Royal Olympic Explorer Update

March 26, 2002

Will Royal Olympic Cruises’ new Olympic Explorer sail its inaugural? In one of the industry’s more protracted and puzzling disputes, Royal Olympic declined to accept delivery of its latest newbuild -- the $180-million ship weighs in at 25,000 tons and has a passenger capacity of 820 -- last April. The company says it wasn’t satisfied that “technical problems” had been solved while Hamburg-based shipbuilder Blohm + Voss insisted she was more than ready to sail.

The latest inaugural -- this is at least the third that has been scheduled -- for Olympic Explorer is slated to occur May 3. The ship is scheduled to sail week long roundtrip itineraries out of both Venice and Athens and a spokeswoman says it is sold out through June 8.

In the meantime, however, the ship is still ensconced at the shipyard and the spokeswoman was aware of no concrete plans for its release. “I haven’t heard anything about a delivery date,” says the company’s Irene Rocafort, “but it’s still March and it only takes a few days to get from Hamburg to Athens.”