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    What is happening with the sale?

    In another thread, in another forum, Paul Penta raised the question about the sale of Majestic America Line's boats. I guess Deb and I are overly curious and a bit self-serving at this point: what is the skuttlebut? Anything out there that anybody dares to report? And Deb and I don't want the dirty lowdown, we just want to know if we should hold out to book 2009 DQ or AQ (or for that matter CQ) reservations...

    And Please, if you want to respond to this thread, DO NOT mention any potential buyers by name, hometown, nickname or the like... But words like "progress is being made" or "financial contracts are being reviewed by lawyers" or something like that...somebody needs to throw us a bone...

    I know all of us have to pick our words carefully, especially about how us Steamboatin' Officiandos feel about past owners. This should be a SELLING exercise for us to the potential new owners, and we should check all bitchin' at the door. Quite frankly, at this stage, I don't care one iota about what Majestic did or didn't do, what they did wrong or right. To be honest there are some things that Majestic did over Delaware North that were damn nice, real nice, and Deb and I really appreciated some changes... but then again some of it was what the hey????... we have to be careful, the new potential owners NEED to know that we need the boats, that we will support the boats, that we dream about the boats, that we adore the boats, we can't live without the boats (Ok, maybe that is going a bit far, or is it?...)...Can the potential new owners see me waving our Visa card with an overextended arm? Do the potential new owners realize that most of us have our next year cruises (Yes, that IS multiple cruises, with an "s"...!) usually picked out by this time in the year, and some would have even reserved by now, gotta get the best staterooms, you know? A year or more in advance for reservations is what Deb and I typically have done every year for all our DQ/AQ trips....

    I guess the point of my thread is to find out if any progress has been made to purchase any and all of Majestic's boats (Majestic's BOATS...hee-hee-hee). I guess my friend Paul opened up a huge topic. Deb and I are sitting here with credit card in extended hand, all dressed up, and nowhere to go in 2009...My friend Paul wants to sing, to play, to open himself up to passenger abuse, (and quite frankly there are about one hundred crew that we would like the excuse to observe their performance) and we damn well want to spend our retirement dollars to do it! Abuse our buddy Paul, that is... :-)

    And then there is the issue, a huge issue, that there are a large amount of our friends, fellow passengers AND crew, that we worry that we will never see again if the DQ (or AQ, or MQ for that matter) stops movin'. I have had at least two conversations about booking the River Explorer for 2009 with a fellow river rat couple. If the Majestic boats stop, you betcha, Deb and I will become familiar with Mr. Wally real fast...I mean, what are us river rats far and wide, STEAMBOATIN' GROUPIES all, to do? And yes, we're with you, we know the River Explorer is a bazillion miles away from steam...but, if the "DQ Boats" don't run, I guess we have no choice...It ain't the steam, even though steam is awful nice....It's the RIVER, dammit...
    Last edited by Bruno Krause; 05-26-2008, 10:05 PM.

    #2
    'MAL sale/No reservations accepted for 2009.'

    Steamboating colleagues:
    Bruno, and others, have mentioned the subject of MAJESTIC AMERICAN LINE sale on another thread here today. Word was out several weeks ago but the Tuesday, May 13, 2008 TRAVEL WEEKLY NEWSLETTER [The National Newspaper of the Travel Industry] announced in a concise but sobering announcement the following:
    * * * * * * * * *

    "DESPITE NARROWING its first-quarter net loss to $12.1 million from $14.3 million year-over-year, AMBASSADORS INTERNATIONAL said it was time to let go if its U.S. coastal and river cruising business, MAJESTIC AMERICA LINE. Joe Uebberoth, chairman and CEO of AMBASSADORS, said during the company's first-quarter conference call, "...do we invest all out capital and resources on the promise of MAJESTIC AMERICA LINE, or do we invest in our businesses that are currently succeeding and appear to have more long-term growth potential?" Ueberotth said that AMBASSADORS was NOT TAKING MAJESTIC bookings for the 2009 season and was hoping to sell the line soon, citing "significant interest from numerous parties in some and/or all the assets of MAJESTIC AMERICA LINE."

    I carefully talked with a family financial advisor who pulled the above and more up and checked. The word has been circulating in money circles here for a considerable time. One factor is the company not accepting 2009 reservations with no business on the books forwarded to a potential purchaser. I don't know if this answers Bruno or Paul's question but I'm certain more know about this than has appeared here after May 13th. TRAVEL WEEKLY appears twice a weekly and an analogy could be ranked as a kind of WALL STREET JOURNAL to the travel industry. Sorry for this posting but don't kill the messgenger as in ancient times. I've had more than a few E=Mails and calls over this since May 13. I only know what I read and my finance/legal people tell me.

    Check here: travelnews@northstartravelmedia.com The site is by subscription but access may be available.

    Cheers,
    R. Dale Flick

    Comment


      #3
      Bruno,

      the official reason, given at the financial investors conference call a few weeks ago: Majestic America Line doesn't want to accept any bookings for 2009 to avoid obligations for the potential buyer who might want to offer totally different itineraties or may even operate the boats abroad.

      This makes sense to me, but at the same time I think then they have to finish the sale as soon as possible. Otherwise the new owner will not be able to run the boats next year due to a lack of bookings and marketing for the 2009 season.

      I can only imagine that there is one or more potential buyers talking to Ambassadors requiring to not take any bookings for next year (for what ever reasons we should not speculate about at this time!) and they're probably very close to having a deal already. Just speculating, though ...

      Franz

      Comment


        #4
        ABROAD? Geez, please let's not even think to go there with this conversation...Actually, when I think about it, that would work for you, wouldn't it? ;-)

        And I guess that would be kinda cool for us too, in a once in a blue moon kinda way. Absolutely ***** for all the crews though...

        And competition would be real tough, Viking and Grand Circle are tough acts to follow.

        Comment


          #5
          Hello Franz,

          This about the boats running abroad. Is that something that might actually happen? Do you mean they would run on the ocean, or on a river in France somewhere? ect. I am just curious what you mean, and could that actually happen. I don't know much about the river system in other countries but what I have seen in pictures it doesn't look like the bridges are high enough above the water to allow for a boat like the American Queen to pass under.

          Thanks for any information you can provide,
          Nick

          Comment


            #6
            Nick,

            I don't know anything more than you all do. Ambassadors just mentioned this in the conference call some weeks ago and they also did mention this when they announced that 2008 will be her last season. They didn't give any details and i think they're just open for this option, too without having any detailes offers for that. But I simply don't know.

            There are sections on rivers in Europe where she could run, but most parts of the rivers here do have small locks and/or very low bridges. So as overnight passenger vessel I don't think it's possible to run her here.

            Franz

            Comment


              #7
              South America would be the logical place. In the past 20 years many of our river towboats and thousands of our old barges have been sent to the rivers in South America and they are operating extremely successfully. I will never forget the morning I was sitting on our verandah on Holland America's ROTTERDAM while we were docked in Buenos Aries and going past us was a tow of Jeffboat built barges (you could still see the ACBL welded on the combings) being pushed by an old Island Creek 3200 hp. towboat. Why, it was just like being back on the good old Ohio.
              There are many rivers all over South America where the DQ, AQ, and MQ could run very easily and, with South America's growing economy, very sucessfully.
              But, as Dale says, What do I know?

              Comment


                #8
                RE: BOATS ON 'FOREIGN RIVERS.'
                Hi, Jim & steamboating colleagues:
                A tough call/speculation at this point on boats deployed to foreign rivers. It's been done in the past as we know from steamboat history. Bill Judd eyed some of my Panama Canal photos recently and speculated he also saw some former inland rivers towboats from here operating there. From a business point I'd have to wonder about the current logistics and high insurance rates for such a venture would be?

                In the Panama Canal recently we saw huge ocean vessels constructed to carry larger vessels and luxury yachts from the Pacific to Atlantic and then on to the Mediterranean. One of these vessels returned the ill-fated U.S. Navy COLE back to the states following the terrorist action. It was fascinating to see the life operation for a vessel that size but astromically expensive. Uncle Sam has deep pockets.

                Some years back there were some 'noises' out in California suggesting the DELTA QUEEN could be returned to the San Francisco/Sacramento River region. Again, it was pure speculation. Franz & Carmen would know in a jiffy, but I 'wonder' what government agencies similar to our Coast Guard have any authority over river vessels not only in Germany but other European rivers? Passenger vessels [Some vintage steam] operating of Russian rivers but I have no idea as to their regulations there. Some are fine boats but also totally wood for inside passenger cabins, lounges etc. Chinese vessels on the Yangste River are very modern in construction and operaton. Let's hope the DQ/AQ/MQ will remain here hopefully in operation. Well, what do I know?

                Cheers,
                R. Dale Flick

                Comment


                  #9
                  MQ

                  If you think the MQ will ever see the light of day you must be kidding the black mold is all over her .she looked like a daralic over on her wharf when we saw hwe on April the 18th. We were on the First trip of the DQ this year and the talk from persons who had been on the MQ said it would take many millions of dollars to make her ready for the River.
                  Last edited by daniel hood; 05-28-2008, 03:57 PM. Reason: pictures

                  Comment


                    #10
                    RE; STATUS OF 'MQ.'
                    Hi, Dan: Thanks for 'heads up' on the MQ. I'd heard this in the past but...well...for once kept mum. It only takes money $$$. The MQ is 'hurtful' to many of us now in 2008who witnessed the design, building, launching, first trip of her back in July, 1976 with some initial problems. Even the giant, new 'blue water' ships of today have their birth pains until all is ironed out. She received a lot of flak back then but I still always liked her. I view her now as a classic Greek tragedy.

                    Cheers,
                    R. Dale Flick

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Here´s a new press release regarding the sale

                      http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix....ar&id=1151247&

                      Not much info, just that the formal process has commenced and confidential information memorandum has been sent out to qualified interested buyers.

                      Carmen

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Carmen, thanks a lot...I saw this a little earlier, within the past few hours sent to me from a whole slew of people, passengers and crew alike, not like we're ALL craving for info at this point...What I got from this Ambassador's press release after reading it multiple times is HUH?

                        Seems like a whole bunch of gobbledegook/doublespeak to me...but then again it IS new info, weak as it is, and I did open the floodgates...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Here´s an interesting article

                          http://professionaltravelguide.com/T...px?id=TW173524

                          Carmen

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Great article, parts of it made me laugh with pride! "We have learned the hard way that our product is not about trumpeter swans or high thread counts".

                            Priceless. My day is complete. Too bad they locked the barn door after the horse bolted...But I will give them credit for admitting, though a tad late, that their 'market analysis' was such a crock...

                            Comment


                              #15
                              My take on that strangely worded statement was this, using the American Queen for instance:

                              Put the American Queen in the middle of a hopefully calm Gulf of Mexico or Lake Superior and she's just another cruise ship, matter of fact she becomes a rather poor cruise ship...
                              But, put her in the middle of an American river and now she the ability to become something very special. The boat and the surroundings have to fit, and be sold as a package, something (the river/steamboat experience) that Majestic seemed to be embarrassed about and tried to hide...

                              But I can see other 'takes' on that statement...And then again maybe I'm giving McLeod WAY too much credit for smarts...

                              Comment

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