RCL sells Celebrity Century to China's Ctrip

SEPTEMBER 3, 2014 —  Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE, OSE: RCL) reports that it has entered into an agreement to sell its cruise ship Celebrity Century to Exquisite Marine Ltd., a holding company led by Ctrip.com International Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP). Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will continue to operate Celebrity Century until April 2015.

Ctrip says it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to form a joint venture to manage the operations of the acquired cruise ship and potentially broaden the relationship.

"Since its inaugural sailing, Celebrity Century has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to the Chinese cruise market," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "The vessel's sale is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Ctrip, and will generate strong value for both companies' shareholders."

Celebrity Century will complete its scheduled sailings for RCL's Celebrity Cruises brand through the March 22, 2015, itinerary. The 15-night, Dubai to Rome sailing on April 5, 2015 is being redeployed to a 14-night sailing from Dubai to Singapore. Guests with affected individual bookings and named group bookings on Celebrity Century's April 5, 2015 sailing from Dubai to Rome have the option to either cancel their booking and receive a full refund or move to an alternative sailing and receive a re-accommodation onboard credit as well as compensation to cover air change fees. Guests with reservations affected by the transition will be proactively contacted by Celebrity Cruises. Guests and Travel Agents with specific questions are welcome to call 1-888-283-7275.

Celebrity Century joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in December 1995, and was built by German shipbuilder Meyer Werft. The 71,545-ton ship carries 1,814 guests (double occupancy) and 860 crew.

"China is becoming one of the largest cruise markets in the world," said Min Fan, Vice Chairman of the Board and President of Ctrip. "As the largest cruise agency in China, Ctrip has sent over 120,000 guests to cruise trips so far and acquired more than 10% of market share in China. We are excited about the strong growth of the cruise industry and strive to strengthen our leadership in this market.

"We are thrilled about our acquisition of Celebrity Century, which is one of the top-tier vessels in the world," Min Fan continued," Century will be renovated to provide an outstanding cruise experience to China's leisure travelers, including premium hotel services, diversified dining options, exciting on-board facilities, varieties of entertainments, and inspiring excursions and tours. Ctrip will capitalize on our strong brand, large customer base, and superior service quality, as well as our partner's extensive cruise operating experience to generate great value to our customers and shareholders."

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