Royal Caribbean to Enter West Coast Market

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will enter the West Coast market in January with the 976-passenger Viking Serenade, now the Stardancer of Admiral Cruises. Both RCCL and Admiral Cruises are owned by Royal Admiral Cruises.

Richard Fain, Chairman of Royal Admiral Cruises, said the company will move ships where it finds it most appropriate. He denied recent reports that the 33-year old Azure Seas is being sold. The 734-passenger Admiral Cruises' ship is operating three- and four-day cruises out of Los Angeles.

Fain said that Royal Admiral has looked at new ships for Admiral Cruises and that the line "absolutely would continue to operate and grow within its niche."

Earlier this year, a 1,600-passenger newbuilding which the company had contracted for Admiral Cruises under the name of Future Seas, was instead transferred to RCCL and renamed the Nordic Empress.

Los Angeles - Mexico

After a two-week dry dock for refurbishment the Viking Serenade will start sailing from Los Angeles on January 27, 1990, calling at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Rates will start at $995 per person including airfare from most North American gateways.

The Viking Serenade will be joining a growing fleet out of LA, including ships from Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises.

Vancouver - Alaska

In late May, the Viking Serenade will reposition to Vancouver for a summer season of seven-night Alaska cruises departing Sundays calling at Juneau, Skagway, Haines and Ketchikan. Rates start at $995 per person.

In Alaska, RCCL will be entering what Princess and Holland America Line consider their turf.

Industry observers predict that with its market following, RCCL will not have any difficulties in filling the Viking Serenade. The ship resumes its Mexico cruises in the fall of 1990.

Initial refurbishment will include hull painting and signage and general upgrading to RCCL standards, according to a spokesperson. The ship's car deck will be converted into passenger accommodations in a future drydocking.

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