October 5, 2012 Updated October 5, 2012
In the latest incident, Princess Daphne, on charter to Germany's Ambiente Kreuzfahrten, was arrested in Souda, Crete, on Tuesday (Oct. 2), according to Seatrade Insider. There are 169 passengers on board.
The 17,000-ton, 580-passenger Athena and 800-passenger Princess Danae were detained in Marseille on September 17 for failure to pay crew wages and fuel costs.
A third CIC ship, the 6,000-ton Arion, is detained in Montenegro for similar reasons.
The fifth ship, Funchal, remains in Lisbon, pending refurbishments.
Passengers onboard Athena -- which had been chartered by Belgian tour company All Ways -- were repatriated to Belgium, but the crews of both ships are still onboard.
The latest arrest comes just one month after Princess Danae was arrested in Dublin for non-payment of a $94,000 fuel bill. It was detained on August 30, but allowed to leave after an agreement was reached over the disputed bill.
The Athena incident first came to light when member Pax106 posted on the Cruise Critic message boards asking what was going on with the company.
“Do you know what is going to happen with Athena? She is actually arrested in Marseille together with Princess Danae due to lack of payment from Shipowners. Arion another vessel of the fleet is also arrested in Kotor. It seems that the Shipowners disappeared...
“Can anyone inform what is going on with this company?”
At time of going to press the CIC website was still taking bookings for the Australia cruise. Despite repeated attempts to contact Classic International in Europe, we have been unable to. However, we did get hold of Grant Hunter, managing director of CIC in Australia.
Mr Hunter told us: "The owners of Athena and the five other ship owners of the CIC Group and their bankers in Portugal are continuing to work on a major restructure of the group. This involves not only the five ship-owning companies but 22 companies that provide management, crewing and technical support, therefore the process is complex. The owners of Athena have repeatedly advised Classic International Cruises during the past two weeks that the Athena cruises in Australia this summer will be proceeding as scheduled.”
Mr Hunter said bookings for Athena's Australian season remain steady and cancellations are as per normal and there is strong ongoing support from the travel agent industry in Australia.
Athena is alongside her berth in Marseille as the restructure is negotiated.
In a separate incident, British passengers have been given the green light to sue CIC for a disastrous transatlantic crossing in which one passenger died.
--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor