Update, September 18, 7:31 p.m. EDT: At about 5 p.m. on Saturday, we received an email from Dick West stating:
"I am so very sorry to report the closure of Cruise West, the largest US flag line. After 64 years our family business has succumbed to the global economy. We are heartbroken that we are going to be disappointing so many wonderful travel partners and guests, many of whom have become part of our extended family over the years. We did everything we could - put everything we had into the business to make it through the Alaska season, but we have reached the end of the road. Things are now out of our hands."
(2:30 p.m. EDT) -- After more than a week of near silence, Cruise West has announced in a press release, that in the wake of unsuccessful attempts to save the family-run company, it will cease operations, as of today.
"We have done absolutely everything to maintain operations, but with limited resources and the current tight financial market, we simply cannot continue," said Chairman and Managing Director Dick West in the release.
All sailings with the exception of a Danube cruise departing September 22 have been canceled.
According to its statement, Cruise West is attempting to notify all previously booked passengers by phone, email and other media outlets.
The cruise line suggests that booked passengers who have not yet sailed should contact their travel insurance or credit card company. Passengers who paid by cash or check may also have options for recovering at least some of their loss.
Cruise West's financial troubles have been in the news for quite some time.
In July, we learned that the line had secured a $1.5 million loan and was reportedly seeking additional financing via investment bankers, while also exploring the possibility of selling Spirit of Oceanus (then leasing it back from the buyer).
Spirit of Oceanus has in fact been sold and is up for charter, no announcements have been made on the status of the cruise line's other eight ships.
--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer
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Cruise West Officially Folds
September 18, 2010