Hebridean Spirit ex Renaissance VI, Megastar Capricorn, Sun Viva II

clayholeblue1
22nd June 2005, 11:06
Hi hoping someone may be able to help me locate pictures of the hebridean spirit under her previous names and any other intersting information. Thank you. (Thumb)

fred henderson
27th June 2005, 21:12
In 1990 the Italian government financed the small shipyards C N Ferrari and Apuania to each build 4 cruise ships on spec to try to keep the yards alive. The Norwegian backed Yachtship Cruise Line bought them at a bargain price of $25 million. They all were operated by the newly formed Renaissance Cruises and merely given numbers instead of names. There were minor differences between the products of the 2 yards. Renaissance Six was built by Apuania in 1991 and was 4,280 tons, 90.6 metres oa, 15.3 metres beam and carried 120 passengers with a crew of 72. She spent her winters operating out of Singapore and the summer in the Mediterranean.
It soon became obvious that despite the bargain price the ships were too small to pay their way and in 1996 Renaissance ordered another eight 30,000 ton cruise ships from Chantiers de l'Atlantique at $180 million each on a long term lease purchase deal from the yard.
In July 1998 Renaissance Five and Six were sold to Metro Holdings' Sun Cruises for $15 million each and were renamed Sun Viva 1 and 2. They operated all year round from Singapore.
In Feb 2000 both were sold to Star Cruises for $16.5 million each and became the Megastar Sagittarius and Megastar Capricorn. Star rapidly sold them again in July 2000 and managed to get their $16.5 million each back. Sagittarius became the Spirit of Oceanus for Cruise West operating in the summer only from Vancouver to Alaska. Capricorn was bought by Hebridean Island Cruise and was sent to George Prior in Lowestoft / Yarmouth for rebuilding. She was renamed Hebridean Spirit and is the company's only ship. She spends her summers in Northern Europe, winters in the Indian Ocean and operates in the Mediterranean in between. I hope she survives but the company only had 3,396 passengers in 2004 compared with 5,062 in 2003.
Fred

airds
27th June 2005, 23:50
from the website (http://www.hebridean.co.uk/) She was renamed Hebridean Spirit and is the company's only ship

For your info, not quite correct - Hebridean Cruises also run the 'Hebridean Princess' - ex CaledonianMacBrayne's 'Columba' - based Oban for weekly luxury cruise March-November.

Further details from their website (http://www.hebridean.co.uk/)

flyer682
28th June 2005, 07:05
In Feb 2000 both were sold to Star Cruises for $16.5 million each and became the Megastar Sagittarius and Megastar Capricorn. Star rapidly sold them again in July 2000 and managed to get their $16.5 million each back.
Star were still operating both in October 2000, doing one-night cruises up the Malaysian coast from Singapore.
I may have a photo somewhere - will try to find it.

fred henderson
28th June 2005, 21:35
Sorry guys. All of the annual directories I have regard the Hebridean Princess as being too small to list and I missed the footnote in one of the publications which read "Also operates a 49 pax cruise vessel Hebridean Princess". Stupid of me because I know the ship and even sailed on her when she was a Columba.

The passenger figures for Hebridean are even more worrying with 2 ships to operate: -

2000: 1646
2001: 2656
2002: 3321
2003: 5062
2004: 3396

I have given the date of the Star sale contract, I am sure the delivery date was some months later.

George Prior Engineering who converted both ships has recently gone into liquidation. A victim of the end of the East Anglian deep-sea fishing industry.

Fred

bob johnston
4th May 2006, 23:42
Does anyone know how this company is going today with passenger numbers. She is a great looking ship , small but quite luxurious and has a very classical decor interior.
She has the Queen chartering her to celebrate her 80 th birthday with the family.


Bob ( Sydney )

al mac
5th May 2006, 07:27
Hi Bob

Until October last year i worked on the Princess. Pleasing to say that Pax figures were, as always, very encouraging for her, although the "Spirit"'s figures have struggled recently. However, new cruises to South Africa have rekindled fresh interest for the high percentage of repeat guests.

As you say, she is small, but very luxurious. Very well fitted out and very well looked after. I had a great time on her and great memories, one of the highlights last year when we took her up the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford - first cruise ship to do so, and also in the same cruise we took her through the Menai Strait and The Swellies (Twice, due to poor weather at the SW end of the Strait), again the first cruise ship to do so. All good fun!

Keltic Star
5th May 2006, 07:44
In 1990 the Italian government financed the small shipyards C N Ferrari and Apuania to each build 4 cruise ships on spec to try to keep the yards alive. The Norwegian backed Yachtship Cruise Line bought them at a bargain price of $25 million. They all were operated by the newly formed Renaissance Cruises and merely given numbers instead of names. There were minor differences between the products of the 2 yards. Renaissance Six was built by Apuania in 1991 and was 4,280 tons, 90.6 metres oa, 15.3 metres beam and carried 120 passengers with a crew of 72. She spent her winters operating out of Singapore and the summer in the Mediterranean.
It soon became obvious that despite the bargain price the ships were too small to pay their way and in 1996 Renaissance ordered another eight 30,000 ton cruise ships from Chantiers de l'Atlantique at $180 million each on a long term lease purchase deal from the yard.
In July 1998 Renaissance Five and Six were sold to Metro Holdings' Sun Cruises for $15 million each and were renamed Sun Viva 1 and 2. They operated all year round from Singapore.
In Feb 2000 both were sold to Star Cruises for $16.5 million each and became the Megastar Sagittarius and Megastar Capricorn. Star rapidly sold them again in July 2000 and managed to get their $16.5 million each back. Sagittarius became the Spirit of Oceanus for Cruise West operating in the summer only from Vancouver to Alaska. Capricorn was bought by Hebridean Island Cruise and was sent to George Prior in Lowestoft / Yarmouth for rebuilding. She was renamed Hebridean Spirit and is the company's only ship. She spends her summers in Northern Europe, winters in the Indian Ocean and operates in the Mediterranean in between. I hope she survives but the company only had 3,396 passengers in 2004 compared with 5,062 in 2003.
Fred


The very early days of this saga are as follows:

In 1986, a group of six fools or entrepreneurs (you decide which), including yours truly, had the bright idea that rather than copy the trend of bigger and bigger cruise ships there was a need for very personal service on small boutique cruise yachts to the Carriage Trade market. The original concept was to convert an existing ferry with a budget of six million dollars with the intention of increasing the fleet by five ships as the market developed. Various shipyards were asked to quote for the conversions and several came in within the budget.

Next was the inevitable task of finding financing for the project. Many an hour was spent on aircraft and in hotel rooms from Singapore to Vancouver to London to New York to Hamburg to…to….to…. I met gentlemen dressed in dark suits working out of the bayous in Louisiana, swarthy Corsicans in a café in Rome, two bright lad’s running the Lone Star Bank of Zurich from a telephone booth together with more respectable bankers who were happy to buy us lunch but reluctant to get into the cruise ship business. I could write a book warning of financial scams, spam mail is penny ante compared to what’s out there, but that’s another story.

Eventually, a London based merchant banking arm of a Scandinavian bank agreed to finance the project. The bank asked us to consider a shipyard in Italy who the bank had previously supported in a failed tanker construction order and needed the work. On visiting the yard, it was obvious that they would prefer to build new ships rather than carry out conversions and asked if they could quote on that basis. After a week of design meetings they quoted 55 million dollars for a new build. After I had picked myself up from under the conference table and caught my breath, I thanked them and mumbled something about “don’t call me, I’ll call you” and beat a hasty retreat to the airport.

Enroute back to Canada, on Dec. 12th, I called the bank and told them we could not afford the Italian proposal. Their reaction was – do the deal, sign anything they put in front of you. The background was that the Italian government was offering an 86% subsidy on the order to keep the yard working. The subsidy was only available until Dec 31st. First problem was to incorporate an Italian company. Not so easy as the courts had already closed for Christmas. A case of the best Grappa to a Judge in a remote hillside jurisdiction solved the dilemma. Second was to find an Italian Managing Director for the company. The Judge recommended his son in law in Milan. Deal done! A respectable office was necessary, new MD found a very expensive house in Milan, office on ground floor, his residence upstairs and an apartment for visiting owners in the basement. Never got to stay in the apartment because the MD moved his mother in law in there and we were relegated to a hotel.

On Dec 30th, well oiled on good wine, courtesy of the shipyard, I asked them to add an option for five more ships into the contract, which of course they willingly did. We signed the Contract on New Year’s Eve, 700 pages long, all in Italian, and without a lawyer from our side present. Hey, the bank told me to sign anything they put in front of us! Early the next year the government withdrew shipbuilding subsidies, but we were grandfathered.

Next followed a year of design consultations and appointment of naval architects and selection of machinery and equipment. Before the first steel was cut, along came a consortium who wished to buy the entire contract, particularly because of the options for five extra ships with the subsidy included. The figure mentioned was attractive enough and thus evolved Renaissance Cruise Line.

The $25 million price that Fred mentioned was I assume at a discounted subsidy due to non Italian crew for the first five years, but I have no confirmation of this.

No, I’m not a rich man… the wife decided I had been away too often and for too long and that a divorce would net 80%-20% in her favour. And, to think that I had just bought the Wicked Witch of the North a brand new Nissan 300ZX.