MIAMI (AP) _ Royal Caribbean International is expanding its position in the cruise industry.
Royal Caribbean, one of the world’s largest cruise lines, has agreed to buy Celebrity Cruise Lines Inc., in a $1.3 billion deal designed to lure more customers while cutting costs.
The agreement announced today will create a fleet of 20 cruise ships with more than 38,000 berths by 2000.
Under the deal, Royal Caribbean will pay $500 million in cash and stock for Celebrity Cruise shares and assume $800 million in debt. Royal Caribbean will also pay $230 million in cash and issue 7.4 million shares of Royal Caribbean common stock.
Royal Caribbean said Celebrity will continue as a separate line.
``Together, the two brands will enable us to deploy vessels and attract customers on an increasingly global basis, as well as provide opportunities to achieve greater economies of scale,” said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean’s chairman and CEO.
Fain said John Chandris will stay on as chairman of Celebrity for the time being.
With an additional ship being delivered this fall, Celebrity will have five ships with a total capacity of 8,200, all built in the 1990s. The line sails to Alaska, Bermuda, the Caribbean and the Panama Canal.
Royal Caribbean operates 11 ships with a total capacity of 19,770. It also has four new ships on order scheduled for service beginning in 1999. The company travels to 156 destinations including ports in the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, Alaska and the Far East.