Could it really be a Valentine’s Day massacre for last of the Love Boats?

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Sad to report, on St Valentine’s Day of all days, but the last of the Love Boats may soon be no more. Discovery, the former Island Princess, could be following sister ship Pacific Princess to a scrapyard grave.
The vessel is owned by All Leisure – the business that has Voyages of Discovery, Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Island Cruises under its umbrella.
Facing losses of £14 million for the first three quarters of 2013, the company has announced it is putting Discovery up for sale.
Since spring last year, the much-loved ship has been operated in a joint venture with Cruise & Maritime Voyages, in a complicated joint venture contract which lasts until the end of 2014.
Ian Smith, All Leisure Group’s chief executive, said: “We have surplus capacity and we will therefore sell mv Discovery at the end of summer. We will, of course, fully honour our current season commitment to CMV.”
Chris Coates, commercial director of CMV – which also operates Marco Polo, mv Astor, and the Vienna I river ship – said: “Having contributed the vast majority of business for Discovery, we are pleased with the results we have achieved from our side.” He said the ship’s 2014 programme, which will carry 20,000 passengers and is already 70 per cent sold out, will continue as planned.
However, his statement about future prospects gave no guarantee that Discovery would be cruising beyond the end of this year. He added: “We look forward to working with All Leisure Holidays, our joint venture partners during the 2014 season, and will shortly be releasing full details of our 2015 programme.”

A top level source at Allied Leisure told me: “Discovery is a fine mature lady but she doesn’t fit in to our passenger requirements any more, and has got to the age that with her operational costs we cannot generate the revenue to make her profitable.”
Stricter emission control legislation being enacted internationally will also make it more difficult to operate older ships like Discovery without expensive investment.
Both Island Princess and Pacific Princess were used for location shooting of the Love Boat series, popular on TV in the 1970s and 80s. The programme was a significant factor in the growth of the cruise industry, particularly in the United States. What would Captain Stubbings say about the demise of his ships?

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:27+00:00 14 February 2014|Cruise news, Cruise ships|2 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

2 Comments

  1. Seabird 15 February 2014 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Long overdue!
    Sailed on Discovery in 2006 and she was WELL passed her sell-by date then.

  2. shipman 22 February 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    Sailed on her in April 2013, and yes I would agree well past use by date.

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