Love Boat not finding much love anymore - Pacific (ex Pacific Princess) impounded

shamrock
18th July 2009, 14:16
Italian authorities have impounded the 1971 built Pacific, operated by Quail Cruises after non payment of $14m in debt owed by Quail to the Genoa based San Giorgio del Porto shipyard.

Pacific is the twin sister to Voyage of Discovery's ship Discovery (ex Island Princess).

fred henderson
18th July 2009, 14:45
Quail Cruises is a new Spanish operator set up by the cruise management of Pullmantur who did not want to be taken over by Royal Caribbean.

Fred (Thumb)

shamrock
18th July 2009, 14:46
Yep, they have the ex SuperStar Gemini on charter at the moment. Last year Pacific was in drydock for months with engine trouble and structural defects, which is probably where the debt stems from.

Pompeyfan
20th July 2009, 22:33
Pacific Princess was originally Sea Venture bought by P&O in 1974 when they bought Princess Cruises, and Island Princess. I was working aboard Arcadia then, and covered the purchase of these ships in my role as shipping correspondent in the crew internal newspaper Arcadus. Without looking out copies which I still have, I think Sea Venture was purchased from Flagship Cruises.

These two ships were the beginning of Princess Cruises as they now are. At the same time, Spirit of London became Sun Princess.

Ourselves and Spirit of London was based on the west coast of America, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver. We on on Arcadia were doing Caribbean cruises via the Panama, Circle Pacific Cruises, and Alaska. One Circle Pacific cruise include Glacier Bay and Anchorage before heading over to Japan. Spirit of London stayed closer to home base cruising to Alaska etc, not circling the Pacific like we did. We on Arcadia were reasonably successful because of our Circle Pacific cruises picking up passengers in Sydney etc, but we struggled to capture the American market with both ships.

Prince cruises with their one ship Island Princess had captured the American market, so P&O bought them. The company then had the foothold it needed.

The rest as they say is history, with Princess Cruises now a major force in cruising even if they are part of Carnival now who themselves began with just one ship, the Mardi Gras, ex Empress of Canada built 1961. Carnival purchased her in 1972 I think it was having made 121 Atlantic crossing until her sale in 1971, becoming Carnival's first cruise ship, and renamed Mardi Gras. During her maiden voyage, she ran aground on a sandbar outside the Port of Miami. As Empress of Canada, I think she cruised in the Caribbean during the winter.

How on earth did a massive company like P&O allow this one ship company like Carnival who bought a former trans-Atlantic liner from Canadian Pacific go on to become so massive that they bought P&O, Princess Cruises, Cunard, and other companies. Quite extraordinary.

David

fred henderson
21st July 2009, 15:10
How on earth did a massive company like P&O allow this one ship company like Carnival who bought a former trans-Atlantic liner from Canadian Pacific go on to become so massive that they bought P&O, Princess Cruises, Cunard, and other companies. Quite extraordinary.

David

The answer David is that Carnival was created by the amazing Ted Arison by concentrating entirely on providing the quality of cruise vessels and service the public wanted. He gathered around him a small, tough and dedicated team that took the appalling Empress of Canada and with great difficulty succeeded in surviving long enough to transform her into a usable cruise vessel. I have written the Carnival history in depth in http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/guides/Carnival_Corporation_History_-Part_1

P&O had been an equally successful shipping group for decades, but then it seemed to lose confidence in its basic business and diversified into dozens of different fields. Conglomerates were highly fashionable on the Stock Exchange at the time, on the basis that their spread of business areas reduced investors’ risk. Eventually it was realised that almost every year and in almost every economic situation, the conglomerates owned at least one business that was in trouble and was holding back the group. It seemed that the Main Board would concentrate on rescuing the failing business and neglect the others until they ran into trouble. P&O seemed to repeatedly reach a decision then fail to follow through.

Thanks to Arison, the Miami cruise industry took off in the early 70s and P&O sought to find US employment for its surplus and entirely unsuitable liners. P&O probably realised that its ships stood no chance against the cruise ships entering the Miami market, so it tried to develop cruising in other American areas, using its existing management that had no experience in the market and failed. P&O was a name that was unknown and unappealing, so in 1974 it bought the US West Coast operator Princess Cruise.

There had been several unsuccessful attempts to start cruise operations from the US West Coast to Mexico before the Seattle industrialist Stanley B McDonald decided to enter the trade. He chartered Canadian Pacific’s coastal steamer Princess Patricia and ran her at a profit for the winter season 1965/66. It was because of the ship’s name that McDonald called his new business Princess Cruises.

http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=153175

Princess continued to charter ships, initially from Costa, until in 1972 it had the opportunity to move up market by chartering the 1971 built Island Venture, which it renamed Island Princess. She and her sister had been built for a consortium of Norwegian shipowners, who were also finding it tough to break into the American market.

When P&O bought Princess, it also bought Island Princess from the Norwegians and it transferred its unsuccessful Spirit of London, which was refitted and renamed Sun Princess. Princess immediately flourished so P&O bought the second Norwegian sister Sea Venture, which was renamed Pacific Princess.

Having established a successful business, P&O then largely ignored it for several years and concentrated on its oil tanker and bulk shipping OPEC induced disasters. Mc Donald left in frustration in 1983.

It is perhaps significant that P&O were very reluctant to allow the “Love Boat” TV Series to be shot on board Pacific Princess as its management felt the show would be too undignified. That explains it all really.

Fred (Thumb)

Pompeyfan
21st July 2009, 22:17
Fred

Sea Venture was earmarked around the same time as Island Princess. They did not wait to see the success of Island Princess. I know that because I was closely involved with information from P&O head office via the captain and top brass visiting us, and wrote about it in the crew newspaper Arcadus. I still have those copies.

We on on Arcadia was actually pretty successful cruising from the west coast despite being a former liner, and have figures lying around somewhere to prove that. As I said in my other post, it was our Circle Pacific Cruises that made us so popular. It was Spirit of London that was struggling.

It was the arrival of the new ships that saw us move to the Australian station based in Sydney to take over from Himalaya. I know about the history of this as well because I worked at P&O head office for a month before rejoining Arcadia in Sydney in October 1974.

One fine day, I will look out all the information I had at the time direct from head officer and re-write what I wrote 35 years ago regarding the new ships, and a passenger survey of Arcadia which is lying around somewhere.

I know nothing of the Carnival history, but I do P&O in their early cruising days and end of line voyages because I was there, and wrote about it at the time.

I wish now that I had made more notes and indeed taken more pictures because I don't think any of us realized at the time that we were seeing the beginning of cruising as it is today. We still saw the ships as transport, not holiday resorts.

David

fred henderson
22nd July 2009, 19:36
David

I am sorry if my previous post was somewhat confused. When P&O bought Princess in mid 1974 (I cannot find a more precise date) the company was operating Island Princess on charter. P&O bought Island Princess in August 1974. Spirit of London became Sun Princess in October 1974. Sea Venture was bought in October 1974 for delivery in March 1975, when she became Pacific Princess.

P&O became involved in far too many activities and lost focus. Sadly most of the other activities were financial failures. Carnival is entirely focussed on the cruise industry. The effect you can see from the following figures: -

1975: P&O passenger operations: 8 ships; 10,414 berths: Carnival: 1 ship; 1,240 berths
1980: P&O passenger operations: 7 ships; 8,684 berths: Carnival: 4 ship; 4,391 berths
1985: P&O passenger operations: 7 ships; 8,212 berths: Carnival: 5 ship; 7,185 berths
1990: P&O passenger operations: 11 ships; 13,657 berths: Carnival: 12 ship; 19,226 berths
1995: P&O passenger operations: 12 ships; 14,679 berths: Carnival: 16 ship; 30,290 berths
2000: P&O passenger operations: 17 ships; 29,559 berths: Carnival: 44 ship; 71,379 berths
2005: P&O Princess passenger operations owned by Carnival: Carnival: 74 ship; 167,172 berths

Fred (Thumb)

Pompeyfan
22nd July 2009, 22:23
David

I am sorry if my previous post was somewhat confused. When P&O bought Princess in mid 1974 (I cannot find a more precise date) the company was operating Island Princess on charter. P&O bought Island Princess in August 1974. Spirit of London became Sun Princess in October 1974. Sea Venture was bought in October 1974 for delivery in March 1975, when she became Pacific Princess.

P&O became involved in far too many activities and lost focus. Sadly most of the other activities were financial failures. Carnival is entirely focussed on the cruise industry. The effect you can see from the following figures: -

1975: P&O passenger operations: 8 ships; 10,414 berths: Carnival: 1 ship; 1,240 berths
1980: P&O passenger operations: 7 ships; 8,684 berths: Carnival: 4 ship; 4,391 berths
1985: P&O passenger operations: 7 ships; 8,212 berths: Carnival: 5 ship; 7,185 berths
1990: P&O passenger operations: 11 ships; 13,657 berths: Carnival: 12 ship; 19,226 berths
1995: P&O passenger operations: 12 ships; 14,679 berths: Carnival: 16 ship; 30,290 berths
2000: P&O passenger operations: 17 ships; 29,559 berths: Carnival: 44 ship; 71,379 berths
2005: P&O Princess passenger operations owned by Carnival: Carnival: 74 ship; 167,172 berths

Fred (Thumb)

Fred

Like I say, I will look out the material I had when all the above happened, and make it into an article. We were actually in Bermuda at one stage with Sea Venture. I think there is a picture in my gallery.

When Spirit of London came out, a lot of Canberra crew transferred to her.

David