April 18, 2003
In what amounts to the second sign that Oceania, the industry's newest
cruise line, is struggling to attract passengers, the company announced that
it will now delay the debut of Insignia, its second ship. Instead of an
October inaugural -- fall in the Mediterranean, winter in South America --
Insignia will instead debut on April 10 and spend next summer in Europe. An
Oceania spokesman says that passengers who had booked one of Insignia's
canceled cruises can opt for a full refund or rebook on Regatta and receive
a shipboard credit. The credit varies and is determined by cabin category
and price paid.
According to a statement, Joe Watters, Oceania Cruises' chairman, said: "Our
decision to delay Insignia's introduction is based on current world
conditions that have impacted overall travel. We are fortunate to have the
flexibility to make this decision. We will now put our full attention into
the successful introduction of Regatta in 2003 with a more timely addition
of Insignia in April 2004."
Regatta, the line's first ship, is still on schedule for its July
debut though Oceania is offering free air for some of its first handful of
sailings. The 684-passenger Regatta, like sister ship Insignia, is one of
the much vaunted former Renaissance R-series clan. Insignia itself is under
charter through September 27.