MIAMI -- Premier Cruises is in negotiations to acquire the
Edinburgh Castle, which it may operate as a second Big Road Boat
ship, according to Bruce Nierenberg, Premier's president.
The ship, which sailed on budget cruises in Europe last summer
for Scottish tour operator Direct Cruises, was taken over by the
Royal Bank of Scotland in a bankruptcy and is laid up in
Southampton, England. Nierenberg said the line is eager to acquire
the ship but added that Premier is not the only bidder.
The 1,010-passenger Edinburgh Castle was introduced in 1966 as
Costa's Eugenio C. It later operated as Costa's EugenioCosta. The
vessel was built in Monfalcone, Italy, with the Oceanic, which now
sails as Premier's Big Red Boat.
Nierenberg said the ships have comparable features. He said the
Edinburgh Castle might be used to introduce the Big Road Boat
concept in Houston.
The Big Red Boat currently sails out of Port Canaveral, Fla.,
catering to the family market that visits Orlando. It has been the
line's most successful product. The Edinburgh Castle briefly
operated out of New York last year as an overnight gaming ship for
In Europe last summer, the ship experienced engine, plumbing and
electrical problems. Nierenberg said Premier hoped to take delivery
of the Edinburgh Castle by the end of the year. The ship would
undergo a major refurbishment, he said.
Nierenberg said Premier hopes to add one or more other ships in
the coming months -- in addition to the Edinburgh Castle. This is
the second time Nierenberg has been interested in the Edinburgh
Castle. When he was president of the short-lived American Family
Cruises in 1993 he considered the vessel as a fleetmate to the
American Pioneer, which formerly sailed as the CostaRiviera.