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Portuscale Cruises: the cancelation of cruises in 2015 doesn’t surprises anyone…

The market is suffering and the company is paying for its mistakes


The scheduled cruises in 2015 by Portuscale Cruises will not take place. An announcement by the company that doesn’t surprise experts in the sector. The company’s project seemed difficult to reach from the beginning and the market it dove into is worn out.



On the Portuguese website of Portuscale Cruises, only the homepage with a logo and slogan can be seen - Screen Shot
On the Portuguese website of Portuscale Cruises, only the homepage with a logo and slogan can be seen - Screen Shot
Portuscale Cruises will not schedule any cruises in 2015. The company made this announcement on February 12, 2015 to its future passengers through a letter.

It explains, in Portuguese, that “Pearl Cruises - Transportes Maritimos (the parent company), owner of the Funchal ship, was not able to gather the necessary conditions to insure the operation of cruises in 2015.”

The Funchal will not leave the shore this year. Which means that the company will not be operating, since, as noted by Mer et marine, it is currently the only ship to navigate under the Portuscale Cruises banner.

In fact, the French website is no longer accessible. As for its Portuguese version, it is now restricted to just the homepage showing the company’s logo.

In the letter, it is specified that the amounts paid in advance by the clients will be “directly reimbursed.” Furthermore, it is difficult to know the number of people affected.

The management doesn’t provide more details on the reasons behind this decision. Is the boat not in shape to navigate? Are there not enough clients to render the activities profitable?

It is difficult to gather more information. Especially since the representatives of Portuscale Cruises have not responded to our email or phone solicitations.

Lack of knowledge of the sector

However, the cancelation of the itineraries scheduled in 2015 does not shock specialists in the sector. That is the case for Francois Weill, who writes for TourMaG.com.

“Everything is happening just the way I had predicted in my chronicle of January 16, 2014,” he observes.

Over one year ago, in an article titled “Cruise boats: let’s stop the therapeutic obstinacy”, he wrote:

“Rui Alegre, head of Portuscale, who took over four ships of Classic International Cruises, is a man who did most of his career in real estate.

And in real estate, restoration work applied to buildings or century-old houses, does not involve any specific problem. The situation is quite different in the maritime world: a ship has to face a growing number of international norms.”


An opinion shared by the head of a tour-operator (TO) who chartered cruises to Portuscale Cruises during the 2014 summer. “Rui Alegre is flexible, sympathetic, he’s not a bad guy. But he doesn’t know anything about the sector,” he insures.

When he collaborated with the company, he was surprised to notice that it only hired former employees of Classic International Cruises. But what particularly shocked him was the “terrifying” lack of management.

“The company’s employees had absolutely no idea what would happen the next day. Not due to their company’s hardships but to a lack of information,” continues the director.

“The market is worn out”

The letter addressed to clients announcing the cancelation of the Portuscale Cruises in 2015 - click to zoom
The letter addressed to clients announcing the cancelation of the Portuscale Cruises in 2015 - click to zoom
An issue that François Weill had also implicitly mentioned in his chronicle of January 2014: “Same goes for some names, that reappeared here and there, that made some tremble when thinking of the feathers left behind in a not so ancient past.”

Furthermore, despite important renovation efforts, the Portuscale Cruises boats are too old. Which wouldn’t even allow the company to transform into a simple charter company.

But, despite the lack of knowledge of the sector and the choices made by the company’s director, it seems that the whole cruises market of so-called “decently sized” ships is currently suffering.

Hubert Debbasch, CEO of Terre Entière, a specialized travel company, even predicts “the end of cruises on small boats. The market is nearing its end.”

He adds that, from now on, nobody invests in the construction of new boats of 400 to 500 passengers.

Large companies that offer stays on “giants of the seas” are holding the majority of clients. The remainder goes to “niche” operators, that are particularly positioned in the high-end sector.

Furthermore, “the worth of these ships isn’t seen by passengers. They are too big for someone looking for a circuit on a small ship and stays are too expensive compared to the offers of major XXL boats,” adds Hubert Debbasch.

In such a context, the Portuscale Cruises project, a company born out of the buyout of 4 ships of Classic International Cruises in 2013, only had limited chances of making it. It probably even started it out dead.

Written by Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher the 04/03/2015
Read 4262 times

Tags : cruises

Notez


1.Posté par juan A O de Artiñano le 26/04/2015 17:27 | Alerter
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Annuler
siento profundamente este fracaso que si D Q se solucione . amo los barcos clasicos y mi ilusion hera un crucero por el mediterraneo en uno de ellos. espero llegue a una solucion.

2.Posté par Mohamed HIMMI le 24/05/2015 17:04 (depuis mobile) | Alerter
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Annuler
As a tour operator who handled shore excursions for CIC in all Moroccan ports ,for more than 15 years , I am very sad for the end of the CIC ships that I all boarded in the past.I also feel sorry for the frirnds I had there , namely Sofia Fresco.

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