Orient Lines Delays Cruises

The line postpones April launch of new itineraries

By: By Marilyn Green

Orient Line's Marco Polo // (c) 2008 M
Marco Polo

The revived Orient Lines has announced that, due to the current world economic climate, it will delay the launch of its cruises scheduled to start in April 2009. Orlando-based president and CEO Wayne Heller said all guests who have booked cruises with Orient will be given a full and prompt refund and, if requested, the company will assist them in making alternate cruise vacation arrangements.

Earlier this year, Heller had announced a brand relaunch after buying the Orient entity (including its records) and planned to offer an April 15 maiden voyage from Barcelona with the Marco Polo II, an upscale version of the original Marco Polo. The ship is currently operated by Phoenix Reisen in the German market as the Maxim Gorky.

The refurbishment of the Marco Polo II was scheduled to start in December, and reservations opened in early September.

Heller stated, “Even though the launch of Orient Lines is delayed, we are exploring possible options to relaunch our cruise program at a more favorable time in the near future.”

In related news, Orient recently laid off 10 staff members, including cruise veteran and executive vice president Bruce Nierenberg.