April 5, 2002
Media reports are abuzz with the possibility that R3 and R4 -- ships from the former Renaissance Cruises fleet that have been docked in Tahiti since last fall -- may have found a new home. And an unlikely one at that: P&O Princess, which, according to sources, is in negotiations to charter the two ships. If the deal goes through, one ship will stay in Tahiti and do year-round French Polynesia itineraries while the other may establish its home port in Australia for at least part of the year. As these ships’ complicated building funding plans involved tax breaks from the French government (which had then required Renaissance to sail the two vessels on a year-round basis from the French Polynesian islands), new operators may have to toe the line as well. This means that crew and officers, not to mention franchisees operating onboard concessionaires, from spa to shops, be of French nationality.