After repeated statements from Club Med that it was looking to rid itself of its loss-making cruise ships, and reports of a pending sale to Carnival Corporation, Club Med I has been sold to Windstar Cruises, a member of the Carnival family.
The 14,745-ton, 386-passenger Club Med I, which was built in 1990 for a reponed $100 million, was sold for $45 million, for an estimated per berth price of $166,580, compared to the estimated building price of $259,067.
Windstar will take delivery in spring of 1998 and said that the sail-assisted vessel will undergo extensive remodeling to fit the Windstar concept. Passenger capacity will be reduced to 312.
The ship will be renamed and will launch service from Nice for the 1998 summer season before repositioning to Barbados for the winter.
The Mediterranean program allows Windstar to position 148-passenger the Wind Star and Wind Spirit in the Greek Isles and the Wind Song along the Italian coast.
All four ships will sail in the Canbbean and Central America during the winter seasons. Windstar recently gave up on its South Pacific program.
The acquisition will boost Windstar's fleet from 444 berths to 756 and nearly double the line's passenger capacity.
In addition, negotiations are said to be underway for Windstar to also acquire the sister ship, the Club Med II, which was built in 1993. That ship is presently sailing in French Polynesia, but will be transferred to cover Club Med's itineraries in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
The Club Med I sails out of Martinique during the winter months, but there is no word on whether Windstar intends to tap into Club Med's French source market.
Club Med I was jointly owned by Club Med and Services et Transports, which also own the Club Med II.