The rumor goes round-and-round: Has P&O Cruises signed an agreement to operate the former Renaissance Cruises R3 and R4 in Tahiti? Or not? Despite a months-long string of stony “we are not commenting on this” non-committals from P&O’s London-based spokeswoman, Tahiti Tourisme North America has told us that indeed, a deal does exist.
According to Tahiti Tourisme’s Paul Sloan, P&O will launch service next September using the two ships. P&O will keep one of the ships in Tahiti on a year-round basis, while the other will spend just two months in French Polynesian waters and sail exotic Pacific-oriented itineraries the rest of the time. It is a five year agreement.
The R3 and R4 were among the eight spiffy mid-sized newbuilds launched by Renaissance Cruises throughout the late 1990s. These two have been stranded in Papeete since Renaissance announced bankruptcy last fall (other ships wound up in Gibraltar and are now in various processes of being chartered and/or sold).