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It’s beginning to look like Saga’s deal to buy the cruise ship Astoria, which they planned to put into service as Saga Pearl II, is floundering in muddy waters.
Club Cruise, the company which currently operates the ship, went into administration in December, and there is now uncertainty over when the ship can be delivered to Saga or indeed if it can be delivered at all.
Saga Pearl II was intended to replace Saga Rose, which will be retired in October because she will not meet new regulations for safety standards due to come into force next year.
Itineraries had been set, brochures had been printed, and the new vessel featured on Saga’s website, at least until yesterday.
A spokesman for Saga told me today: “Due to the legal process that the ship has been caught up in, we cannot guarantee that we can complete the purchase of the ship and perform our planned refit at any time in the near future.
“To be able to provide passengers with some degree of certainty, we have taken the very difficult decision to cancel the advertised cruises for 2009/10 on the Saga Pearl II.
“We are making every effort to secure the ship that was to become Saga Pearl II, in the hope that we will be able to start cruising her in spring 2010.
“As this cannot be guaranteed, we are also looking at the prospect of securing other suitable tonnage with the objective of ensuring a replacement for the Saga Rose.