Goliath Group Looking for $8.5 Million to Start Up

Goliath Group, which has named its planned two-ship cruise line Master Cruise, is seeking to generate $8.5 million for operating purposes after it recently generated its first $8.5 million for firm contracts for two 96-passenger ships.

Master Cruise, which expects to operate weekly sailings in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and northern European markets, is selling individual shares in the $100,000 range under the aegis of the Rotterdam-based Goliath Group in preparation to begin operations in late 1989.

Goliath Group President Henk van den Berg said that privately owned Master Cruise will enter the increasingly crowded upper-end of the small ship market with per diems in the $600 to $650 range.

Although Master Cruise had originally planned to build two yachtlike, 76-passenger vessels at the De Hoop shipyard near Rotterdam for delivery in 1988, the de Hoop shipyard filed for bankruptcy earlier this year and van den Berg said that ship construction will now begin at Rauma-Repola shipyard in Finland in October.

Van den Berg said that each of the two 6,000-ton, all-outside-suite vessels cost “close to $40 million,” that Master Cruise will be headquartered in Curacao, and that the budding cruise line expects to homeport one of its vessels at Curacao.

Van den Berg also said that he has been negotiating with an existing North American-based cruise line about the possibility of a joint-marketing operation and has also been studying the possibility of opening a sales office in the Miami area. He noted that he expected between 70 and 80 percent of the ship’s 192-berths to be marketed in North America.

The ships will have a Dutch crew of 70, all standard cabins of 350 square feet, a sauna, gym and jacuzzi and a business center, van den Berg said, to attract the growing incentive sales market. He added that the vessels will also include a golf simulator, pool, and casino.

Van den Berg said that Master Cruise is also studying the possibility of homeporting in ports such as Monte Carlo in the Mediterranean and Barbados and Trinidad in the Caribbean.

Van den Berg also said that he expects Master Cruise to diversify its one-way weekly itineraries to sell back-to-back 14-day sailings. He also claimed that the areas “in the cabins, on deck and in the public lounges will have the highest passenger-to-space ratio in the cruise industry.”

Van den Berg said that Master Cruise is currently in the process of publishing a brochure and that a board of directors should be fully in place by the end of the year to develop an operating plan. He added that Studio Acht of the Netherlands will be the interior designers of the two vessels and that Nedlloyd of the Netherlands and the Goliath Group designed the ships.

Although capacity at the very high-end of the small ship market will soon increase when the 212-passenger Signet Price of Seabourn Cruise Line begins operations in December, van den Berg claimed that Master Cruise will prosper because “we will bring a completely new sales approach to the cruise industry.”

He refused to elaborate on precisely what that novel approach will be.

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