The sale of Renaissance Cruises has been completed to a European and American group of investors including Cameli & Co., an Italian company involved in shipping, petroleum, manufacturing and real estate, and Luxury Liners, a holding company controlled by Edward Rudner, President of Certified Tours of Ft. Lauderdale.
Camali and Luxury Liners hold a 50 percent interest each. Rudner becomes Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Renaissance.
Norwegian shipowner Jorgen Jahre, Jr. has a 15 percent interest in Renaissance held by Bulls Tankrederi through Luxury Liners.
It is known that both Rudner and Jahre, Jr. have been looking for suitable cruise investments for some time.
Certified Tours is a large wholesale tour firm and is also the operator of Delta (Airlines) Dream Vacations program. Rudner, however, said that there would not be any direct tie-ins between the tour company and the cruise line, but that Renaissance from now on would put more emphasis on working with travel agents. Certified Tours has annual sales of approximately $250 million and generates some 500,000 travelers a year while doing business with more than 17,000 travel agencies.
Rudner said that that the Renaissance product was very good and that he did not foresee many changes. “Basically, what the company needed was an injection of capital,” Rudner said.
Rudner also said that “we will adjust the rate structure and will be extremely attractively priced.”
Rudner said that rates for 1992 seven-day Caribbean cruises would start at $1,495 and that the average per diem in the Caribbean would probably be below $300 (compared to an average per diem of $425 charged for the company’s worldwide cruises in 1991).
Mark Conroy, President of Renaissance, said that the company’s immediate objective was to re-establish its relationship with the 1,300 travel agents who had supported it during the recent difficult months. He also said that Renaissance would be producing and distributing several smaller cruise brochures featuring different sailing regions rather than the one large brochure the company had put out in the past.
Rudner said that for 91/92, Renaissance would operate three ships in the Caribbean, one in East Africa, one in South America, and one in the Far East, while one ship is on a full year charter to a German tour operator, Hanseatic Tours. Next summer, Renaissance will have five vessels in the Mediterranean, two in the Baltic, and one will probably stay in the Caribbean, according to Rudner.
Renaissance is increasing its presence in the Caribbean, with three ships sailing out of Antigua and St. Thomas from November 1991 through July 1992, and with four ships in the 1992/93 season.
While the new company will become more travel agent oriented, Conroy said that Renaissance would also stay in the special interest market and hoped to build incentive business.
Conroy also said that Rudner would work actively with Renaissance although he would not be there on a full-time basis since he would also remain President of Certified Tours. “I expect that Ed and I will take a hands on role along with our Vice President of Sales, David Levine,” Conroy said.
In addition, a Chief Financial Officer will be hired and there will likely be an expansion of the sales force.
According to reports from Norway, the purchasers paid $13 million in cash and assumed a $100 million loan. In addition, the purchasers also assumed a loan in lire equal to another $100 million covered by Italian shipbuilding subsidies.
A recent brief statement from Renaissance stated that the group was purchasing all eight of the Renaissance vessels together with Renaissance Cruises, the Ft. Lauderdale-based headquarters of the company.
Conroy has also been quoted as saying that the terms of the purchase included a “substantial” infusion of cash which will be used to recapitalize the marketing and sales activities of the cruise line. Conroy said he expected consumer and trade advertising to resume in the near future.
Rudner said that he believes it is possible to operate small ships profitably. “The key is what you pay for the ship,” he said.
Rudner added that “these ships were built at very attractive prices and we can offer extremely attractive value to our customers.”