Nine weeks on the dock for fire-damaged cruise ship

The damage caused by a fire that broke out on Oceania Cruises’ Insignia will take nine weeks to repair.

On December 11th 2014, the engine room of Insignia went up in flames while the vessel was docked in St Lucia, during its ten-day voyage that departed from San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Two contractors and an Insignia crew member who had been working in the engine room died as a result of the fire. One other crew member suffered injuries and was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation, but released a day later. Fortunately, no passengers were hurt.

Subsequently, the remainder of the sailing was cancelled and those on board were evacuated and flown to Miami.

The ship has been taken out of service, with the expected nine-week repairs leading to the cancellation of a 24-day voyage which had been scheduled to depart Miami on December 17th 2014, along with the first three legs of Insignia’s Around the World in 180 Days cruise, which was scheduled to leave Miami on January 10th 2015.

A picture of the Oceania Insignia fire

Insignia’s Around the World cruise has been rescheduled to commence on March 22nd 2015 and will depart from Singapore.

Kevin Sheehan, president and chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Lines – parent company of Oceania Cruises – said: “The timing of repairs has unfortunately required the cancellation of Insignia’s holiday voyage along with the modification of the world cruise.

“We understand how disappointing this news must be to our valued guests and we extend our sincere appreciation for their cooperation and understanding.”

Passengers who have already booked to embark on the world cruise can choose to go on the new date and receive a full refund for the cancelled days, along with an additional 25 per cent of the refunded amount in the form of a future cruise credit.

Or, they can opt for a full refund and a 25 per cent future cruise credit based on the pro-rata cruise fare on the three cancelled segments.

For those who choose to continue with the cruise, Oceania will provide free business class airfare to Singapore and a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay.

Oceania ship to be out of service for nine weeks following fatal engine room fire

Oceania Cruises’ ship Insignia will be out of service for more than two months following an engine room fire which killed three workers and injured another crew member.

The line has been forced to cancel a 24-day cruise over Christmas from Miami and the first three legs of an unprecedented 180-day round the world voyage.

The world cruise, which had been due to depart from Miami on January 10, will now begin in modified form in Singapore on March 22. Fares for the cruise began at $41,999.

The fire on the ship occurred on December 11 in St Lucia while it was on a 10-day sailing from Puerto Rico. The 656 passengers on board at the time were safely evacuated from the ship and flown to Miami and the remainder of the cruise was cancelled.

Parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has now confirmed that repairs to Insignia are expected to take about nine weeks.

President and CEO Kevin Sheehan said: “The timing of repairs has unfortunately required the cancellation of Insignia’s holiday voyage along with the modification of the world cruise.

“We understand how disappointing this news must be to our valued guests and we extend our sincere appreciation for their co-operation and understanding.”

The financial impact on the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2015 is estimated to be a reduction in earnings of approximately $0.05 and $0.05 per share, net of insurance proceeds, respectively, the company said.

Norwegian Cruise Line snaps up Ocean Princess as part of fleet expansion

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has wasted no time in adding to the Oceania Cruises brand it recently acquired as part of its purchase of Prestige Cruises.

The firm has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Princes Cruises to buy Ocean Princess, a 684-passenger ship that will join the Oceania stable.

NCL will not take delivery of the vessel until March 2016, at which point it will undergo a $40 million (£25.4 million) refurbishment in Marseille before becoming the fourth ship sailing under the Oceania Cruises brand, joining Regatta, Nautica and Insignia.

The Ocean Princess is to be renamed Sirena and president and chief executive officer of NCL Kevin Sheehan said the deal ” provides measured capacity growth based on the proven platform of Oceania Cruises’ highly regarded mid-size ships”.

Customers will be able to book their place on Sirena for when it sets sail in April 2016 from March next year and NCL said the extensive refurbishment – set to take 35 days – will “elevate the ship to the Oceania Cruises’ standard of elegance”.

The firm will use the recent refurbishment of the Insignia as inspiration for the facelift and plans to incorporate Oceania’s two speciality restaurants – the Polo Grill and Toscana.

NCL has not yet released details of the routes and destinations and it has in mind for the Sirena, but with Oceania Cruises calling at over 330 points globally it is likely the ship will be well-travelled. President and chief operating officer at Oceania Cruises Kunal S Kamlani said the Sirena addition “opens up an entire array of new itinerary options”.

“The award-winning guest experience delivered on our ships, coupled with a collection of innovative itineraries that cater to new markets, will combine for an alluring siren song for both our current and future guests,” he remarked.

NCL confirmed the purchase of Prestige Cruises – the parent firm of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises – earlier this month. It is paying $3.025 billion for the company and the move means 22 ships – including the Sirena – will be under NCL’s control, with a further four due to be added over the next five years.