The 830-passenger Crown Majesty is slated to launch weekly service from Boston to Bermuda May October 1994. The 25,000-ton ship is the Sally Albatross built in 1991.
The Crown Majesty will be acquired from Sally Line, a subsidiary of EffJohn International, by Cruise Investors, and will be operated by Majesty Cruise Line, which in turn will charter the ship to Boston Bermuda Ltd. for the summer seasons.
Boston-Bermuda Ltd. is a joint venture between Thomas Cook Travel and General Ship Cruising, a subsidiary of General Ship Acquisition Corporation.
While negotiations are still underway, Thomas Cook is expected to manage the marketing, while Majesty will operate the ship and provide sales and reservations services.
The Sally Albatross, which was built by Finnyards, is surprisingly sleek for a Baltic cruise vessel. She has 10 passenger decks and 550 staterooms with a maximum passenger capacity of 1,400. There are seven stateroom categories ranging in size from 80 square feet to 400 square feet.
Features that were highlighted when the Sally Albatross was introduced in the Baltic include a dining room located aft and a two-level buffet restaurant as well as a two-level show lounge accommodating up to 600 people. A retractable glass dome covers the pool deck. There are also conference facilities.
Boston, which has been vying for homeport status for a long time, will for the first time have a ship operating weekly cruises from its Black Falcon terminal on a regular basis.
Twenty-five percent of the visitors to Bermuda are said to originate in New England.
Thomas Cook, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a travel agency network with more than 350 agencies nationwide.
Set in 1990, Bermuda's cruise policy has been to restrict ship calls in order to protect the island's tourism infrastructure. Only three cruise lines were awarded permits to call on a weekly basis: Celebrity Cruises, with two ships; Norwegian Cruise Line, with one ship; and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, with one ship. However, under pressure from local merchants, Bermuda has allowed NCL and RCCL to bring in larger ships than those originally designated for Bermuda service.
The policy also allowed one additional ship in 1994 and 1996 with Celebrity Cruises holding right of first refusal on all options to add ships in Bermuda. Celebrity Chairman, John Chandris, however, said this past spring that Celebrity would only consider bringing another ship to Bermuda at the earliest in 1996.
Gary Phillips, Director of the Bermuda Department of Tourism, said previously that the department was discussing the option with other lines which bad expressed an interest in 1994. Specifications then included that the ship must be dedicated to St. George's only. Phillips said that Hamilton was overtaxed.
Apparently, Celebrity, NCL and RCCL also agreed to the Crown Majesty calling in Bermuda on the basis that the ship will not be marketed in the tri-state New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area, but instead seek to expand the market in New England.
The 1993 Bermuda capacity by Celebrity, NCL and RCCL is approximately 138,000 passengers. Another 7,000 passangers are expected by ships making occasional in Bermuda. The Crown Majesty would boost the 1994 capacity by another 17,000 passengers.
Majesty Cruise Line said it will operate the Crown Majesty in the southern Caribbean during the winter seasons.