Friday, December 19, 2008

Oasis of the Seas to Enter Service Earlier

This morning Royal Caribbean announced Oasis of the Seas will enter service 11 days earlier than originally announced with two additional sailings.

The first will be a 4-night cruise to Labadee departing Port Everglades on December 1, 2009. Then on December 5, it will depart on a 7-night eastern Caribbean itinerary to St. Thomass, St. Maarten and Nassau.

The December 5 sailing will now be considered the "inaugural," and passengers booked on the December 12, which was originally announced as the inaugural sailing, will be offered the opportunity to switch to the December 5 sailing before it opens to public bookings on January 12. They will also have the option to book the December 1 sailing back-to-back with the December 5 cruise.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

NCL and STX Europe Modify Plans for F3 Project

NCL and STX Europe this morning announced they were modifying the F3 project to build only one of the 150,000-ton vessels. Delivery is now set for late May 2010.

Disputes between NCL and the builder over the cost of modifications to the design requested by the line had been widely reported but unconfirmed by either party. They were said to be threatening the entire project, but both now acknowledge only that the project is now moving forward with only the one ship.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MSC Eliminates More Fuel Surcharges

MSC Cruises earlier eliminated their fuel surcharge on all sailings April 1, 2009 and after. This morning the line announced they will extend the policy to all 2009 sailings January 1 and after.

Customers who have already made a booking for a 2009 sailing date will have the surcharge refunded in the form of an onboard credit.

Additionally, the line said if fuel prices increase in the future, they may reimplement the charge, but guaranteed they will not add it to any booking under deposit at that time, markedly different than other lines warning they may reimplement the charge at some point in the future. The other lines are saying they reserve the right to add it to all existing bookings at that time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

More international expansion for RCCL

Royal Caribbean is opening two more offices in China to support their continued sourcing of customers from international markets. The offices will be in the central business districts of Beijing and Guangzhou and be the company's second and third in the country. (RCCL opened their Shanghai office in 2007.) The offices will support travel agencies selling the growing number of RCCL ships sailing in the region providing support for all three RCCL international brands.

Traditionally a North American brand, in recent years the company has been placing an increasing importance on sourcing passengers from international markets, even dedicating ships to itineraries designed to appeal primarily regional market sources rather than a worldwide.

Just this month the RCCL has created a new managing director position in Brazil and announced the opening of an office in Sydney.