Fred. Olsen Cruise Line announced it is cancelling four winter cruises on the Bolette due to a lack of bookings.
In addition, the next cruise on the Balmoral is cancelled due to a propeller issue and the company also noted that none of these challenges are due to the resignation of Chairman Fred. Olsen Jnr., who made the decision to step down after spending 35 years in the cruise industry.
The company said it continues to be proud of its family-run business with both Fred. Olsen and Anette Olsen remaining on the board.
“We got through the pandemic which was the most difficult time for the travel industry, and cruise lines in particular. During this time, we invested in our business by buying two beautiful new ships. Like every travel company, trying to get back to normal, we are still having to navigate some choppy seas along the way,” said Peter Deer, managing director, in a prepared statement. “Our job during this is to look after our guests and crew and ensure we provide a wonderful experience. I sincerely apologies to all guests who are affected on cruises this winter. I hope you will give us the chance to put this right for you.”
In regards to the Bolette’s cancellations, the company said: “This is always a quieter period for cruising and this small number of sailings did not quite reach the guest numbers we were hoping for, especially in light of the current high fuel prices we are all facing. With most of our crew remaining onboard (and the remainder taking their planned leave), we will use this time to bring forward some routine technical work which we had planned to do in 2023 – it will also leave us with one of our ships in the north of the country and one in the south for most of the winter.”
The company said that cancelling these cruises was not an easy decision its team has been speaking with guests who are affected to help them find an alternative cruise to look forward to.
The Bolette will return on December 21 2022 for her planned Christmas cruise to Norway.
The company also made the decision to move her full winter schedule from Tilbury to Dover and Southampton, and any guests who are affected by this have been contacted over the last couple of days.
Making matters worse, the company also said it had an issue with one of the propellers on the Balmoral this week.
“These things happen of course, but the timing really couldn’t be worse,” the statement read. “As a result, she will need to go into a very short drydock in Newcastle which means we have been left with no alternative but to cancel her next cruise which was due to depart from Rosyth on Monday. We have been looking after these guests today, explaining their options. Balmoral will be sailing again from Southampton on 11th September and the rest of her schedule will remain unchanged.”