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.