Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has cancelled three sailings on Braemar, and also rescheduled four others. Instead, it is chartering its 929-passenger ship to LOCOG, the official Olympics organization, which plans to use it to house and feed 900 workers for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
From July 12 to Aug. 15, the ship will be docked at either Royal Albert or King George V docks in East London, the hub for the Olympic events.
According to CruiseCritic.com, Fred. Olsen would not disclose the total number of passengers affected or the price paid by LOCOG for the charter.
A line spokeswoman told CruiseCritic.com in a statement: “It is always a very difficult decision to rearrange guests' cruises when we have taken bookings; however, we have deliberated very carefully before making this decision.”
Guests who were booked on affected cruises are being offered an alternative cruise and an unspecified goodwill gesture, or they may request a full refund.
Despite the unhappiness of some booked guests who took to the CruiseCritic.com site to express their displeasure, it's actually not uncommon for lines to cancel voyages for more lucrative full-ship charters. But the action is rarely popular with guests, as might be expected.
At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, 10 cruise ships from multiple lines were used as floating hotels. Cruises that have been affected for this Olympics action are, according to CruiseCritic.com, are:
M1215, an eight-night Norwegian fjords cruise set to depart June 28, is cancelled and has been replaced with M1216A to Spitsbergen, departing June 27.
M1216, a 15-night Spitsbergen cruise that was due to depart Dover July 5 has also been replaced with M1216A to Spitsbergen, departing June 27.
M1217, a 15-night western Mediterranean cruise due to depart July 20, is cancelled.
M1218, a 14-night Baltic and St. Petersburg cruise, originally departing Aug. 4, is now renamed M1218A and will sail on Aug. 15.
M1219, a three-night Holland/Belgium mini cruise, scheduled for Aug. 18, is cancelled.
M1220, a nine-night Norwegian fjords cruise, scheduled to depart Aug.21, is now operating on Aug. 29.
M1221, an eight-night Portugal and Spain cruise, originally scheduled for Aug.30, is cancelled.
Fred.Olsen agency bookings from the United States are typically handled by Borton Overseas (www.bortonoverseas.com).