Carnival Launches New Spanish Brand

Carnival Corp. is adding another brand to its fleet, this one to serve the growing Spanish market. Last week, Carnival and Orizonia Corporacion, Spain's largest travel company, announced an agreement to partner on the new brand, which will be called Iberocruceros and consist of three ships, two from Orizonia and one from Carnival. The transaction is expected to close on September 14, with Carnival owning three-fourths of the company.

Carnival's 1,486-passenger Celebration, which launched back in 1987, will join Iberocruceros in late spring 2008 after an extensive renovation. Orizonia's 1,244-passenger Grand Mistral and 834-passenger Grand Voyager round out the fleet.

Carnival's Celebration will join Iberocruceros

Alfredo Serrano, who currently serves as the general manager of the Iberojet fleet, has been appointed general manager of the new Iberocruceros, which will be headquartered in Madrid. Serrano will report to Iberocruceros' board chairman Pier Luigi Foschi, who is also chairman and CEO of Carnival Corp.'s Costa Cruises unit.

In a statement, Carnival Corp. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison called the new joint venture "a solid platform for expanding in the fast-growing European marketplace." (A recent study by the Cruise Lines International Associated detailed the boom of European cruising and growing embarkation numbers from European ports.)

German Brand Deal Fell Through

On the same day, Carnival announced a dead deal in Germany with TUI AG, citing regulatory hurdles. Carnival and TUI had agreed to form a joint venture to develop a new cruise brand for the German-speaking market last December. Now that deal has been nixed. Carnival said that it would be difficult to close the deal this fiscal year and not doing so would create "adverse tax consequences for the company."

Carnival will continue to up its presence in the German market, though, through new construction for its Aida and Costa brands, as well as through Cunard, whose Queen Mary 2 will operate a series of trans-Atlantic crossings from Hamburg in 2008.

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