Malfunction halts Statendam cruise

Posted: Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Mechanical problems forced Holland America to cancel this week's cruise of the Statendam.

The ship had a generator malfunction a few hours after leaving Vancouver on Sunday and had to be towed back to port. After a technical team assessed the problem Monday, Holland America decided it was impossible to complete the repairs in time to continue the cruise, said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Holland America Line in Seattle.

Holland America is making arrangements today for passengers to either continue their trip by air and land, or return home.

The Statendam will skip all its scheduled port calls this week, including a Wednesday visit to Juneau.

"It's a loss of revenue to the tour operators that service the ship and to our ground crew in Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau," said Linda Huston, regional manager for Holland America in Southeast Alaska.

"There's certainly other ships in port on the days that the Statendam would have been there, but certainly the volume and the revenue that those tour operators expect has been lost," she said.

On Monday night, Statendam passengers Carl Mealy of Seattle and his brother-in-law Bob Steinberg of Madison, Wis., were left wondering what to do for the rest of their vacation. The cruise was to be a family reunion with 11 other relatives.

Steinberg said movies were playing aboard the ship and people were keeping occupied, but their disappointment showed.

"It's obviously a little sullen," he said, "For some people this is a once-in-a-lifetime event that they save a long time for."

Once fixed, the Statendam will head straight to Seward in order to pick up passengers for a scheduled cruise back down through the Inside Passage next week.

The Statendam cancellation comes the same week that another Holland America ship, the Ryndam, had to cancel a sailing because of a virus.

The loss of the two Holland America port calls may be partly balanced by the addition of two Alaska cruises in late September. The popularity of Alaska cruises this year allowed Holland America to add two seven-day voyages of the Zaandam, Huston said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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