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Apr 30, 2004

Royal Caribbean objects to Carnival Port

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On Thursday, the Government of Belize signed an agreement with Carnival Cruise lines to begin construction of a fifty million dollar port in Belize City. It was signed although there is an existing agreement with Royal Caribbean, which owns the Fort Street Tourism Village. When News 5′s Janelle Chanona asked Prime Minister Said Musa if there was going to be any conflict between the two ports, or the two cruise lines, he told her quote “I see this as a win-win situation and I believe we have been able to persuade the other parties that this is so, so I do not see any conflict at all and I think we will be able to work things out very smoothly,” end quote. However, this afternoon, a spokesman for Royal Caribbean, Michael Sheehan called News 5 from Miami to refute that claim. He said as far as Royal Caribbean is concerned, they still have a valid and exclusive contract, not only for Belize City, but the entire Belize District.

Michael Sheehan, Dir. of Communications, Royal Caribbean

“Royal Caribbean was shocked to read media accounts of the agreement between the Government of Belize and Carnival Corporation for the development of a new cruise port. We at Royal Caribbean signed a legally binding agreement with the Government of Belize in September 2003, regarding cruise ship activity in Belize. We, our company, have no agreement with Carnival, or with the Government of Belize regarding the proposed Carnival project. And based on media accounts, it appears that the Carnival agreement is in direct violation of the Royal Caribbean agreement. Today, we at Royal Caribbean are sending a letter to the Prime Minister of Belize to make perfectly clear that our company fully expects Belize to fully comply with all aspects of our agreement. Our company negotiated in good faith with the Government of Belize and we expect the government to have the integrity to fulfil its contractual obligations.”

“I can tell you that in our agreement the government, the government explicitly designates Royal Caribbean?s Fort Street Tourism Village as, and I will quote from the agreement, quote ?the official port of entry of cruise ship passengers to the Belize District.? And later it says that it mandates, or makes mandatory all cruise ships visiting Belize?s cruise district to use the Fort Street Tourism Village in order to gain for its passengers entry into and exit out of the Belize District. So it?s very plain and very straightforward and we are hopeful that we can work this all out.”

Karla Heusner

“Are you ruling out anything at this point, would you consider legal action? What…

Michael Sheehan

“We consider all actions open to us and we hope it can be resolved amicably, but we need it to be resolved.”

It was announced yesterday that construction on the new Carnival Port is scheduled to begin in a little over a month.

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