Festival And P&O Call Off Merger Talks
The proposed merger between Festival Cruises and Norway’s P&O fell through last month. Both companies said the low prices of cruise companies on international stock markets did not warrant any merger moves at the present time. They did not, however, exclude a merger sometime in the future when the markets are less volatile.
Georgos Poulides, chairman of Festival said that just because the merger fell through with P&O’s chairman, Lord Sterling, this did not mean there was animosity between us, on the contrary, “we remain friends.”
Lord Sterling simply said that “under present market conditions…this is not the best time to merge our two powers.”
Meanwhile, Festival Cruises has decided to promote its vessels under two separate brand names. It intends to promote its vessels Bolero, Azur and Flamengo as part of its Discovery fleet, while the new Mistral vessel that was presented to the Greek market recently, and the soon-to-be-delivered European Vision ship will form its Premium group.
The European Vision will set sail in July next year, beginning at Genoa, and will visit Greece and Turkey. It will carry 1,500 passengers and has 132 suites, each with their own balcony.
The Mistral carries 1,200 passengers and has 80 suites. It is also equipped with its own English-style pub, a conference center for 200, a golf practice range and a rock-climbing wall. The Mistral was delivered in July last year by France’s Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyards.
During its visit to Piraeus, Festival’s director in Greece, Michalis Benakis, announced that new offices will be established in order to meet a rising demand for cruises by the Greek market. The Mistral will be visiting the Greek islands until October 28 and docking at Piraeus every Thursday and depart for Venice.