The ships, both of which operate for the Greek-owned company for at least part of the year in the U.S. -- and both of which attract a wide-ranging American passenger base -- will continue to sail, according to a company statement. The cruise line itself has not filed for Chapter 11.
The statement offers an explanation of the company's troubles and their impact on Royal Olympic's newest vessels by saying that the impact of the September 11 tourism attacks, the conflict in the Middle East and last spring's SARS epidemic all have contributed to a certain financial unstability.
Just recently, Royal Olympic sent three of its most venerable ships, which it had tried, unsuccessfully, to sell, "to the rocks," to be stripped of all valuable materials, particularly steel -- and only raised around $5 million. These included Stella Solaris and Apollo (formerly Carnival's first-ever vessel, the Mardi Gras).
The company maintains that the Chapter 11 filing for Voyager and Explorer is a positive step; on our part, we urge any traveler considering a cruise on Royal Olympia's ships to buy trip default insurance from a third party provider -- and pay with a credit card.