“Our focus is on our brands and the
growth we have on order: over 20,000
berths,” he said. “I’m sure that’s larger than
the entire luxury sector, by far. This isn’t
to say we won’t one day acquire a luxury
brand but, overwhelmingly, our growth
has been organic, and that will, generally,
remain the case.”
Goldstein has held the titles COO and
president for less than six months, and his
former position, CEO of the company’s
largest brand, Royal Caribbean Interna-
tional, has been vacant since April. How
is the search
to replace him
“It’s going, but it’s not gone. Richard
[Fain, CEO and chairman] is compromised
because he’s been very engaged with and
enjoying his oversight of the brand. And
the [approaching launch of the] Quantum
is a natural for him.”
Having spent the day speaking with fi-
nancial analysts and media, the mention
of the new ship reminded Goldstein that it
was not only Fain who was focused on the
Quantum. The ship, for many, is a symbol
of the company’s future.
“Analysts are fascinated by Quantum and
everything it represents,” he said. “The record stock price,” he added, “is exciting, but
in the end, we need to perform. That’s what
it’s about. And I think [analysts] have a lot
more faith in our ability to perform than
in any time since the economic meltdown.”
Email Arnie Weissmann at aweissmann@
travelweekly.com and follow him on Twitter
Fall officially arrives tomorrow, and if
midweek trends during the third week of
September hold, the stock will close near or
at its all-time high, having risen a bit over
66% in the past 12 months.
Shares of Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have risen just
under 5% and just over 10%, respectively.
Trading has been dynamic throughout the
sector, with Carnival and Norwegian prices
swinging up as much as 33% from lows to
highs during the past 52 weeks; similarly,
variance in RCCL’s pricing in that period
was almost 89% from low to high.
Stock price isn’t the be-all and end-all
of evaluating a company and its prospects,
As it happened, I had din-
ner with Adam Goldstein,
RCCL’s president and COO,
this month on a day the com-
pany’s stock had closed at a
record high. And, to understate
the situation again, he was in
a good mood.
“There’s a gen-
eral sense in the investment community
that problems have been surmounted, and
the cruise industry is now on a more posi-
tive trajectory,” he said. “Sometimes they
see obstacles, sometimes opportunities,
and for us they see opportunities in our
commitment to growth, but moderate
“They also understand the global growth
story. China has resonated with the invest-
ment community for us.”
Earlier in the month, RCCL had sold the
19-year-old Celebrity Century to Ctrip, the
largest online travel agency in China. The
Ctrip press release said the two companies
would form a joint venture, with RCCL
managing the ship’s operations, and that
the two had a memorandum of under-
standing to “potentially broaden the
Some analysts compared the deal
to the joint venture between RCCL
and German travel giant TUI, which
sails older RCCL ship inventory.
Others speculated that RCCL would
lar to the way that hotel
companies manage properties owned by
independent investors. I asked Goldstein if
either of these analogies reflected the path
“Right now, all that’s happened is that we
agreed to sell Ctrip the Celebrity Century.
That’s all that has transpired. It’s not at all
like TUI. Ctrip mentioned a joint venture;
that remains to be seen. A memo of understanding is not a transaction.
“That said, they’re a remarkable com-
pany. We know them well, and they’ve
been one of our staunchest supporters with
Could it evolve into the hotel manage-
“Anything could evolve at this point,” he
said. “But it’s premature to say.”
As powerful as Ctrip is in China, did he
have any concerns he was helping a poten-
“Put aside Ctrip for a moment,” he said.
“There will be Chinese-owned cruise lines.
It’s inevitable. It’s not realistic to think
Western operators will control the entire
cruise market. That’s inconsistent with
Chinese attitudes toward any industry.
They’re going to decide what they’re go-
ing to do, and we’re going to have to decide
how we’re going to interact with it.”
I wondered about his reaction to the re-
cent acquisition of Prestige Cruise Hold-
ings, which brings Norwegian Cruise Line,
Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania
Cruises under common ownership and
now leaves RCCL as the only one of the Big
Three without a luxury brand.
My dinner with Adam
Autumn hasn’t always been kind to shareholders of Royal Ca- ribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL). The stock’s lowest price in 2009 occurred Oct. 30 ($20.23), and similarly, hit bottom for 2011 on Sept. 30 ($21.64). But last fall saw the trend reverse. On the autumnal equinox, shares were at $30.34, and by winter solstice, they had climbed to $46.96.
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