Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cruise West Continues Restructuring Efforts

Even as they were planning to drop a disappointment bomb on some booked passengers, Cruise West—a global leader in small-ship explorations—wrapped up their late-afternoon announcement today with a note of optimism, "Cruise West believes that small is beautiful. Small-ship explorations allow up-close and personal experiences unmatched by the traditional larger cruise lines. For nearly 64 years, Cruise West has provided authentic travel experiences." While that is certainly true, Cruise West further states that their first move as they work towards a restructuring of the company and its operations is the termination of the Spirit of Oceanus’ Voyage of the Great Explorers. While they don't indicate the ship (pictured above), or the company, has been sold (in fact, a new recorded message on the company's telephone line retracts the earlier statement that the cruise line has been sold), they do say that "additional assets may be sold" and other unnamed steps are being pursued towards a restructure. As part of this process, Cruise West has suspended accepting any new bookings.

Not all passengers are immediately out of luck. Cruise West plans to continue to operate its US flag ships and itineraries through October, 2010; Spirit of Endeavour will sail from Seattle on the British Columbia Cruise and the Spirit of ’98 from Portland, OR along the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Cruise West will also complete cruises or land tours already underway in Alaska.

However, what appears to be the final Spirit of Oceanus voyage ended at its scheduled port of disembarkation in St. John's, Newfoundland yesterday so as to "minimize any negative impact to our guests." For those booked Spirit of Oceanus guests who may be affected by this news and who have not yet travelled, Cruise West recommends that you take the following steps:
1. If third-party travel insurance was obtained, a claim should be placed immediately with the insurer.
2. If payment was made by credit card, a claim should be placed immediately with the card issuer.
3. If the payment was made by cash or check, and you have no travel insurance, please send an email to
Unfortunately, that's all the information we have as the company has indicated that Cruise West executives will not respond to media inquiries or accept interviews at this time.

UPDATE 9/8 at 10:00pm: The Cruise West website has been replaced with the press release, from which the above story was written. That's not a good sign for a company that plans ongoing operations. We wonder if a sale fell through and a bankruptcy filing is in the works.


Anonymous said...

This is a shame. My family of 3 had a wonderful cruise to Alaska/Price WIlliam Sound with them at the end of July 2010. I regret not completing the comment card timely thanking them all for a fabulous experience. We were considering a Panama Cruise with them for December. I wish their employees the very best.

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

I'm sure they are doing everything they can to continue operating.