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Kevin Sheehan No Undercover Boss Now

As our colleague Phil Reimer always says — and he is The Expert, after all — corporate news about cruising is usually as interesting to people on cruises ships as what the captain had for breakfast.

SheehanThe Kevin Sheehan story, we think, is different.

On Friday, Sheehan resigned/was fired/left as the head of Norwegian Cruise Lines. The “s” on “Line” has applied since Norwegian purchased Regent Seven Seas and Oceania. It’s always been a complicated or complex relationship because Apollo Management owned half of Norwegian and all of Oceania, but the long and short of it is that Sheehan’s replacement is Frank Del Rio, co-founder of Oceania.

But that’s probably not what should interest you (and us).

This should…

It was Kevin Sheehan who elevated Norwegian from being just another player to a high-profile member in the club of major cruise lines, albeit a junior member. He spent seven years at Norwegian, becoming CEO in 2010, when he had to stickhandle through the mess created by a ship the industry — but not the passengers — have often ridiculed as a misfit, the Epic.

Once the economy showed signs of recovery, Sheehan turned Norwegian into an entertainment icon at sea, and became part of a show not at sea when he appeared on Sheehan-UndercoverUndercover Boss, which at least gave the impression he was very hands-on and very much the public face of Norwegian Cruises. He also embarked on a four-ship expansion that will be something of a legacy, once the third (Escape) and fourth (Bliss) arrive in his absence. At least two of the four Breakaway and Breakaway Plus ships have his signature pub (O’Sheehan’s) so you could say his footprint remains on Norwegian, but nowhere is it more obvious than on the Breakaway.

It was the first cruise ship to be anchored in New York for year-round sailings, and it was always presented as “New York’s ship.” Sheehan, you should know, is a New Yorker. Under Breakawayhis direction, the Breakaway has a “New York” Boardwalk, New York godmothers (The Rockettes), Broadway entertainment (Rock of Ages), a New York hull artist (Peter Max) who painted a New York skyline, and a famous New York chef, Geoffrey Zakarian, whose restaurant adorns the ship’s eateries.

The Breakaway was the blueprint for the Getaway, which has everything Miami, which is Sheehan’s other home.

Or was until Friday.

So if you like what you see on the newest Norwegian ships, you probably have Kevin Sheehan to thank for it.

Now the questions that remain are: (1) Will he surface with another cruise line that likes what he did? and (2) Will O’Sheehan’s still be called O’Sheehan’s?

Today at portsandbows.com: More on Norwegian's news

Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas
10 nights
March 30, 2015
Baltimore (return): Labadee, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten  
Inside: $682
Cost per day: $68


Celebrity Cruises Losing a CEO

If a cruise line was losing money — it has happened — and the top executive took another job, the temptation would be to say he or she abandoned a sinking ship.

But when the top executive is Dan Hanrahan and he leaves Celebrity Cruises to run a hair company, the temptation is to say "What's up?" Or "Gone today, hair tomorrow."

Hanrahan announced a few days ago his term as Celebrity's boss will end in two weeks. He's taking his CEO title with him, to the hair care giant known as Regis Corporation (Supercuts, MasterCuts, Sassoon Salon, etc.). It's a good thing he's not (yet) follically challenged.

More money, you say?

His total compensation for 2011 was almost $2.5 million, according to regulatory filings. Granted, in this era of annual athletic contracts of $20 million or more that's chump change, but most of us wonder how much these "celebrities" really need.

Okay, maybe it's geography.

Celebrity is in Florida. Regis is in Minnesota. Maybe he prefers cooler winters.

What speculators are likely to focus on is the climax of Hanrahan's Celebrity journey. He oversaw the fleet of Solstice Class ships, a brand so popular that it's being passed on to lesser siblings that are being "Solsticized." The last Solstice ship, the Reflection, is almost ready for delivery.

Maybe Dan Hanrahan just thought it was time.

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
September 7, 2012
Copenhagen (return): Oslo, Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Bergen
Inside: $589
Cost per day: $84

Into The Heads at the Top

It’s hard for anybody to get into the heads of the people who run cruise lines to find out “What are they thinking?”

Unless “anybody” is USA Today, whose cruise writers Gene Sloan and Veronica Gould Stoddart had both the foresight and the opportunity to spend an hour with five CEOs/Presidents from the cruise industry.

For anybody interested in cruising, the result is compelling reading. Among the issues they addressed…

• How safe are people on cruise ships?
• Misconceptions about cruising
• Big ships getting bigger
• The cruise demographic
• Too much or too little to do on a cruise ship
• Cruising’s hot spots

You can find the article by clicking here. See if there’s anything you would have asked, if you had an hour with these five cruising “heads of state.”

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