Another cruise line shuts down as COVID’s impact on industry grows

Jul 22, 2020

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The coronavirus crisis has claimed another cruise line.

U.K.-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages shut down Monday after days of scrambling to find emergency funding.

Representatives from financial consultancy firm Duff & Phelps have been appointed as administrators for the line, according to a notice posted Monday on the company’s website.

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The notice said all cruises at the line had been cancelled. It suggested passengers on the cancelled trips make a claim for compensation with the U.K.’s ABTA, a travel trade association that insures trips sold by member companies in the case of company failures. It directed customers with flight-inclusive cruise packages to make a claim with the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Catering to British travellers, Cruise & Maritime Voyages was the U.K.’s second-biggest cruise operator after Carnival Corporation’s P&O Cruises. It marketed trips on six ships — Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Astoria, Astor, Marco Polo and Magellan.

Many of its ships were also well known in the U.S. The line often bought older vessels from top-tier U.S.-based brands such as Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America and Princess Cruises.

The Cruise & Maritime Voyages vessel Marco Polo (Photo by evannovostro/Adobe Stock)
The Cruise & Maritime Voyages vessel Marco Polo originally was built in 1965 as an ocean liner. (Photo by evannovostro/Adobe Stock)

The line’s Columbus, a 1,400-passenger vessel, once sailed as Star Princess at Princess Cruises. Magellan, a 1,250-passenger vessel, is the former Holiday at Carnival Cruise Line.

Vasco da Gama was a former Holland America ship.

The line also was famous for marketing Astoria, the world’s oldest cruise ship still in operation. Dating to 1948 and originally named Stockholm, the vessel originally was an ocean liner.

While sailing under the name Stockholm in 1956, Astoria infamously collided with the Italian liner Andrea Doria. The accident, which took place off the coast of Nantucket, resulted in 46 deaths and the sinking of Andrea Doria. It was one of the biggest passenger ship accidents of the era.

Related: Is cruising done until 2021? This cruise line thinks so 

Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo also was a former ocean liner that dated to 1965. It originally was built as the Aleksandr Pushkin for the Soviet Union’s Baltic Shipping Company. For many years, it sailed for Orient Lines, which eventually was acquired by Norwegian Cruise Line.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages had been scheduled to receive two new ships in the coming year in a transfer from Carnival Corporation-owned P&O Cruises Australia. It’s unclear now what will happen to those vessels.

The two vessels — Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria — are among 13 ships that Carnival Corporation had said were leaving its fleet in the coming months as it cuts costs and reorganises in anticipation of a slow restart to cruising.

Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn and five overseas brands.

Related: Why Holland America was right to shed 29% of its fleet 

While primarily aimed at British travellers, Cruise & Maritime Voyages also sold voyages in the German market under the name TransOcean.

The Cruise & Maritime Voyages ship Astor. (Photo by Tamme/Adobe Stock)
The Cruise & Maritime Voyages ship Astor. (Photo by Tamme/Adobe Stock)

Like many other lines around the world, Cruise & Maritime Voyages hasn’t offered any departures since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The shutdown has taken a financial toll on many cruise brands.

Cruise & Maritime’s collapse comes just two weeks after Sweden-based Birka Cruises shut down, citing the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic. Birka Cruises offered two- to four-night Baltic cruises out of Stockholm, Sweden, as well as day trips around the Stockholm archipelago.

The coronavirus crisis also has led to the insolvency of Spain-based Pullmantur Cruises. The three-ship operator, which is partly owned by Royal Caribbean Group, announced last month that it had filed for reorganization under Spanish insolvency laws.

Pullmantur blamed headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic that were “too strong … to overcome”.

Related: 22 classic cruise ships that may never return to service

Two of Pullmantur’s three ships in recent days have sailed to ship scrapping town Aliaga, Turkey.

Featured image by StudioPortoSabbia/Shutterstock

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