Radisson Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) is being rebranded and is expected to have a new name next year, positioning the cruise line closer to the luxury hotels in the Carlson Companies.

The objective of the rebranding is to position RSSC clearly at the top of the market, including a new name that is more clearly associated with luxury.

But the product formula will not change, according to Mark Comoy, CEO of RSSC. "We believe 700 passenger ships are ideal," he said. "We do not believe you can deliver our level of service to more people."

Comoy said that the key to success in the luxury market is to stay focused on the consumer - as well as on the crew, the destinations and the hardware.

According to Conroy, the vision of the Carlson Companies is that RSSC can be a billion dollar business. So far, the cruise line is in the $400 million a year range - with business this year up $70 million from last year. "We are seeing big increases in every market we put ships into," Conroy added. RSSC was getting per diems of $600 in Alaska this past summer.

While the luxury portion is only 3 percent of the cruise market, the market which can afford these cruises is huge, according to Conroy. "If people compared apple to apples, we would come out ahead (price-wise) with all that is included," he added. "Once we get somebody to migrate, they never go back." Forty percent of RSSC's passengers are repeaters.

Looking forward, Conroy said that RSSC will expand with more new ships but only when it decides the time is right. Meanwhile, RSSC still has an option with T.Mariotti which expires at the end of the year. (For the full RSSC report, see the fall issue of the Cruise Industly News Quarterly.)