MIAMI, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has
received antitrust approvals from Spain and Portugal on its planned purchase
of Madrid-based cruise and tour operator Pullmantur S.A. With purchase plans
on schedule, company officials also unveiled Celebrity Expeditions, an
extension of the Celebrity Cruises brand, and a ship swap involving
Pullmantur's Blue Dream and Celebrity's Celebrity Zenith.
In August, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. signed an agreement with
Pullmantur's shareholders to buy all the company's capital stock, subject to
regulatory approvals. Today's announcement eliminates the last major
requirement to finalization. The company anticipates closing in mid-November.
"We are pleased that the Spanish and Portuguese authorities have given us
the green light on our Pullmantur acquisition," said Royal Caribbean Chairman
and CEO Richard Fain. "It allows us to move ahead with very exciting plans for
both Celebrity and Pullmantur. For Celebrity, it allows us to build out and
extend the Celebrity brand with tailored ships for target markets -- a long-
time strategy for the brand -- and, for Pullmantur, it enables us to add
needed capacity to the fleet."
Rounding out the Celebrity brand has been a strong focus for the company,
and the expansion of Celebrity Expeditions furthers that strategic objective.
When the 718-guest Blue Dream joins Celebrity's fleet, it will formalize a
small ship, destination-driven offering new to the brand, which will operate
under the banner of Celebrity Expeditions. Currently, Celebrity has only one
ship, the 100-guest Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos, in this category.
The line expects the concept to grow over time.
"Celebrity Expeditions will offer the best of what Celebrity is all about
-- fine dining, superior service, relaxing spa treatments, engaging enrichment
programs and exceptional destinations," said Celebrity President Dan Hanrahan.
"This offshoot is a natural extension of the brand, as we move into new
markets with tailored-to-market products."
Blue Dream will be renamed Celebrity Journey, and will join Celebrity's
fleet in April, 2007, sailing Bermuda itineraries from Cape Liberty in
Bayonne, NJ, beginning May 5, 2007. Before switching brands, the ship will
undergo a one-month revitalization and drydock to incorporate many of
Celebrity's signature elements such as two specialty restaurants; expanded spa
services, including in-room offerings; expanded concierge service, including
butlers; and additional guest suites. The restyled ship will sail the same
Bermuda itineraries originally scheduled for Zenith.
"Celebrity Journey will be an ideal ship for the Bermuda market," said
Celebrity Cruises President Dan Hanrahan. "Its smaller size and upscale style
are perfect complements to premium destinations such as St. Georges and
Zenith will sail regularly scheduled Caribbean itineraries from Tampa
until April 13, at which time she will sail a Caribbean and Bermuda itinerary
from Tampa to Cape Liberty. The April 13 sailing will be the ship's last
sailing as part of the Celebrity fleet before the ship redeploys to the
Pullmantur fleet in June, 2007. Before re-entering service, the ship will
enter drydock where workers will add balcony cabins, enlarge public spaces and
customize the ship for Spanish guests. Once retooled, Zenith will sail seven-
night Mediterranean cruises between Athens and Venice.
"It is gratifying to see the benefits of our new alliance come together so
quickly," said Pullmantur General Manager Alfonso Lopez Perez. "Adding Zenith
to our fleet gives us greater strength in meeting the demands of the Spanish
market, and I am confident we will realize even greater synergies as our
All guests currently holding bookings on Zenith in Bermuda will be
contacted by Celebrity representatives to transfer existing reservations to
similar accommodations on Blue Dream.
Celebrity has set up a toll-free number for travel agents and guests with
questions about ship or itinerary changes. That number for group and
individual bookings is 1-888-281-9343, featuring prompts to direct callers to
areas of interest.
Celebrity Journey was constructed in France and entered service in May,
2000, as R6. The ship is 30,277-grt and has 358 staterooms. The German-built
Zenith entered service in April, 1992, as a 46,811-grt vessel with 673
New bookings for sailings on Celebrity Journey will be available in the
next several days. Ship itineraries for the remainder of 2007, will be
Celebrity Cruises offers comfortably sophisticated, upscale cruise
experiences with highly personalized service, authentic five-star dining, and
extraordinary attention to detail. Celebrity sails in Alaska, Bermuda,
California, Caribbean, Europe, Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera,
Panama Canal and South America, and will begin sailing in Australia and New
Zealand in 2007. Noted for "The World's Best Large Ships," as voted by the
readers of Conde' Nast Traveler (February 2006 Cruise Poll), Celebrity's
current nine-ship fleet will be joined by Celebrity Solstice in 2008,
Celebrity Equinox in 2009, and a third Solstice-class ship in 2010. For more
information, call your travel agent, dial 1-800-437-3111 or visit the
Celebrity web site at www.celebritycruises.com .
SOURCE Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
/CONTACT: North American Media, Lynn Martenstein, +1-305-490-6984,
European Media, Susan Hooper +44-1932-834-303, Latin American Media, Maria
Sastre, +1-305-982-2244 or +1-305-213-3025, or Investor Relations, Greg
Johnson, +1-305-213-3313, all of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd./
/Web site: http://www.royalcaribbean.com
CO: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.; Pullmantur S.A.
ST: Florida, Spain
IN: LEI TRA
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2221 10/31/2006 08:42 EST http://www.prnewswire.com