Cruise & Maritime Voyages, the British cruise line known for its fleet of classic cruise ships and laid-back, traditional cruise experience, has become the second cruise line after Pullmantur to declare bankruptcy.
The cruise line, which operates six ships, has been placed into administration in the UK, where it is based. It employs 4,000 people, but is one of the smaller, independent cruise lines, giving it few options for funding through the crisis.
While the world’s three largest cruise companies, Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean and NCL, have been able to access billions of dollars in capital to enable cash-flow through the global shutdown, CMV has had limited options.
It reportedly borrowed US $70-million from Macquarie, the Australian bank, as recently as February, but recent talks with Novalpina Capital, a private equity firm, fell apart when Barclays decided not to offer a state-backed loan to CMV.
CMV is popular with an older cruising crowd in Britain and was, until the coronavirus pandemic, on a major growth spree.
The company was due to get two Carnival Corp. ships in 2021 as P&O Australia’s Pacific Aria and Pacific Dawn were set to transfer, joining the former Carnival Cruise Line ships Magellan (which formerly sailed as Holiday) and Columbus (which sailed as Star Princess).
The cruise line’s most recent Carnival Corp addition was Holland America Line’s Statendam, which became its flagship, the Vasco de Gamma.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages was reported to be in crisis financial talks with potential buyers last week, but those negotiations fell through, forcing the line to declare bankruptcy. It’s subsidiary in Germany, TransOcean Tours, has done the same.
It is unknown what will become of her fleet of six cruise ships, but her oldest vessels, the 1948-built Astoria, 1987-built Astor and 1965-built Marco Polo are unlikely to find operational buyers in the current cruise market.
With all cruises globally suspended since March, the world’s cruise lines are looking to conserve cash-flow, shed older tonnage and focus on keeping their newbuild projects afloat.
Carnival Cruise Line has sold its two oldest cruise ships, while Holland America has sold four vessels from its fleet, and Costa Cruises has indicated it will be retiring at least five ships.
Pullmantur, which declared bankruptcy last month, is believed to be scrapping its fleet of three cruise ships.