According to an official statement, Majestic America Line will not sail after the completion of the 2008 season: "The company is committed to operating Majestic America Line through the 2008 season delivering unique cruise experiences that celebrate American history, culture and our magnificent waterways."
Itineraries for 2009 were not released for sale due to the April announcement; therefore, no cruise bookings are affected by the announcement to cease operations after 2008.
The fledgling river cruise operator was founded just two years ago through the combination of American West Steamboat Company and the vessels of Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Since then, it has struggled both financially and operationally -- Empress of the North was out of service for eight months after running aground, and Majestic's historic Delta Queen is being forced into retirement this year because the U.S. government has declined to continue its special exemption from safety requirements.
To date, spokespersons for MAL have been unable to comment on the pending sale -- and what it might mean for the future of the line. Joseph G. McCarthy, vice president of corporate development for Ambassadors International, Inc., is quoted as saying in a recent Ambassadors press release that "the formal process has commenced and Confidential Information Memorandums on Majestic America Line have already been sent to qualified interested buyers."
We'll keep you posted.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor