Some former Renaissance passengers received a strange email message this week proclaiming the birth-from-the-ashes of the much-missed cruise line. “We are thrilled to announce that after a year’s sabbatical, we are back in Ft. Lauderdale and are putting the Renaissance Cruises family back together.” The big mystery, however, is who, exactly, is “we”?
And even more shadowy is how this anonymous benefactor – widely believed to be Ed Rudner, the original leader of Renaissance Cruises – is putting the company back together when the actual ships, whose innovations were one of the biggest factors in making Renaissance distinctive in the first place, are either already sold and/or leased (see an item earlier today about P&O’s plans for R3 and R4 in the Pacific region). Or waiting for buyers – who, incidentally, cannot have been affiliated with the original company.
Ed Rudner’s office responded saying only Rudner could comment and he is out of the office today. Industry sources, however, said that it is true that Rudner bought the rights -- and paid a hefty price -- to the Renaissance Cruises name. It is believed that Rudner wants to use the name to create a company that packages cruise trips (on other cruise lines’ ships) that include pre- and/or post-cruise hotel stays along with the voyage.