April 15, 2002
Despite a continuing stream of “no comments” by folks at P&O’s London headquarters, it has been reported that a deal to lease (with option to buy when lease is up as of January 1, 2005) Renaissance’s Tahiti-anchored R3 and R4 has been signed, sealed and all-but-delivered. As we reported earlier, P&O will operate the two ships on South Pacific itineraries. One will focus on voyages involving the French Polynesian islands, the other focusing on New Zealand/Australia ports-of-call. One up-in-the-air issue surrounding this deal was whether the French government would continue with the really advantageous tax (or, rather no tax) system set up under Renaissance ( in exchange for keeping both ships in French Polynesia, the French government offered powerful incentives). U.S.-based Princess chief Phil Kleweno has, apparently, just returned from Tahiti after completing what pundits are claiming was a successful negotiation. Out of curiosity’s sake (yours, presumably, and ours, most definitely) we’ll provide an update on when this, cruise-dom’s worst-kept-secret in years, is officially announced by P&O.