Update, December 15, 2014, 10 p.m. EST: Cruise & Maritime Voyages today announced its parent company, Global Maritime Group, has acquired Astor and signed a long-term charter of the vessel to CMV.
(6:30 a.m. EST) -- Cruise & Maritime Voyages has revealed it has made an offer to purchase Astor from its bankrupt German owner, Premicon Hochseekreuzfahrt GmbH & Co KG.
The deal is understood to be in its final negotiation stages as the ship arrives in Fremantle tomorrow (13 Dec) for the start of its summer cruises in Australia.
"There is an insolvency process currently going through the courts in Germany and CMV has put forward an offer for the purchase of the vessel and is presently in the final negotiations of the purchase agreement,” said Grant Hunter, CEO, CMV Australia.
In November, UK-based CMV took full possession of the ship after its German owners filed for insolvency. CMV had previously held the ship on a bareboat charter basis, which took effect in April 2013.
Hunter said the company was in a sound financial position to continue its local season as scheduled: "CMV has also paid all the past outstanding creditors and for the ships' annual docking in October. It is heavily invested in the cruise industry, having recently purchased Magellan (ex Grand Holiday) from Carnival Corp and it also owns Marco Polo, as well as chartering Azores.”
Hunter confirmed Astor would return to Australia for its 2015-16 summer season -- its third year based at the Fremantle port.
Highlights include a 54-night voyage from London (Tilbury) to Fremantle via three Caribbean ports, the Panama Canal, Acapulco, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Sydney and Kangaroo Island, and a Asian cruise from Fremantle to Hong Kong with stops in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Sabah, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.
CMV is an independent cruise line with sales offices in England, USA, Germany and Australia. It also operates three river ships in Europe.
--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor