Albatros Expeditions has been forced to cancel its first voyage aboard the brand-new Ocean Victory following unforeseen delays taking delivery of the vessel in China.
Hans Lagerweij, President and CEO of Albatros Expeditions, said the expedition cruise line was struck by “unexpected Chinese delivery bureaucracy” related to legal and registration issues, on top of a week-long national holiday in China.
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“Fortunately, Tuesday the 12th of October the ship was formally handed over to us, but then the passports of some of the crew including the captain were taken by police because they overstayed their visa,” Lagerweij explained in an email last week.
The delay will means Albatros Expeditions won’t have enough time to set up the vessel for a successful cruise departing on 17 of November. Ocean Victory’s maiden service had been earmarked as the 10-day South Shetland Islands and Antarctica Peninsula voyage from Ushuaia, Argentina.
Instead, the new Ulstein X-Bow hulled ship will debut on Albatros Expeditions’ sold-out 15-day total solar eclipse cruise on 26 November.
Those guests impacted by the 17 November cancellation have been offered numerous alternative options in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons, including a $500 towards the cost of changing airfares; the option to move to another voyage in the future with a 10% discount; or a full refund.
Ocean Victory is now en route to Manila where deck, engine, and most hotel crew will join the ship, then onto Papeete, Tahiti where expedition staff will board the vessel, which then proceeds directly to Ushuaia.
SunStone Ships – the company which owns the vessel and has leased it to Albatros Expeditions on a long-term arrangement – took delivery of the Infinity class vessel from China Merchants Heavy Industry last week.
Following its Antarctic deployment with Albatros Expeditions, the vessel will switch operation to American Queen Voyages for the summer season and cruise a series of Alaskan voyages.