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Festival Cruises Update

Festival Cruises has given up its drawnout fight for survival. The solution was always said to be within days, but in the end it never happened.

The cruise brand was launched in 1994 and grew with three second-hand vessels until it embarked on a three-ship newbuilding program in 1999.

A near acquisition by P&O Princess Cruises was called off in 2000 allegedly because declining (P&O) share values meant that the price became too high.

In related news, MSC Cruises won a court decision in Naples which did not allow Ligabue, one of Festival's creditors, to seize assets worth $7.8 million onboard the MSC Armonia (ex-European Vision), claimed to be the property of Festival.  

The court declared that the ship and all the property onboard belong to MSC which paid $215 million when the ship was auctioned in Barbados this spring. The MSC Armonia will sail seven-day cruises from Venice through November 14, when she redeploys to Brazil for three- and seven-day cruises until spring. Ligabue is reported to be just one of a long line of creditors that will be stung by Festival's demise. Ligabue reportedly claimed to have delivered television sets, paintings and spare parts without being paid.

• A travel agent who specializes in business and incentive travel told Cruise Industry News (CIN) that the OM2 is not yet up to the service level where he will put his groups on. He expects the ship to get there, however, but in the meantime his business is going elsewhere.

• Holland America Line, Crystal Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines (in that order) are the first cruise lines to introduce low carb menus. But don't bother to ask for organic food on any cruise line.

• On a related note, based on official and unofficial numbers, CIN has calculated that Carnival spends an average of $6.67 per person, for passengers and crew, on food per day, while the average food cost per day, per person, for Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises is $8.47.

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