The cruise line confirmed Wednesday that the 11,209-ton, 451-passenger ship has been sold by the vessel's owning company -- Black Prince Cruise Ltd -- to Servicios Acuaticos de Venezuela CA (SAVECA), a company that recycles used vessels and restructures them for new uses.
A statement from the cruise line indicates that the vessel will be used as a cruise ship in Venezuelan waters.
As we reported previously, Fred. Olsen chose to retire Black Prince instead of completing the costly upgrades needed to comply with new International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations, which will be in place by 1 October 2010. However, a Fred. Olsen spokesperson tells us that SAVECA intends to use the ship for shorter trips along the coast, for which safety regulations are different.
Beginning 9 September 2009, Black Prince will sail a series of farewell cruises -- including a 10-night round-Britain cruise, departing from Liverpool; a three-night mini-cruise from Liverpool to Southampton; a 10-night "Historic Home Ports" cruise, roundtrip from Southampton; and a final, 14-night Canary Islands cruise, roundtrip from Southampton. The Merseybeats, a rock group from the early 60's Liverpool music scene, will perform onboard the 9 September departure.
Another ship that's set to retire this year, due to impending SOLAS changes, is Saga Rose. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 was recently transferred to Dubai to become a floating hotel.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor, with research by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor