"1998 will be a very good year," said Jack Williams, president and COO at Royal Caribbean International. "Yield is up modestly in the first quarter and the rest of the year looks good as well."

According to Williams, the major challenge facing the company for '98 is already behind it. That was the integration of the two cruise companies after RCI acquired Celebrity Cruises.

"In 60 days, we made all the crucial decisions," Williams said, "and now we are well into the implementation stages. In '98, we will continue to implement our two-brand strategy and do cross-selling and cross-marketing. Our goal is for RCI to be the best contemporary product and for Celebrity to be the best premium product," Williams said.

Future plans also call for "one or both of the cruise lines" to have a major presence in Europe, according to Williams.

From a corporate culture point of view, the two companies fit perfectly, according to Williams, who described this integration as "absolutely excellent." Meanwhile, he is working to also get Celebrity over to RCI's technical platform.

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