May 19, 2003
The now-defunct Regal Cruises' Regal Empress, which was ordered by a judge to be sold in order to pay its creditors' bills, went up for auction Friday -- and attracted nary a single bid. The venerable ship -- circa 1953 -- is currently docked at the Port of Tampa. The minimum bid set for the auction was $2 million. A new auction has been scheduled for Friday in Tampa and there is no minimum bid. At this point, 75 percent of Regal Empress' crew members have flown home; 100 former onboard staffers are still living on the ship, however. In other Regal news, the company's web site (www.regalcruises.com) now says it has established a claims center for those passengers who have not gotten refunds via credit card companies or insurance policies. It says that passenger claims are protected under the bond that Regal posted to the Federal Maritime Commission. Download the form from the site; and though the company says the claims center will be in operation through December 31, best bet is to file for that refund as soon as possible.