After being impounded in France over unpaid debts, the MV Athena will not be in service this summer. The six thousand passengers that have already booked a trip on the cruise ship in Australia will be forced to cruise on another vessel.
According to The Australian, German ship MS Delphin [seen in thumb image] has been chartered to replace the Athena, which was due to operate seven cruises out of Fremantle and four out of Adelaide over the coming months.
Three of Classic International Cruises’ (CIC) ships have been deserted overseas following issues with unpaid debts and disputed crew wages. Portugal’s Montepio Bank is still in negotiations with the company.
As the Delphin has 30 less cabins than the 640-passenger Athena, the company will operate an extra three cruises to accommodate those who can't fit on the cruise they have booked. CIC Australia has reportedly been searching for a comparable ship to replace the Athena for some time. They had to factor in availability, condition, and guest accommodation.
The Delphin usually operates in Europe and was only available because it is winter in the northern hemisphere and less people are cruising there because of the economic downturn. It is newer than the Athena, but has a similar gross tonnage, a greater space per passenger ratio and has the same Berlitz star rating.
The company is willing to work with customers who do not want to travel on the new ship on a case by case basis.
The Athena has been operating for nine years and has a strong repeat passenger rate.