The Clipper Group is getting closer to deciding on a charterer for its ships – the Clipper Discoverer and sister ship, Clipper Voyager.

The company is currently in talks with potential charterers from both the United States and Europe, Niels Jensen, director of the Clipper Group, told Cruise Industry News, adding that vessels “will be flying the U.S. flag with U.S. crew for at least the first three years.”

Jensen would not confirm a timeline, but previously said that the vessels will be fully upgraded and ready for summer 2009. Both ships were acquired from the U.S. Dept of Transportation’s Maritime Administration for $20 million.

Jensen said deployment could include the Great Lakes, U.S. East Coast, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Baltic, Middle East and Indian Ocean. “We have also received interest for the vessels to be used as hotel ships,” he noted.

The vessels, previously named Cape May Light and Cape Cod Light, are currently being upgraded in Green Cove Springs, Florida. All engines, safety systems, navigation systems, as well as galleys and air-conditioning systems will be completely overhauled, Jensen said. Both vessels will also feature a new sundeck. Clipper will spend “approximately $10 million on refurbishments” for the two ships, Jensen said.