Great American On the Ropes?

The Columbian, a newspaper in Vancouver, WA, is reporting that Donald J. Simplot's recent Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing may force Great American River Cruises to cancel its second season of Pacific Northwest voyages that start in Vancouver and travel the Columbia River. Simplot is a partner in the Seattle-based cruise line that has already cancelled its February itineraries and may have to cancel March's schedule because of an inability to secure financing. Great American River Journeys chairman Doug Toms reportedly told the Columbian that Simplot anchored the company's credit line and that, as a result of his bankruptcy, the line was in a financial quandary. Simplot filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization recently in a legal maneuver designed to stop action on lawsuits involving failed business investments, including Great American River Journeys and Glacier Bay Cruiseline, a sister line that filed for bankruptcy last fall. Great American has apparently laid off approximately 20 employees as it seeks new investors. The ship remains at its winter dock in Troutdale, OR. While the line's reservations line says the group is on holiday vacation and will return Jan. 3, the phones are now being answered. In addition, agents are reporting that commissions are not being paid.