Industry News Briefs

Cunard Line is still in hot water with troubled Trafalgar House and speculations in London suggest that Trafalgar House is looking for a partner to expand its cruise business or, failing that, that it will be forced to sell the cruise line.

Sources said that Cunard may also restructure its fleet by concentrating solely on the luxury market. This would mean that the Cunard Princess and Cunard Countess would be sold.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix project is picking up steam. The latest reports say that not just one, but three giant ships will be built in the United States. They will operate on the East Coast, the West Coast and Hawaii. Government research and development funding for U.S. shipbuilding will bring the project to the building stage. The actual construction is estimated to take 42 months for each vessel.

While World City, the owner of the Phoenix is careful in commenting, John Rogers, President, admitted that "things have never looked better."

Radisson Diamond has launched a two-for-one promotion for its four-, five- and seven-day Caribbean sailings, effectively lowering per diems from $600 to $300. Company executives said that they will also focus more on seven-day cruises in the Caribbean next year. The line is also planning to do one-week cruises between San Juan and Barbados instead of all round-trip cruises from San Juan.

Scheduled to be announced later this month is Silversea Cruises which sources said will build and operate two 300-plus passenger vessels in the luxury segment of the market. Monaco-based V. Ships is behind the project. Petter Yran is aboard as designer; he is known for his work on the Sea Goddess and Seabourn Cruise Line vessels. A sales and marketing organization is presently being established in the United States.

The Caribbean Port Tax Issue is taking a new twist. Some ports are reportedly using the situation to spread rumors about competing ports planning to raise their taxes when in fact they may have no such plans.

Moreover, among several ports that are committed not to increase taxes is Guadeloupe. A spokesperson also noted that the $2 passenger tax levied in Guadeloupe is used to develop the port facilities for cruise tourism.

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