April 17, 2002
In a sign that signals cruising may be returning to more normal levels of operation, three different lines have announced some pretty good economic news. First, Royal Olympic’s much-delayed Olympia Explorer, the sister ship to Olympic Voyager that has been holed up in the Blohm + Voss shipyard as a result of a financial dispute, will indeed meet the deadline of its latest launch date. The 836-passenger ship departs for its inaugural May 3 out of Venice. Delta Queen Steamboat Co., which, as part of American Classic Voyages’ handful of fleets, has been hampered by the company’s bankruptcy filing last fall, may get a new lease on life. A Chicago-based investment firm -- Waveland Investments -- has petitioned U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, to purchase these vessels, at a cost of about $3.75 million -- and plans to restart operations related to two ships -- Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen. The purchase will fund activities at corporate headquarters (sales, travel agent and consumer support), which will remain in New Orleans. Most importantly, the two vessels will begin sailing again: Mississippi Queen is slated to begin May 7, Delta Queen August 26. Finally, Residensea, which has had numerous delays over the past six months, is finally -- at least it looks like it -- ready to go: the company says the condo-at-sea will host its christening on May 17 in Venice.