When the Pearl Mist enters service in June for Pearl Seas Cruises, it will be more than a full year after the vessel was towed from Irving Shipbuilding in Canada to Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Maryland.
For Pearl Seas CEO and shipyard owner Charles Robertson, it’s a brand and ship he was expecting to launch in 2008, before a delayed delivery, eventual rejection of the ship from the Canadian yard, and a drawn out litigation process.
That process is now history, as Robertson got his 210-passenger ship last April, and when Cruise Industry News was onboard in October, the project was just about complete.
“Now, the progress is very good,” said Robertson. “The ship is almost finished. Major work we have done includes piping, electrical, the HVAC system and structural fire protection.”
Lost in the technical details surrounding the lawsuit is the ship’s unique offering, with room for just 210 passengers, a spacious dining room, large lounges, big windows, high ceilings and spacious accommodations with verandahs.
Passengers are likewise excited, allowing Pearl Seas to cut back on marketing following strong initial bookings.
Robertson said he refunded those that had booked before the vessel issues arose, and that many had rebooked. Booked passengers and prospective guests have even visited the ship at the yard.
The cruises offered on the Pearl Mist are not cheap, and Robertson described his clients as affluent, over 55 and “not looking to impress anyone.”
Showing off the technical aspects on the Pearl Mist, Robertson pointed to an advanced state-of-the-art bridge, massive stabilizers from Rolls-Royce, and Caterpillar engines.
“For Pearl Seas the plan was always to build more ships,” he continued. “We had an option for two more on the original contract.”
As for the future, Robertson sees a continuous newbuild process for his brands.
“New ships sell better than old ships,” he noted, adding that private verandahs were hugely important.
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