Tradewinds – Cruise pair torched after lengthy layups

(Written by Jonathan Boonzaier)

27 March 2013 – The ‘Atlantic Star’ and ‘Pacific’ have sailed under tow on one-way voyages to the breakers in India and Turkey, respectively

The fate of two cruiseships appear to be in the hands of breakers in India and Turkey.

The Atlantic Star (built 1984) and Pacific (ex-Pacific Princess, built 1971), two of the industry’s longest laid-up vessels, have sailed under tow on one-way voyages to the breakers.

The former Pullmantur ship Atlantic Star, left Marseilles for India via the Suez Canal at the end of last week.

The 46,000-gt vessel was earlier this month said to have been sold to Greek interests who wanted to return the ship to service but this appears not to have been the case.

The Atlantic Star is arguably one of the youngest cruiseships to have been sold for demolition in recent years. Although not especially old by cruise-industry standards, the ship’s fate was sealed by its mechanically troublesome steam-turbine propulsion plant that forced it into layup several years ago.

The ship was a disastrous investment for Pullmantur, which acquired it from Carnival Corp for $80m in 2006. Not only did it have a thirsty appetite for bunkers, it also proved quite unreliable, with numerous cruises cancelled because of mechanical problems.

It was pulled from service shortly after Pullmantur was acquired by Royal Caribbean International (RCI). Late last year, RCI traded the ship in to STX France as part of its deal to build an Oasis-class cruiseship at the yard.

The end for ‘the love boat’

Also heading through the Mediterranean under tow this week is the 20,000-gt Pacific — the star of the TV series “The Love Boat”. A long-term dockside resident in the Italian port of Genoa, it has finally been sold to shipbreakers in Aliaga, Turkey.

Troubles began for the famous vessel when it entered a yard in Genoa shortly after being acquired by Spain’s Quail Cruises in 2008. It required a large amount of steelwork and mechanical repairs, half of which had been completed by the time a major dispute broke out between Quail and previous owner CVC Tur of Brazil over who was to pay for what.

Tired of the bickering and non-payment by either party, the yard stepped in and arrested the ship, which has sat in a partially refitted state ever since. Numerous attempts over the years to sell or auction it have failed.