Two New Cruise Lines for Finland?
You probably would say that the current economic environment would be one you that you would consider launching a cruise line, especially not two.However two Finnish companies appear to be launching soon, Premier Cruises. Totally unrelated to the American Cruise Line of the save name, which we have covered in ‘The Rise & Fall of: Premier Cruise Line’. They have already secured the former Andrea (top picture) of Elegant Cruises which is currently undergoing refurbishment in Croatia and will enter service in 2013 as Serenissima, and operate across Europe. I’m not one for duplicating news, so my you can find more about this new cruise line at Maritime Matters: http://maritimematters.com/2012/04/premier-cruises-to-return-1960-vintage-vessel-to-service/
Of more interest for me is that there is talk of a new Finish Cruise Line starting called F-John, a similar sounding name to former shipping giant EffJohn formed from the creation of Effoa and Johnson Line in 1989.The new line intends to buy Louis Cristal, operated by Louis Cruise Lines, for service around the Baltic. You can read more about it on Kships: http://kships.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/f-john-new-finnish-cruise-line.html
This ship has an interesting history, originally starting as the cruise ferry Sally Albatross, before a devastating fire, after being cut down to the waterline she was then rebuilt as the cruising only Sally Albatross debuting in 1992. Following a turbulent few years, a near miss sinking, a few crushed lifeboats etc… she operated for NCL as Leeward, but soon returned as Silja Opera operating in the Baltic for Silja Line. During the bankruptcy process of SeaContainers, who at the time owned Silja Line the ship was laid up in Tilbury.
Following the sinking of Louis Cruises Sea Diamond, Silja Opera was purchased as a replacement and now operates for them as Louis Cristal. For me the photos of her 1994 sinking are of interest, so I have included them below.
It will be interesting to see how these two cruise lines manage, as we have seen all too easily in our ‘The Rise & Fall of:’ series how difficult it can be for new start cruise lines, but I wish both the best of luck!