Monday, September 20, 2010

Cruise West Ceases Operations

The final chapter in the 64 year history of Cruise West was written this weekend as Chairman, Dick West, announced that the company was shutting down. He said in the statement that he is "heartbroken" by the end of his family's legacy.  The small ship, Seattle, Washington-based cruise line was founded by the late Chuck West -- a pioneer of tourism in the state known as "Mr. Alaska".

Visiting the Cruise West website, you'll find the following statement:

"For the last year, Cruise West has aggressively pursued a number of options with interested parties to maintain operations, including investment, selling assets, and selling the company.  In part because of the most recent dip in the markets and the continued lack of economic confidence, these options have not come to fruition."

The statement indicated that it has canceled all future sailings, with the exception of a Danube river voyage scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

In July, Dick West had secured a $1.5M personal bridge loan to allow operations to continue.  As reported in our blog post,  Cruise West Continues Restructuring, the company has recently sold the Spirit of Oceanus in a last effort to continue operations.    Perhaps this was too little too late.

West thanked the line's "loyal employees, many of whom have been here for decades."  "I am devastated that, though they have given abundantly of their time and energy, we will be unable to continue delivering memorable experiences," he said.

As reported previously, layoffs had already begun at the company as part of the restructuring.  Only a small handful of employees will remain to complete the shutdown.

Their Galapagos partner, Canodros, is working to provide alternative options for guests booked on the cruises that were to depart through 2011.   For other guests, the instructions are the same as we reported when the news first broke (see the actual statement for details if you are impacted).

The actual date of the cessation of operations is September 18, 2010.  This is a sad day for the cruise industry, and for small ship lovers in particular.

1 comment:

Amy said...

You remind me a lot to the Ecuador Galapagos tours I did last year. Very nice =)