Cruise Line Out of Business

Seattle-based small ship line Cruise West says it has ceased operations.

In a statement on the line's website, officials say they "aggressively pursued" a number of options to stay in business including selling assets and selling the company, but were unable to find a way for the cruise line to survive in the current economic climate.

The line was founded more than 60 years ago by the West family and was most known for its Alaska cruises that included out-of-the-way ports.

"I am absolutely heartbroken that this family legacy has come to an end," says Dick West, Cruise West's Chairman and Managing Director.

The cruise line also offered sailings in Costa Rica, Baja, the Pacific Northwest and Europe, and canceled an in-progress world cruise earlier this month. The line's biggest ship held only 138 passengers.

Cruise West says it will still operate one cruise on the Danube on Sept. 22.

Passengers on all future cruises were being notified of the company's demise. They were advised to apply for refunds from their travel insurance companies, credit card companies or under surety bonds the company was required to post to do business at U.S. ports.

Meanwhile, there were reports of travel agents and local Alaska companies being owed tens of thousands of dollars by Cruise West and concerns the closure may have a ripple effect.

"In our small community, there are tour operators... and fuel providers who have been left high and dry," Marie Shipley of Rainwalker Expeditions in Wrangell, Alaska, tells The Seattle Sun Times. "After providing services for Cruise West since 1998, with Cruise West owing for this season I will likely fold completely."

Photo, Trondheim havn, flickr
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