Hebridean International Cruises will revert back to being called Hebridean Island Cruises under new owner All Leisure Group but otherwise everything stays the same.
All Leisure Group chairman said Roger Allard said the company’s one ship, the 49-passenger Hebridean Princess, will continue to target the luxury all-inclusive market, brochures and itineraries will not change and the crew, officers and captain are being retained.
Mike Deegan stays as managing director and sales, marketing and reservations will continue out of Hebridean’s offices in Skipton, North Yorkshire. A total 12 staff are being retained.
All Leisure Group acquired Hebridean for £1.4 million on Wednesday April 22, just two weeks after the company went into administration.
It is the second cruiseline to be rescued by All Leisure, which bought Swan Hellenic from Lord Sterling after he “saved” it from closure by Carnival. All Leisure also owns Voyages of Discovery.
Lord Sterling, All Leisure Group’s second biggest shareholder, becomes chairman of Hebridean. He is already chairman of Swan Hellenic. Allard said: “After his years with P&O, Lord Sterling is the best man to represent cruising.” He was P&O chairman for 22 years.
Swan Hellenic managing director Colin Stone said All Leisure Group had its eye on Hebridean International Cruises for some time, but did not make a bid because of the loss-making 98-passenger Hebridean Spirit.
He said: “Hebridean Princess is profitable but Spirit was a drain on its profits. But things changed when Hebridean sold Spirit. The administrators being called in for Hebridean Princess hastened our decision.”
Hebridean sold Spirit in March, saying it could not make money because of poor exchange rates. Spirit sailed overseas – which prompted the change of name to Hebridean International Cruises in May 2006. Hebridean Princess sails the Highland and Islands of Scotland.
Allard said all passengers booked to travel with Hebridean will be contacted and advised of the changes.
Those booked to cruise on Hebridean Princess will have to reclaim their money by credit card and rebook their cruise with the new owners. Allard confirmed prices are not changing.
Passengers booked to go on Spirit can simply transfer their booking to Swan Hellenic under a deed of assignment because there is a flight involved. They will be refunded if the cost of the new cruise is less, but will have to pay more if the cost is higher.
Allard confirmed he was in the market for other cruise acquisitions. “If it is the right deal at the right time we will do it.”
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