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Cruise West Goes South — Updated

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 by

SPIRIT OF OCEANUS at Vancouver. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2003.

Things at Seattle-based niche market cruise line Cruise West seem to be in flux as the company offices have reportedly shut down, leaving just an outgoing message that states the line is not accepting reservations for future cruises.  Cruise West cites it is restructuring under new ownership but will still be operating its two scheduled cruises that departed Portland and Seattle on Saturday, September 4.

MaritimeMatters received a message today from Tammy Hinshaw, a passenger on the line’s flagship, the 1991-built SPIRIT OF OCEANUS, currently in east Canadian waters, stating that passengers were being put ashore at St. John’s, Newfoundland, with no word yet on refunds or compensation.

Cruise Web site CruiseMates editor Paul Motter offers some interesting insight into passengers’ rights to compensation when a cruise line goes belly-up. Click Here for his interview with a top travel insurance provider.

In the interim, it has been confirmed by International Shipping Partners of Miami that the ship was sold to TN Cruise K/S, Denmark, who plan to charter the ship to another operator.

Follow Up:  On September 17, 2010, Cruise West announced it has ceased operations effective September 18, 2010.

7 Responses to Cruise West Goes South — Updated

  1. David Walker

    September 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Wow. Incredibly disappointing news about a really great cruise line. I have sailed Cruise West twice; the Spirit of Discovery up the Columbia River and the Spirit of Oceanus in Alaska, and both times incredible experiences. I truly hope they can emerge from this and continue to serve the small ship US market. Too many people complain about all the big box ships in the US but scuff at paying a premium fee for a cruise ship that often carries less than 200 people and gets you so close to the destination you are literally hands on.  

  2. Geoff McCreary

    September 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    The website has changed over now to just a press release. Doesn’t give to much detail and leaves more questions then answers.

  3. John Fostik

    September 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    We live in a very tenuous environment for US flag operators. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to sail with them they were on ” the list”. Let’s hope that some good comes from this. I always wondered why they never bought the two former ” CAPE’s”….perhaps they were over extended.

  4. Brian

    September 13, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    isn’t one of the Cape’s now an accommodation vessel in Port au Prince ?

  5. Peter R

    September 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Cruise Critic just onfirms that SPIRIT OF OCEANUS has been sold to Danish Investors who will rename her SEA SPIRIT and make her available for long-term charter
    http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=4090

  6. David

    September 15, 2010 at 8:40 am

    wow…….another small ship line bites the dust too bad !!!

  7. Shawn Dake

    September 15, 2010 at 10:19 am

    The demise of Cruise West, at least in it’s present form, is another incredibly sad chapter, both for small ship fans and for the ever shrinking U.S. flag cruise industry. The roots of this company can be traced back to the late Chuck West founding Arctic Alaska Tours in 1947, and ten years later Alaska Cruise Lines. That evolved into Westours which was purchased by Holland America Line in 1971. West was later forced out of the company and started over with TravAlaska Tours which grew into Cruise West. His son Richard West took over after his retirement. Like many other companies that have foundered, Cruise West grew too rapidly, expanding into areas beyond their core business which combined with a recession is never good news. My heart goes out to the passengers and dedicated crews that are affected by this company’s failure.

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