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Wither Cruise West?

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Spirit of Oceanus

Cruise West announced on Tuesday that it had new owners and stopped taking reservations for future cruises.   Very little information has been forthcoming, other than an assurance that several cruises scheduled for the remainder of September and early October will sail as scheduled.  65 employees have been laid off.

Cruise West’s website now carries a simple notice, shedding very little additional light on the situation:

“Cruise West, a global leader in small-ship explorations, today   announced that they continue to work towards a restructuring of the company and its operations.  The first move in this restructuring is the termination of the Spirit of Oceanus’ Voyage of the Great Explorers.   Additional assets may be sold and other steps are being pursued towards a restructure.   As part of this process, Cruise West has suspended accepting any new bookings.”

Undoubtedly, this comes as a blow to many individuals – the 65 employees who have lost their jobs, the remaining employees whose jobs may be in jeopardy, and the prospective cruisers who planned, or perhaps simply dreamt, of sailing with Cruise West in the future.

I’m not effected in any direct way by this situation, and yet I find myself saddened by it.  I read with great interest the announcement of the Voyages of the Great Explorers, wanderlust kicking in as I worked my through the extensive description.  An epic world cruise, the trip began in March of this year and was to last until February 2011, a total of 335 days.  Time and circumstances didn’t permit, but….oh, if they did!

Passengers were disembarking in St. John’s, Newfoundland earlier this week at the end of this particular leg of the journey.  For some, this was as they planned.  For those who were in port to sail on the next leg of the trip, if there were any, disappointment must be keen.  But for those who signed on for the full cruise, there must be anger, disappointment, bewilderment, and a sense of loss for an adventure only half fulfilled.

I would have loved to have been one of those intrepid few who were willing to set sail for almost a year and see the world.  I liked knowing that maybe one day I could do something similar.  It’s a shame that such a wonderful experience couldn’t be brought to a more fitting conclusion.

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