Norwegian and Royal Cruise Line to Consolidate

Kloster Cruise has made it official: Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Cruise Line will be consolidated in early 1996, meaning that RCL vessels will be transferred to NCL and/or sold, and RCL will be closed down.

The company will also change its name from Kloster Cruise to Norwegian Cruise Line. RCL's Crown Odyssev will be transferred to NCL on March 30 and renamed Norwegian Crown. The 34,250-ton, 1,050-passenger ship, which was built in 1988, will sail seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale during the winter season, and seven-day Alaska cruises from Vancouver during the summer.

The company also announced that it has exercised its option to extend the charter of the Royal Odyssey and Star Odyssey. (Both ships were recently sold to a financial company and chartered back to the cruise line.)

So far, NCL will operate the Royal Odyssey on its published itineraries throughout 1996. The Star Odyssey will sail her published itineraries until mid­ May, when she will assume the previously published itineraries of the Crown Odyssey.

The Star Odyssey has been sold to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, however, which will take delivery in October. While it is speculated that the Royal Odyssey will also be sold, Kloster conftrmed that negotiations to sell the 212-passenger Queen Odvssev are underway.

The Queen Odyssey is sister ship to the two ships in the Seabourn Cruise Line fleet. According to Adam Aron, President and CEO of NCL, the consolidation will reduce the company's cost structure by approximately $25 million annually, "as we eliminate duplicative overhead costs," Aron said.

At year's end, NCL is expected to have a six-ship fleet with some 8,028 berths and an annual capacity of approximately 450,000 passengers.

The closing of RCL follows the company's sale of Royal Viking Line and the Royal Viking Sun two years ago.

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