Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Herbridean International Cruises Announces Sale of Vessel

Hebridean International Cruises have announced that they have sold the larger of their two vessels, the 98 berth Hebridean Spirit. The vessel will be withdrawn ahead of the Summer 2009 season.

Announcing the sale, Managing Director Mike Deegan said “We have made the decision to withdraw from international operations to concentrate on our core product, which is the operation of Hebridean Princess in Scotland”. He added “For some time now we have experienced rising costs of operating Hebridean Spirit in international waters due in part to the deterioration in the £ Sterling against the US Dollar and Euro and we can not continue to absorb these increases, especially when the vessel has been operating in a very aggressive market where heavy discounting is the norm”.

The line is in course of contacting all customers booked on future programmes of the vessel to offer a full refund or a transfer to a cruise aboard Hebridean Princess, the operation of which is not affected. They have also announced a number of redundancies will result from this move,both at Head Office in North Yorkshire and amongst its sea staff.

Mr Deegan added “Clearly we have not taken this decision lightly. I am very aware that the cancellation of an eagerly anticipated holiday is very upsetting and we shall work with all affected customers. That we shall also be losing some good staff, some of whom have seen many years of service with us, is equally upsetting for us”.

Hebridean Spirit was introduced in 2001 and has provided 5 star luxury afloat whilst operating in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and South America. Sister vessel Hebridean Princess, which was chartered by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for a family holiday in 2006,will continue to offer 5 star holidays throughout the Western Isles of Scotland and is in her 21st season of operation for the Company.

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