In an interview with TTG Media at the launch of the Fred Olsen Worldwide Cruises 2018/19, Managing Director of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Mike Rodwell admitted that they had looked at the possibility of purchasing Minerva after the collapse of Swan Hellenic’s then parent group, All Leisure Group in January. However they rejected the chance to buy as it wasn’t suitable.
Mike Rodwell said:
“We took a look at [Minerva] and a lot of other people took a look at it as well, but we decided it wasn’t for us for various reasons. We decided not to pursue on this occasion… it was an opportunity we looked at and if other opportunities come up in the future we’ll look at those as well.”
With Fred Olsen Cruise Lines priding themselves on having a fleet of smaller ships which can reach destinations and ports that the larger cruise ships can’t, the chance for them to inspect Minerva may have proven too good to pass up.
With the collapse of All Leisure Group, Fred Olsen and other cruise lines have reached out to those who were affected by the collapse and to offer them the chance to sail with them with promotions used to soften the blow of missing out on their original itineraries.
“Like a number of ex-UK cruise lines that specialise in small ships, we’ve benefitted from the unfortunate demise of All Leisure. That’s not how we like to pick up business but we’re very grateful for it when it comes,” Mike Rodwell further commented.
However, Fred Olsen are now concentrating on their 2018/19 itineraries and indeed their fly cruise programme, a programme in which Mike Rodwell admitted they had ‘neglected over recent years’ and now they are ‘very well placed’ to fill the gap in the market after the demise of the All Leisure Group.
Meanwhile Minerva is still in limbo as regards to what her future holds. Her Voyages of Discovery compatriot, Voyager, is in (pardon the pun) the same boat whereby an uncertain future awaits. No doubt they will be an attractive proposition to cruise lines looking for a smaller ship with expeditionary purposes.