Tampa: Port of origin for Elvis-themed cruise
We've all heard of themed cruises. Some of us have taken one or two. of the multi-day cruises based on common interests -- from baseball to wine to golf to investing to celebrity schmoozing.
That's why it's so interesting to see a cruise out of Tampa this fall dedicated to the King: all things Elvis. Carnival Cruise Lines will partner up with Elvis Presley Enterprises and a related business called Sixthman to offer a 24/7 Elvis cruise on Carnival's Inspiration , Nov. 12-16, through the Caribbean from Tampa to Cozumel. This will be the third such cruise dedicated to Elvis.
Just to be clear, I'm no Elvis devotee. But I truly appreciate his musical talent -- come on, Heartbreak Hotel is a classic! -- and as a business writer I am in awe at the endurance of his brand power. Who else comes close for so long?
Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. (EPE) was created by the Elvis Presley Trust to conduct business and manage its assets. EPE was wholly owned by the Elvis Presley Trust/Lisa Marie Presley until 2005. In 2005, Robert F.X. Sillerman and his then new media and entertainment company CKX, Inc. acquired an 85 percent stake in EPE. Lisa Marie Presley retains a 15 percent ownership in the company and continues to be involved, as does her mother Priscilla. EPE now operates as a subsidiary of CKX Inc., which trades as a Nasdaq stock under the ticker symbol CKXE and also owns rights to the name, image, and likeness of Muhammad Ali and proprietary rights to the Idols television brand, including the American Idol series.
Now the Elvis cruise out of Tampa features a ton of musicians who played with Elvis, some of the best Elvis tribute artists and several actresses who appeared in such Elvis movies as Live a Little, Love a Little, Kissin’ Cousins, and Girl Happy.
So Elvis isn't dead. He's just on perpetual tour. In fact, CKX this morning issued a release stating “Elvis Presley in Concert” starts its Europe tour in early 2010. It reunites Elvis’ former bandmates live on stage with a video-projected Elvis. Now that's brand power.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist