Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines has announced that early next year it will transfer six of its cruise ships to the Bahamas Registry, joining 13 other Royal Caribbean ships already registered in The Bahamas and the 9 ships of its sister brand, Celebrity Cruises.

The six, Enchantment of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, and Sovereign of the Seas, currently are registered under Norway.

Richard Fain, RCCL’s Chairman and Chief Executive, notes that having the ships registered under one flag would result in a more streamlined management process for shipboard operations. He said, *“The competitive nature of the cruise industry is intense, and we must ensure our competitiveness throughout the business.”*

The Bahamas, the world’s third largest “Flag State”, maintains over 1400 ships on its Ship Register, totalling in excess of 35 million gross tons. It also is the undisputed lead Flag for cruise ships. The Bahamas Maritime Authority has offices in Nassau, London and New York. The ongoing policy for the Authority in terms of sector development has been “growth with quality” — demonstrated by the number of high quality owners now using the Register. The success of the registry also is attributed to many of the factors that have positioned The Bahamas as a leading financial services centre: a progressive legislative and judicial system, political stability, neutral tax regime, and competitive fees.

The Bahamas points to its lead as flag for cruise ships as a strong indication of the reputation it enjoys in international shipping. The BMA says owners of cruise ships are particularly sensitive to public perception, and a high quality managed register is integral to maintaining the nation’s profile in the market place.