NCL Holding (Norwegian Cruise Line) has reported net income of $1.2 million on revenues of $156.8 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 1997, compared to a net loss of $3.4 million on revenues of $170.9 million for the second quarter of 1996.
For the six-month period ended June 30, NCL reported net income of $3.4 million on revenues of $313.7 million, compared to a net loss of $13.3 million (before extraordinary items) on revenues of $355.9 million for the same period in 1996.
NCL has also signed an agreement to purchase the 1996-built, 1,200-passenger Aida from Deutsche Seereeserei for $180 million. DSR will charter the vessel back for $27 million for 12 months.
NCL to Cuba
Also, if all goes according to plan, NCL will make a one-time-only sailing to Cuba aboard the 1,056-passenger Norwegian Majesty (ex-Royal Majesty) departing Miami Jan. 23 and returning Jan. 26, 1998.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Treasury confirmed a license was granted for the Norwegian Majesty's charter by the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami allowing passengers to visit Cuba for the historic visit of Pope John Paul ll.
According to Peter Coats, special assistant to the director of Catholic charities in Miami, "This is the flrst time in 39 years that the government has allowed any ship to sail between a U.S. port and Cuba without having to stay out of U.S. ports; for the following 90 days." The government granted the waiver on that particular ban due to the religious nature of the cruise.
"This will not be a normal cruise - this will be a pilgrimage," Coats explained, "so the casinos won't be open, there will be no shore excursions, and the entertainment will be very different. We're working with the cruise line on that."
The ship's specific itinerary calls for a Friday night departure on Jan. 23, a 12-hour sail to the Port of Havana; the disembarkation of passengers for the attendance of ceremonies on Saturday and the return to the ship in the evening ("The cruise ship will act as the hotel, so the passengers won't violate the terms of the embargo," noted Coats); the attendance of mass on Jan. 25 ; then the return sail to Miami departing that evening and arriving early the following day.
Coats said that at this point, no determination bas been made on exactly how the ship's passengers will be chosen, only that it will be handled by a travel agent and not by the cruise line. The license with the U.S. government allows for no more than 1,250 passengers, and requires that each passenger signs an affidavit attesting to the religious nature of his or her visit to Cuba.
Regarding the speciflcs of the charter agreement, Coats would not divulge details - or whether the anticipated publicity value of the cruise affected the charter price. He commented, "We have very good relations with the company and the price we got was a very acceptable one. The publicity value of the cruise was never discussed - and you have to remember, there are both plusses and minuses. There are security risks, and political risks here in Miami. Actually, there were cruise companies that we approached about the charter who would not entertain the idea because of the political risks."
He further noted, "There are an enormous number of insurance costs tied to this trip for our underwriters - because of the risk of cancellation, in the event of the Pope's health fails, or Cuba withdraws its permission, etc."