Citing the benefit of closer-to-home destinations in the current economic climate, Star Clippers said it would deploy its three ships to the Mediterranean during the summer 2010 season.

The move means taking the Star Flyer off its year-round Tahiti itinerary.

"In this challenging economy, we thought it prudent to bring all three ships closer to where our guests reside and have them sail itineraries with proven success," Mikael Krafft, owner and president of Star Clippers, said in a statement. "While Star Flyer's Tahiti itineraries have been popular, redeploying Flyer to the Mediterranean with the other two ships ultimately will make taking a Star Clippers vacation more affordable for our guests."

The Star Flyer, which was supposed to sail in Tahiti year-round, will leave Polynesia at the end of February 2010 and will cross the Pacific to the Caribbean before positioning in Monaco, where it will sail seven-day itineraries. The vessel will also cruise from Rhodes, Greece.

Star Clippers said it has not determined where the Star Flyer will go for the winter and spring after the summer Med season.

The other ships, the Star Clipper and Royal Clipper, will continue their roundtrip summer itineraries from Civitavecchia and Venice.

A Tahitian newspaper said losing the Star Flyer would mean a loss of about 7,000 tourists, affecting the island as well as Tahitian airline Air Tahiti Nui.

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