LOS ANGELES -- Princess Cruises sold the Island Princess, one of
the original Love Boats, to Seoul, Korea-based Hyundai Merchant
Terms were not disclosed. The 640-passenger ship will leave the
Princess fleet next month.
Hyundai, a new operator in the Asian market, earlier tried
unsuccessfully to start up a cruise line, with Miami-based Carnival
Corp. as a partner.
Passengers booked on the Island Princess' Europe, Mediterranean
and Holy Land itineraries after April will be accommodated on its
sister ship, the Pacific Princess, which operates the same schedule
with departures two days later.
Rick James, Princess' senior vice president of customer service
and sales, said he hoped there would be no cancellations but that,
in any case, no travel agent would suffer as a result of the
dislocation. "If there are hotel bookings lost, we will compensate
agents," James said.
Bookings for the Island Princess' itineraries were not near full
capacity. "We can accommodate virtually everybody on the Pacific
Princess with just the two-day delay," he said.
James said parting with the Island Princess was an emotional
issue. "This was a tough decision," he said. "Island Princess has
been a pathfinder for the line and is much beloved by passengers.
In the last few years, though, we have retired several smaller and
older ships as part of a fleet modernization and expansion
Gone from the fleet since the early 1990s are the original Dawn,
Sun and Sea Princesses, all replaced by new, much larger ships of
the same name, as well as the Fair and Star Princesses, which also
have been supplanted by new vessels with different names.
A piece of the line's history will disappear with the Island
First ordered by Venture Cruises (as the Island Venture) from
the Rheinstahl Shipyard in Emden, Germany, in 1971, it was
chartered instead by Princess, then owned by the founder of the
line, Seattle entrepreneur Stanley McDonald, before construction
Princess was bought shortly thereafter by its present owners
P&O, of London, which bought the ship outright. The Island
Princess was one of two ships -- the other being the Pacific
Princess -- used for location shooting of the hugely successful
"Love Boat" television series in 1977 and for a decade
Over the years, it pioneered new destination markets for
Princess -- the Mediterranean and Asia, for example -- and built up
its own, loyal following. The ship underwent major refurbishing in
1985 and again in 1993.
James said the Pacific Princess, which is now the line's sole
remaining small ship, is committed to the Bermuda market in the
off-season for three years starting in 2000, and it will fulfill
that obligation in addition to its European and Mediterranean