First European/Festival Continues Negotiations; Cancels Cruises

January 23, 2004

First European/Festival Cruises has finally reported in with a statement about the status of three of the fleet's four ships, which have been arrested in various ports of call as a result of differences with creditors. European Stars was halted last week in Barcelona as was Mistral in Marseilles; it turns out that European Vision, the subject of a was-it-or-wasn't-it seized debate in the Dominican Republic (even the company didn’t seem sure), was not stopped. Then, anyway; the ship ultimately, this week, was seized in Barbados. In all cases passengers were put ashore and cruises were summarily cancelled.

Now the First European/Festival is canceling upcoming voyages. European Stars' January 26 departure from Genoa is off. European Vision's slated January 25 cruise from Santo Domingo will not occur. Mistral is not impacted at this point because it was scheduled to spend the next two weeks in drydock.

First European/Festival maintains it is optimistic and has issued a statement: "Festival is a viable, ongoing business and is optimistic that an agreement can be reached to the satisfaction of all parties very shortly. Unfortunately a solution to resolve the current problems involving these three vessels was not finalized by Wednesday as earlier had been hoped, and therefore Festival acknowledges the possibility that immediately forthcoming cruise departures for the same ships may be affected.

"The company sincerely regrets any disruption to its passengers' holiday schedules that may occur and is making every effort to prevent disappointment to its customers. Further announcements relative to these ships will be made shortly."

As always, we'll keep you posted.