Conroy: Low volume forced ship's pullout

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- It's an unusual move for a cruise line to pull a ship from service for an entire season.

However, it happened at Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, which said low volume prompted it to cancel its winter South America sailings aboard its oldest ship, the Song of Flower, instead idling the ship in the Mediterranean.

Several factors contributed to the low volume, said Mark Conroy, Radisson Seven Seas president, not the least of which was that the Song of Flower, which normally sails in Asia during the winter, was a late entrant to the South America market.

"November and December cruises in South America are hard to sell," he said. "And people are counting their pennies."

Nevertheless, Seven Seas Navigator will sail a South America circumnavigation beginning Dec. 27, and Conroy said the voyage was selling well. The line was able to accommodate several Song of Flower passengers on that ship.

Idling the ship is not a loss -- at least, not financially, Conroy said.

"South America is a very expensive place to operate, [but] the ship is small and we don't have any debt on it," he said.

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