(12 p.m. EDT) -- Oceania Cruises announced Wednesday that the maiden voyage of its newest ship, Riviera, will be pushed back by 10 days. The ship, a 1,250-passenger sister vessel to Marina, will now embark on its first revenue-generating sailing on April 24, 2012.
The line, which says the delay will allow more time for crewmembers to become acquainted with the ship, will rebook passengers on a new 12-night Middle East sailing -- the original sailing was 10 nights -- at no additional charge and offer $250 in onboard credit to each cruiser. Those who wish to rebook may do so and still receive the $250 credit. Passengers wanting to cancel completely will receive full refunds.
Although Oceania hasn't reported any problems with the vessel, it's not historically unusual for cruise lines to alter the dates of ships' maiden voyages for a variety of reasons. In 2007, Azamara Journey's launch was delayed because the ship simply wasn't ready. More recently, NCL's Norwegian Epic experienced a series of fires and other setbacks that caused it to make its debut a bit late.