(9 a.m. EST) -- Pandaw river cruises, which announced that it would cease operations a few months ago, has secured funding to stay in business, at least through September 2022.
Several "would be investors" have stepped forward to help the Strachan family, which owns Pandaw, stay in business and cover the costs of ship lay-up and vessel refurbishment costs for a September 2022 restart, the line said in an email. "They plan to keep the business in the family and relaunch marketing activity as soon as all remaining travel restrictions have been lifted."
Pandaw specializes in river cruises on small boats on less-traveled rivers, mostly in Asia. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the political situation in Myanmar, where Pandaw kept numerous vessels, led to the company's October decision to shut down.
Since then, however, Pandaw has been "inundated with hundreds of goodwill messages from regular passengers," the line said.
In the release, Pandaw Founder Paul Strachan thanked the supporters for raising morale "after nearly two years of hell."
"If it were not for the incredible support from the members of the Pandaw community, with so many kind words evoking memories of incredible experiences with us, I think we would have thrown in the towel."
The Asian countries where Pandaw has its 17 ships are starting to reopen, the line noted. India, Thailand and Cambodia allow vaccinated travelers in. Parts of Vietnam and Laos -- where Pandaw is one of the few lines sailing the upper Mekong -- will be accessible in January 2022 and fully reopen later in the year, the line said.
Pandaw said that bookings for its 2022-23 season have been strong, with many departures sold out as passengers booked before the pandemic are using their credits to rebook.