Rhapsody in C Minor (C for China)

Royal Caribbean to Expand Operations in Asia in 2007 Royal Caribbean International announces its return to Asia in December 2007. The Vision-class ship, featuring the line’s rock-climbing wall and indoor glass walls, will offer a series of cruises out of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, visiting exotic ports of call in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.

Rhapsody of the Seas will debut December 10, 2007, in Singapore offering a series of sailings that will call on Malaysia and Thailand. The ship’s Asia tour continues on from Hong Kong, where she will arrive in time for the Chinese New Year holiday season, offering a series of itineraries calling at ports in Taiwan, Japan, and Sanya, Hainan Island. Then moving to Shanghai, China, Rhapsody will call on ports in Japan and Korea. Additional details of Rhapsody’s itineraries will be available by mid-October 2006.

Rhapsody of the Seas, at 78,491 tons and with a total guest capacity of 2,435, will be one of the largest cruise ships to homeport in Asia. In addition to the rock-climbing wall, she features the awe-inspiring Centrum, an open atrium with a shopping arcade; an outdoor pool; six whirlpools; an indoor/outdoor pool in a Solarium with a retractable roof; themed bars and lounges; the Adventure Ocean Youth program; the Shipshape Day Spa and Fitness Center; the Casino Royale; multi-level dining rooms with floor to ceiling windows; and Windjammer Café. The ship also has one main conference center with four smaller meeting rooms. (Source: www.marinelink.com)

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Royal Caribbean Buys Pullmantur

Royal Caribbean Cruises has agreed to purchase the Spanish cruise and tour operator Pullmantur for 430 million euros, plus the assumption of net debt of 270 million euros, for a total cost of approximately $896, based on current exchange rates. The deal is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter.

Pullmantur presently has five ships: The 2000-built, 684-passenger Blue Dream and the Blue Moon (formerly the R6 and R7); the 1981-built 1,000-passenger Holiday Dream (formerly the Superstar Aries and Europa); the 1965-built 1,000-passenger Oceanic (formerly the Starship Oceanic); and the 1984-built 1,200-passenger Sky Wonder (formerly the Pacific Sky, Sky Princess).

Royal Caribbean said the acquisition will further expand its operations in European and Latin American markets.