Thursday, July 27, 2006

RCI 2nd Quarter Better Than Expected ...

Cheers to Onboard Profit Centers: Despite angst over a soft Caribbean summer season forcing deeper discounting, combined with other cruise industry woes, along comes Royal Caribbean International with a better than expected second quarter (net income of $122.4 million, or $0.57 per share), plus second quarter net yield growth of 6%, versus forecast of 5%. With delivery of Freedom of the Seas, things might have been even rosier, had it not been for second quarter net cost hikes, much of it from fuel. Other notables: For the full year '06, RCI expects net yields to increase 3% to 4% and earnings per share to be $2.90 to $3. For the third quarter, RCI expects net yields to increase 1% to 2%, and pegs its earnings per share at $1.52 to $1.57.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cheaper than the Movies? ...

MSC Kids Sail Free: Skyrocketing land-based entertainment costs -- not to mention electricity and water bills -- have left some parents figuring it could be cheaper to cruise than stay home. Covering seafaring adventure, meals, movies, and more, MSC Cruises’ “Kids Sail Free” holiday offer has proven so popular that the line is extending it to nearly all of its winter 2006-07 Caribbean sailings, reports Jim Henwood, senior vp of sales, marketing and passenger services. Ages 17 and under sharing a cabin with two full-fare adults sail free on MSC Lirica and MSC Opera on nearly all Fort Lauderdale roundtrips. Most MSC "Beautifu, Passionate, Italian" cruise-only departures are $1,150 per person, double, or less, although not all staterooms are part of “Kids Sail Free.” Some itineraries include the line’s private paradise off the Dominican Republic's coast of Samana. With so much aboard included, parents know the bulk of their vacation cost before setting sail. For details, call (954) 772-6262.

To Err Was Human ...

Autopilot Off Hook: Last week’s Crown Princess lurch was caused by a mistake on the bridge, Princess Cruises now reports. In an open letter posted on the line's web site, Princess President Alan Buckelew cites human error. With the ship's captain still in command of the $500 million vessel, Princess blames another officer no longer on active duty and says "personnel changes" have been made, although it didn't say whether the offending officer was keel-hulled or what. Several officers are typically qualified to steer, including the staff captain and first officer. On July 18, the 3,100- passenger vessel listed 15 degrees for about 30 seconds while departing Port Canaveral enroute to New York. Princess treated 240 passengers onboard, and 94 were briefly hospitalized. National Transportation Safety Board, Coast Guard and Bermuda authorities are investigating. Early reports, linked to crew, blamed a steering malfunction, possibly from autopilot failure.

Monday, July 24, 2006

CCL Still Bullish on Mobile ...

Not broken? Don't Fix: Carnival Cruise Lines has extended with the City of Mobile for another year, with the 1,452-passenger Holiday sailing popular four- and five-day Mexico cruises from the Alabama Cruise Terminal. Carnival launched the first and only year-round cruise program from Mobile in October 2004, accounting for 125,000 passengers annually from that port. “Consumer response to ‘Fun Ship’ cruising from Mobile aboard the Holiday has been exceptional,” says Carnival's Bob Dickinson, president and CEO. Mayor Samuel Jones cited “testament to the city’s positive value for the industry.” Holiday departs ACT on Thursdays on 4-day cruises to Cozumel, and on Mondays and Saturdays on 5-day cruises to Cozumel and Calica/Playa del Carmen or Costa Maya. For details, call 800-CARNIVAL.