January 18, 2001
Federal marshals have seized Commodore Cruise Line’s Enchanted Capri, currently docked in a New Orleans suburb, and have ordered that Enchanted Isle, the company’s other ship, stay put in the same locale (crew members, which have not been paid since Commodore filed for bankruptcy on December 27, remain on board). Equally of concern to cruisers, however, is the fate of Crown Dynasty. The flagship (and only) vessel in Commodore’s more upscale spin-off, Crown Cruise Line, was particularly popular with East Coast-based travelers who partook of Apple Vacations’ all-inclusive trips (Apple chartered the vessel, Commodore operated it) that departed from less trafficked ports like Philadelphia and Baltimore, in summer, and used non-stop charter aircraft out of both cities for the Aruba sailings. Apple reports that it had already confirmed some 4,000 bookings for summer sailings to Bermuda but rumors that the company was negotiating to buy Crown Dynasty, alas, are false, according to Apple president Ray Daley. He notes that the company is indeed searching for another ship to charter (prior to its contract with Crown it had for many years had an agreement with Celebrity’s Horizon) but is not in the market to buy. However, he anticipates lengthy bankruptcy issues may scuttle any possibility of renting Crown Dynasty this summer. Currently, Apple’s Bermuda-bound passengers are being rerouted on New York-based sailings. Might we, as a result of the loss of Crown Dynasty’s Bermuda cruises, see a tighter market this summer (and higher prices)? Not yet, though last minute bargains may be harder to come by. So far, we’ve seen some excellent sale fares ($799 and lower) for seven-day voyages and Daley reports no problem with the NY capacity absorbing its own customers.