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Defying Boom and Bist Predictions

outdid themselves last year. Consolidation and globalization were the pet phrases used by industry insiders to describe the market atmosphere in 1997, but North American consumers were too distracted to pay attention to the predictions of analysts, investors and owners. Fresh options and new vessels were luring them to the sea. They were buzzing about trips on the world's largest passenger vessel, lining up to book passages on Mickey Mouse's new ship, and financing vacations afloat with loans from the cruise lines. Some people rode the rails to ports of origination, others cruised from Houston, or opted to bring their families on voyages aboard child-friendly newbuilds, with their underage broods toting special edition cruise ship Barbies along for the ride.

The flurry of ship ordering activity that ushered in the early 1990s continued, and cruise line executives used the trade show last March as a platform to shelve the notion that the market was becoming oversaturated with a glut of new berths. They hinted at further brand consolidation, and chanted a "Look to Asia" market expansion mantra. Arriving in Miami with an infusion of capitalthink you may see us in a position where we would be ordering a ship," Cunard's Mr. Bates and ship orders under its belt, even the troubled Norwegian Cruise Lines was back in the loop. As Disney Magic materialized on Fincantieri's docks and promised to lure first-time passengers to cruising, Carnival Cruises readied to launch a partnership with Hyundai Merchant Marine in Asia, which the bullish interpreted as another indicator of the sector's depth. Rumors of a Cunard sale swirled mid-summer as Royal Caribbean and Carnival fought to acquire the struggling Overseas Shipholding Group's infant Celebrity Cruises fleet. With eight Emhantment of the Seas Shipyard KMY Name . . .Enchantment of the Seas Ship owner/operator RCL Kvaerner Masa-Yards (KMY) Helsinki delivered the sistership of Grandeur of the Seas to Royal Caribbean in July of 1997.

Enchantment of the Seas is a 916 ft. (280 m) long, 2,400-passenger luxury liner that boasts a total of 975 spacious cabins. KMY's price tag for completing both vessels was $193 million when they were ordered in 1994.

KMY equipped Enchantment of the Seas with four MAN B&W electric propulsion engines capable of outputting 12,600 kW each.

Enchantment of the Sea has a 74,000 gross tonnage and a maximum cruising speed of 23.5 knots.

Although Enchantment of the Seas' length has been increased by 63 ft. (20 m), KMY was able to reduce the number of engines from five to four, and still maintain a high knot output. The four MAN B&W engines are single acting, non-reversible, fuel injected, turbo-charged trunk piston diesels, each driving an AC 15,300 kVa alternator feeding thenewbuilds scheduled to debut in the upcoming year and five new vessels with more than 1,300 berths to be water-ready by December, sector-wide business was proceeding at a fair clip in the latter half of 1997. But while other positive developments, like the cutting of the first piece of steel for Royal Caribbean's Eagle class of ships at Kvaerner Masa- Yards in Finland, took place in the fall, before the year was over a smoke signal would go up, cautioning players to tread lightly in a market subject to adjustments and mishaps. Carnival pulled out of its venture in Asia, and in October the Asian financial market bottomed out. Disney announced a delay in the delivery of its first ship forcing thousands to change their plans for its maiden voyage, and Holland America also canceled three sailings on Rotterdam VI, all due to slowdowns at Fincantieri's Marghera yard. NCL's Norwegian Star, the first ship to call Houston its home, underwent a series of disastrous cruises which resulted in a class action lawsuit, and NCL's ship Leeward was alleged to have caused 500 years worth of damage to the Great Maya Reef off Mexico in a grounding incident. One week into 1998, however, Princess Cruises announced a contract with Fincantieri for two 109,000-ton, 2,600-passenger sisterships for Grand Princess, which will surpass Carnival Destiny as the largest cruise ship afloat when it debuts this spring. On the shore side, Princess also opened a new facility in Valencia, Calif., to house it operations personnel, who will interface with executive staffers occupying Century City offices 30 miles further south.

Kvaerner's Cunard Cruise Line also completed a move of executive offices from New York to Miami, spurred by hiring and tax incentives offered by Florida's Dade County. Just weeks before this year's State of the Industry debate, several cruise executives have shared their spins on the 1997 market with MR I EN, some indicating that moves by their companies this year will set up the industry for growth in the new millennium




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