm.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Lisa,

Carnival Corporation historically has tried to preserve the shipboard atmosphere, etc., of the lines that it has acquired, and I see nothing to suggest that it will do otherwise in this acquisition.

The problem is that Carnival Corporation does a lot of tampering behind the scenes, where it's less obvious, to cut costs and raise apparent profits. When that tampering affects things like maintenance schedules, ships become less reliable and start having incidents of the type that we have seen across all of the company's lines. It's enough of a difference so I'll stay away.

Additionally, Carnival Corporation has a history of being less than responsive to problems aboard its ships that affect safety, sanitation, and satisfaction of its passengers -- basically focused on today's bottom line ("it will cost money, so don't do it") rather than bringing back passengers for more cruises in the future.

Norm.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 05:41 PM
Chris Lunda
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

How can you relax on a boat you have invested in?

Lighten up.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Frank,

I'm much more concerned about the changes that are not so noticeable. Incidents such as the fires on the Ecstasy, the Nieuw Amsterdam, and the Wind Song, for example, don't happen if the company is paying proper attention to maintanance and safety. Ships don't fail sanitation inspection if the company is paying attention to such matters. Etc., etc., etc.

Norm.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Kuki,

Carnival Corp includes Seabourn, Cunard, Windstar and HAL... which are all quite different from the "Carnival" Norm talks about.

I actually was referring to the whole company. Within the past few months, MS Amsterdam had outbreaks of Norwalk Virus on a dozen consecutive cruises (which is a fairly obvious indication that they were not sanitizing the ship adequately during turn-around) and finally did something about the problem only when the CDC threatened to get nasty, a fire aboard the sail ship Wind Song caused emergency evacuation of passengers during a cruise and a total loss of the vessel, and RMS Queen Elizabeth II failed sanitation inspection by the CDC.

While the ships of Seaborne Cruises have not gained press for these incidents, Carnival Corporation did merge Seaborne Cruises and Cunard Lines Ltd. into a single entity. Objectively, therefore, they are a single entity for statistical purposes.

Norm.
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Old April 19th, 2003, 03:26 PM
Frank
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Default Re: Re: Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Norm:
An example of Carnival's attitude toward partying is evident in this incident. This guy must have been really drunk to fall overboard and not remember it. He is very lucky.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/1873125

If Princess becomes a party ship, I'll be out of there too. I am concerned about the behind the scenes item you mentioned though. It is disturbing.
Frank
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Old April 21st, 2003, 09:09 AM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Whoah, the last thing i'd ever want to do with a major hangover is have to tread water fo 17 hours. Seriously, how do you "fall" off a ship? He musta thought he was superman or something. Or someone found him too unruly and dumped him overboard.

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Old April 21st, 2003, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Don't you think you are complaining about nothing right now. If you do not like the changes, if any, then don't sail Princess in the future. As for the Norwalk virus, I had it on the Star Princess last month. I have been told that there are cases on every sailing and it is how the passengers deal with it as to if it becomes an epidemic on the ship. They asked me to stay in my room and stay away from buffets. I did and I did not hear of anyone else with it besides my wife. It was gone in 24 hours.
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Old April 21st, 2003, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: It's Down Hill from Here....

Frank,

An example of Carnival's attitude toward partying is evident in this incident. This guy must have been really drunk to fall overboard and not remember it. He is very lucky.

I heard about that incident, and I'm not quite ready to hold either Carnival Corporation or Carnival Cruise Line responsible for it. Nonetheless, it does illustrate the perils of the sea. The fact that the guy's roommate did not notice his disappearance is what's rather incredulous!

I am concerned about the behind the scenes item you mentioned though. It is disturbing.

To me, it's worse than disturbing. It's courting disaster.

It's been said that the wind and the tide are always on the side of the ablest navigator. So, too, the sea does not act kindly to those whose attitude toward safety is cavalier at best and negligent at worst. Safety, security, and sanitation alwasy require continuous attention at the highest levels of alertness aboard every sea-going vessel.

Norm.
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Old April 28th, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Default Company statement.

From cruise news daily......

In the first major action since the P&O Princess
merger, Carnival Corp announced some organizational
changes, one of which should give some peace of mind to
those who have worried that there would be changes to the
Princess Cruises onboard product.
There will be specific persons on the board of
directors responsible for specific cruise lines. Peter
Ratcliffe, who was formerly CEO of P&O Princess, will
continue to be responsible for Princess Cruises and
Princess Tours along with P&O Cruises Australia and the
UK-oriented brands of Cunard (including the Seabourn
division), P&O Cruises (UK), Ocean Village and Swan
Hellenic. Pamela Conover, the president of Cunard, and
David Dingle, managing director of P&O Cruises (UK), will
report to Ratcliffe.
Bob Dickinson, as president of Carnival Cruise Lines,
the company's largest brand, will report to himself as a
board member. Ditto for Kirk Lanterman at Holland
America, who will continue to have responsibility for
that cruise line, Holland America Westours and Windstar
Cruises.
Pier Luigi Foschi will oversee the brands based in
Europe, including Costa Cruises (Italy), AIDA, A'ROSA and
Seetours (all serving the German market).
With Princess Cruises continuing under the leadership
Ratcliffe along with many of the former P&O Princess
brands - and apart from any of the US Carnival brands -
it should serve as a signal that Micky Arison meant what
he said, and they have no plans for large changes to the
Princess Cruises product.
We asked Peter Ratcliffe about that, and he told us
that was right on track. "Princess won't change at all,"
he told CND. "Princess will remain as it always has been.
It will remain a separate brand free to do what is in the
best interest of its customers."


Ron
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