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Date Published: 4 September, 2009
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Transocean Tours Files For Insolvency
Marco Polo Cruise Ship (9:50 a.m. EDT) -- German cruise operator Transocean Tours, which charters Marco Polo, filed for insolvency yesterday, September 3.

The Bremen-based company, which also charters Astor, will over the next few weeks attempt to restructure, according to reports in the German media.

The same reports say that cruises for the remainder of 2009 on both ships will be unaffected. We are waiting for official confirmation of this fact from Transocean Tours.

A spokesman for Cruise & Maritime Services International (CMS), Transocean's U.K. representative, has confirmed that British passengers are booked on Marco Polo's 32-day Treasures of the West Indies voyage, departing October 6. But this is the only voyage aimed at U.K. cruisers for the rest of the year. The remainder of Marco Polo's calendar for the year is charters for the German market and cruises on Astor are only sold in Germany.

According to media speculation, a number of factors led to the company's demise, among them hefty insurance payouts that had to be made following the cancellation of Astor's 2008/09 world cruise.

Cruise & Maritime Services International announced last month that it was setting up a new cruise operation, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, for 2010, chartering Marco Polo and a second ship, Ocean Countess, to offer ex-U.K. cruises to the Amazon, Orinoco and West Indies in winter and northern Europe and the Mediterranean in summer.

The 2010 programme has just gone on sale, with prices starting at £199 for a three-night mini cruise to Amsterdam and Antwerp. Bookings on these cruises are completely unrelated to Transocean Tours.

--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor

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