Monday, February 01, 2010

2010 Olympics cruise ship hits rough economic seas

I attended a media event hosted by Newwest Special Projects LP in the summer of 2009. The Edmonton-based travel and cruise company was introducing the Norwegian Cruise Line luxury ship Norwegian Star as the largest hotel for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.

A group of print, web and broadcast media along with travel industry types toured the ship at Pier 66 in Seattle on June 20, 2009. Representatives from Norwegian Cruise Line were also at the luncheon.

According to Newwest, the Norwegian Star was to be docked in North Vancouver from Feb. 10-March 2, 2010 and would add 10% capacity to Vancouver's downtown inventory of 12,000 rooms. I wrote about the unique accommodation for Examiner.com.

It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the floating hotel. The Vancouver Sun reports:
"A plan to berth an 1,100-room cruise ship in North Vancouver for use as a floating hotel during the Olympic Games appears to be in serious danger of sinking. Edmonton-based Newwest Special Projects - which has marketed the Norwegian Star to Games visitors for the past nine months - said in a statement over the weekend that sales have been disappointing while expenses have increased beyond expectations. It said it is negotiating with its partners to try to lower costs and keep the project alive.:

On Newwest's website for the Olympics ship, there's a lone page titled Vancouver Accommodations with this Statement from Newwest Special Projects:

"Still looking for accommodations in Vancouver during the Games? The luxurious NCL Star still has rooms on sale until February 5th. Start at USD $275 per room, per night."

It's very odd that there is no reservation or information number included with the descriptions of the various accommodations. Who you gonna call, Shipbusters? Not a good sign, indeed.

UPDATE 2/2/1010: Here's the latest as about the cruise ship debacle from CKNW/AM90.

UPDATE 2/3/2010: Newwest has updated its website with information on how to get refunds. And it looks like the Make-a-Wish Foundation kids who were to be on board will have to find other accommodations.

UPDATE: Good News for the Make-a-Wish Kids!

Norwegian Star at Pier 66, Seattle in June 2009
Photo by Sue Frause

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

RE: According to Newwest, the Norwegian Star was to be docked in North Vancouver from Feb. 10-March 22, 2010

No doubt it's just a typo, but in fact, the return date is (was) to be March 2, 2010. We're booked on that cruise to Los Angeles and are standing by to learn whether to travel to Vancouver, and should the project cancel altogether, if Newwest Special Projects is going to give us our money back.

Daniel Edward Craig said...

Hi Sue, Looks like organizers have now called the cruise ship off completely. Shame, I guess demand for accommodation isn't as strong as suspected (It certainly failed to meet expectations of hotels in January). Question is, with all hotels booked, where are they going to put these people? Maybe I should rethink renting out my Yaletown townhouse...

SUE FRAUSE said...

Oh, thanks for catching that, you're right ... March 2 (not March 22). I changed it. Good luck on getting your money refunded. I don't have high hopes about any of Newwest's plans. I wanted to take the ship up from LA to Vancouver and blog along the way. I emailed them months ago (the PR people), and never heard back. I thought that was rather odd as I mentioned it at the media event in June and they thought it was a great idea.

SUE FRAUSE said...

Daniel: I think all those people have Olympics tickets and WILL need a room at the inn; but hotels are going to slash their prices in the next ten days, so they may be in luck. I just hope they don't lose all their money that they deposited with the so-called floating hotel. What a shame. Doesn't make those Alberta boys look very good (one of them wore a gold chain).

Anonymous said...

Newwest Travel, who sold many of the Newwest Special Projects packages is trying to distance itself by stating, in a press release, that it (Travel) is not associated with Special Projects. This is absolutely false. If you look at the press releases from Special Projects and also look at the Newwest Travel information you find the following:
1. Phone numbers are the same
2. Dennis has / is President of both
3. Look at the logos. If the two companies are not associated then one should sue the other for trademark infringement.

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