Birka Cruises calls it a day – P&O sells ‘Oceana’

2020-07-13T10:45:00+00:00 July 13th, 2020|Finance|

Eckero Line’s subsidiary, Birka Cruises has announced it is to cease operations.

This decision was due to the financial pressure caused by not being able to operate its short cruises during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’s track … has hit us hard,” the line said in a statement posted on its website. “The uncertainty about how travel will develop has also contributed to our having to make this decision after evaluating all possible alternatives.”

Birka Cruises offered two- to four-night Baltic cruises out of Stockholm, Sweden, as well as day trips around the Stockholm archipelago.

The line operated only one ship, the 1,430-pax ‘Birka Stockholm’. The vessel is believed to be up for sale.

This news comes just a couple of weeks after RCL’s 49% owned Spanish-based cruise line Pullmantur Cruises declared insolvency and filed for re-organisation under Spanish insolvency laws.  

Reports are circulating that all three of Pullmantur’s ships are being offered for scrap.

Elsewhere, P&O Cruises has sold the ‘Oceana’. Although declining to reveal the identity of the buyers, they are believed to be Greek.

The 2000-built 2,016 pax ship was believed to be the first  modern cruise ship sold, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

P&O Cruises President, Paul Ludlow, said: “Whilst we and many of our guests will miss ‘Oceana’, her departure will allow us to focus on our remaining ships in the fleet, as capacity expands with the delivery of ‘Iona’ later this year followed by her sister ship, scheduled for 2022.

“During this pause in our operations, we need to fit the fleet for the future and ensure we have the right mix of ships once we resume sailing. I am so sorry to disappoint those guests who were booked on ‘Oceana’ but I hope they will be able to find a similar alternative holiday, whether that is ex UK from Southampton or a fly/cruise itinerary,” he said.