(Updated 11:30 a.m. EST) -- Once one of the most optimistic cruise lines in terms of resuming service, West Palm Beach-based Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line seems to be more downbeat lately.
In recent weeks, the line has stopped taking reservations, removed all of its content from its corporate website, and dogged rumours that it would scrap one of its two vessels, Grand Celebration.
In a statement provided to Cruise Critic on Wednesday, Bahamas Paradise confirmed the sale of the 1987-built Grand Celebration.
"After evaluating the current climate and conducting an in-depth review of the incredibly strict protocol now being imposed on cruise operators by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we have concluded that we should start sailing again in a controlled and thoughtful manner," the company said in a statement. "To this end, we have sold Grand Celebration, and when we resume cruising, we will do so with a focus on our core two-night Grand Bahama Island micro-cation cruises onboard one ship, Grand Classica.
"The decision to focus on one ship will make it easier for us to implement all necessary safety protocols and ensure that our business is sustainable long-term, so that we can continue providing a safe and enjoyable vacation to our guests well into the future. We continue to closely monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 and remain in constant communication with the World Health Organization and the Bahamian government, in addition to the CDC."
On its website, which has changed simply from a .com address to a .net address, a statement notes the company will be accepting reservations "very soon" and advises booked guests to phone the company's 1-800 number for additional information.
A call to the company's call center was answered promptly on Tuesday, and a representative was able to confirm that Cruise Critic's own booking for next April was still valid at this time -- though the ship had switched from Grand Celebration to Grand Classica.
Vessel tracking website MarineTraffic.com shows Grand Celebration en-route to Bhavangar, India, where it will be scrapped when it arrives in early January. The vessel began life as Carnival Cruise Line's Celebration.
Prior to the pandemic, Bahamas Paradise had operated low-cost, two-night voyages aboard Grand Celebration and fleetmate Grand Classica from West Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island and Nassau. The line was also routinely involved in humanitarian aid to the Bahamas, where it helped in recovery efforts following the devastation caused by 2019's Hurricane Dorian.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic shut the cruise industry down in March, Bahamas Paradise has found itself unable to restart operations and embroiled in a dispute over wages owed to crew members who went unpaid for several months following the shutdown. In August,
in back-wages to hundreds of crewmembers.
On the Bahamas Paradise discussion page, Cruise Critic members expressed frustration with the lack of communication from the line.
"The Web site is completely gone - it comes up as "Account Suspended", writes *tidecat. "The last posts on Instagram and Facebook are for Veterans' Day." (note: the website is up, splash-screen only, as of this writing).
"Well it looks like we have our answers as to why the Grand Celebration went to Freeport," writes roeco9084. "She was sold on Nov.9th and looks like she may have been destored and stripped of her valuables for transfer to the Grand Classica."
"And BPCL adamantly denied the ship was sold for scrap," writes eroller.