Royal Olympia files for bankruptcy

Dec 22, 2003
Author: P&S

Two subsidiary companies owned by Royal Olympia Cruises (ROC) have filed for Chapter 11 with the bankruptcy court in Hawaii.

The petition for protection under US bankruptcy laws appears intended to give ROC time to restructure loans owing on the two cruise ships Olympia Voyager and Olympia Explorer, although the Greek cruise operator is reported to have claimed technical reasons for the petition.

Similar reasons were given when Olympia Explorer was due to be delivered by the German shipyard several years ago, which Blohm+Voss denied at some length. The matter was subsequently resolved and the ship entered service with ROC.

According to Lloyds Fairplay Royal Olympia Cruises says it was hit hard by difficult operating conditions including 9/11 and the SARS epidemic, but that the loans owed on the two ships are secured by mortgages guaranteed by the company.

It is believed that the filing for bankruptcy protection is aimed at preventing two German banks from seizing the vessels on account of non-payment.

Other reports filtering through the obfuscation that usually surrounds affairs of this nature suggest that winter cruises for the two ships have been cancelled. This could not be confirmed and ROCís website makes no mention of the matter.

There is no indication that other ships owned by various entities of Royal Olympia Cruises, including Olympia Countess which is presently sailing in South African waters, will be affected. However the development highlights the often-ignored advice that passengers should take sufficient insurance cover whenever payment against cruises is made.

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