According to multiple news outlets, Fred. Olsen's cruise ship, Black Prince, is being sold off by its owning company Black Prince Cruise Ltd. It will leave the fleet in October. The buyer of the 451-passenger ship, which entered service for Fred. Olsen in 1966, is Servicios Acuaticos de Venezuela CA (SAVECA), a company primarily known to acquire older ships and recondition them for future use. The early word is that Black Prince will resume as a cruise ship sailing in Venezuela waters.
According to cruise site Cruise Critic, Fred. Olsen decided to retire Black Prince instead of refurbishing it with expensive upgrades so it would conform to new International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea regulations. SAVECA will be allowed to operate the ship for shorter cruises along the coast where regulations are different.
Beginning in September 2009, Black Prince will sail a series of farewell cruises, including a final 14-night Canary Islands cruise, roundtrip from Southampton. We hear The Merseybeats, a rock group from the 60's Liverpool music era, will perform on a September 9 departure.
Once Black Prince leaves the Fred. Olsen fleet, the line will be left with four ships: Balmoral, Braemar, Black Witch and Boudicca.