At press time, the Federal Trade Commission's decision on the proposed merger of Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCC) and P&O Princess Cruises (POC) and the takeover of POC by Carnival Corporation was imminent. Analysts generally predicted that both deals will be approved in which case they see the most likely outcome as a Carnival takeover of POC.

According to estimates by Cruise Industry News, a combination of Carnival and POC would have capacity to carry 5,164,946 passengers in 2003, with a total of 13 brands, 73 ships and 113,917 berths. A combined Carnival Corp./POC entity would control an estimated 49.2 percent of all North American capacity, and 43.4 percent of worldwide capacity.

RCC alone in comparison would have capacity to carry 2,834,466 passengers worldwide next year, representing a 31.8 percent share of the North American market, and a 23.8 percent share of the worldwide market.

An RCC/POC combination would have capacity to carry 4,198,708 passengers in 2003, with a total of 10 brands, 51 ships and 96,466 berths. RCC/POC would control an estimated 41.6 percent of North American capacity, and 35.3 percent of worldwide capacity.

Carnival Corp. alone would have capacity to carry 3,800,704 passengers worldwide, encompassing 39.4 percent of the projected North American total, and 31.9 percent of the worldwide market.

If POC is not ultimately acquired or merged with either Carnival or RCC, POC alone would have capacity to carry 1,364,242 passengers in 2003, with a total of seven brands, 24 ships and 40,192 berths. POC would control an estimated 9.8 percent of North American capacity, and 11.5 percent of worldwide capacity.

If either of the two proposed mergers go forward, and the Big Three is whittled down to the Big Two, then those two companies alone would have capacity to carry 6,980,692 passengers in the North American market - or 81.0 percent of all North American passengers during 2003. The Big Two would have capacity to carry 7,999,412 passengers worldwide - or 67.2 percent of all projected worldwide passengers.