Royal Caribbean Reflags Vessels

September 17, 2004

Royal Caribbean, which has long flown a Norwegian flag on at least some of its ships, announces that it will switch to that of the Bahamas. The flag swap applies to Enchantment, Splendour, Majesty, Monarch, Rhapsody, and Sovereign of the Seas. The cruise lines 13 other ships are already waving Bahamas flags.

Passengers won't notice much difference. Aside from the symbolic significance -- Royal Caribbean has a Norwegian heritage -- the reflagging means that the remaining six ships will not be required to have a Norwegian captain. The Bahamas levy no such rule and, as a result, there may well be a more international mix of officers. This move could impact crew members on the six ships -- Royal Caribbean, in a statement, says it will keep compensation levels at or above existing levels at least for a two-year transition period.