A new "upper premium" cruise line, Oceana Cruises, is being launched by former Renaissance Cruises CEO Frank Del Rio and former Crystal Cruises President Joe Watters. The new company has reached an agreement with CruiseInvest, subject to final board approval, for the long-term charter with an option to purchase for up to three R-class vessels formerly operated by Renaissance Cruises.
Del Rio and Watters will share management responsibilities, with Del Rio serving as president and CEO and Watters as chairman. The new company will be headquartered in Miami with a West Coast office run by Watters.
Morten Arntzen, CEO of American Marine Advisors (AMA) - which is brokering the R-class ships for Cruiseinvest - confirmed the deal, stating, "Oceana Cruises is a perfect fit for the R vessels. We are very impressed by Oceana Cruises' management team, business plan, and the quality of the investor group."
Oceana will reportedly charter the 684-passesnger R1 and R2 initially, followed after that by the R5. It has been reported that the company's first ship will be called the Oceana Regatta and will sail its first season in the Mediterranean beginning in May 2003.