Princess Cruises to deploy another ship to China

Golden Princess.

The Golden Princess will sail seasonal cruises from Tianjin in 2016, joining the Sapphire Princess in China.

The Sapphire Princess has been sailing seasonally from Shanghai since 2014 and will start sailing year-round from the port in 2016. Both ships carry about 2,600 passengers.

In addition, Princess Cruises will deploy a new 3,600-passenger ship to China in 2017, the cruise line said in May.

Another Carnival Corp. brand, Costa Cruises, will base four ships in China in 2016: the Fortuna, Serena, Atlantica and Victoria. Carnival Corp. announced in April that the Fortuna would be added to its China fleet.

“Our Costa and Princess brands are performing extremely well in China, and these new ship deployments will strengthen our growth position and enable us to carry nearly 1 million passengers in 2016,” said Alan Buckelew, Carnival Corp.’s chief operations officer.

Carnival Corp. CEO was paid $8.7 million last year

Carnival Corp. president and CEO Arnold Donald received $8.7 million in compensation last year, an increase of 11% from 2013.

The cruise company’s 2014 net income rose 14.4% in 2014. Carnival’s stock price rose 12.8% over the year.

Donald earned a salary of $1 million, plus stock compensation worth $3.5 million, non-equity compensation plan remuneration of $3.9 million and $291,000 of other compensation, including private use of the corporate jet.

The five mostly highly paid executives at CarnivalCorp.  earned a combined $32.7 million, including $6.5 million for Costa Group CEO Michael Thamm, $6.1 million for departed Carnival Cruise Lines president and CEO Gerry Cahill, $6.1 million for chief operations officer Alan Buckelew, and $5.2 million for CFO David Bernstein.

The information is contained in a statement filed with U.S. financial regulators in advance of the annual shareholders meeting, which is set for April 14 in London.

When cruise lines went global

By Tom Stieghorst
*InsightIt is easy to forget that the cruise industry was not always the global, or even national business that it is today.

In the early period of modern cruising, the airlines were still regulated and selling cruises was mostly a drive-port business. I was reminded of that in talking with Carnival Corp. COO Alan Buckelew, who began his career in the 1970s at Sitmar.

Buckelew’s latest assignment takes him to China, where he will function as Carnival’s point person in that key emerging market. Buckelew said China in many ways reminds him of the cruise market in North America back in its infancy.

In the mid-1970s, Buckelew recalls, each part of the U.S. had its own cruise players.*TomStieghorst

“There were a couple of brands in Miami, one or two in New York, one in L.A., and they pretty much kept to their own neighborhoods — the Miami guys in the Caribbean, New York in the Caribbean as well, the L.A. guys in Alaska and Mexico.”

With the deregulation of airlines in 1979, flying became more affordable.

“As cruise lines began to create an air package program and began flying, more ships came into the business, and it became more of a national business rather than a regional business,” he said. “And now it’s a global business.”

As it played out, the regional cruise lines consolidated in Miami. Princess Cruises, which merged with Sitmar, and Holland America Line became part of Carnival Corp. As did Cunard Line. Another big player in the New York market, Celebrity Cruises, became part of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Now the competitive arena has shifted to China, where, Buckelew says, “we’re back in the 1970s.”

“It’s still pretty regional, not that many guests flying to the ships,” he said. Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tianjin all draw passengers from their own geographic areas.

One big difference, however, is the scale. China’s population is four times that of the U.S. There are 24 million people in greater Shanghai alone. “When I go back home to L.A. or Miami, they seem like little villages in contrast to Shanghai,” Buckelew said.