Premier Cruise Line

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Premier Cruise Line
Former type Cruise line
Industry Transportation
Fate Bankruptcy/Liquidation
Founded 1983
Defunct 2000
Headquarters Cape Canaveral, Florida
Products Cruises

Premier Cruise Line a subsidiary of Premier Cruises, was a cruise line that was headquartered in Cape Canaveral, Florida.[1][2] It was at one time licensed as the official cruise line of Walt Disney World and used the trademark "The Big Red Boat" based on the color scheme of some of its ships.[3] Dolphin Cruise Line, a company that became a part of Premier, was headquartered on Dodge Island in Miami.[4]

Company history[edit]

A family ready to embark on a Big Red Boat

Premier Cruise Line was formed in 1983 by two cruise veterans and later bought by Dial Corporation who owned the Greyhound Bus Company. The ships typically operated 3-day and 4-day Bahamas trips out of Port Canaveral, Florida. The company earned over $20 million annually on a gross revenue of $100 million during the 1980s. The successful niche that Premier served was the Family cruise line especially attractive to grandparents sailing with their children and grandchildren. Also, all food on The Big Red Boats (1995–1997) was fresh, not frozen.

Starting in 1985, Premier partnered with Walt Disney World, providing seven-night land and sea vacations on the Big Red Boat. Premier was licensed to provide Disney characters on its ships, until the relationship ended in 1993. [5]

Premier affiliated itself with the Looney Tunes characters to maintain its family friendly image,[6] and was returned to profitability under the direction of 20-year cruise veteran Jim Naik. The company had an aging fleet of Italian-designed ships competing with newer and larger liners. Mr. Naik brought Premier to profitability in his first quarter with the company. Premier's parent company, Dial (of Dial Soap) which also owned The Greyhound Bus Company, sold the company after posting profits for 1995, 1996 and 1997. New owners and new leadership followed, with Larry Magnum as President in 1998.

The older ships were designed before the current disability acts. Much later, after 1997, Premier was sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act for not making accommodations for people with disabilities. Premier ships included the Majestic (the former Sun Princess of Princess Cruise Lines), the former Home Lines flagship Oceanic, the Atlantic (another former Home Lines ship), and the Royale, a former Costa liner known then as the Frederico C. The original four ships had the prefix "Star/Ship" before their names. During Premiers' reorganization in the mid 1990s all but the Oceanic (Big Red Boat I) were sold off. Premier then became an amalgamation of Dolphin and Seawind Cruises. Later, the Rembrandt, formerly the Rotterdam of Holland America Line was added to the line.

The Oceanic (Big Red Boat I) was still sailing until 2012 when it was sailed to Yokohama for scrapping.[7] The Big Red Boat II, formerly Eugenio Costa, was put up for sale and was laid up in Freeport, Bahamas. It had no potential buyers and remained there until 2005. It was eventually sold to the breakers and was scrapped in Alang, India in late 2005.[8] The Big Red Boat III, formerly Carnival Cruise Line's Festivale was also sold for scrap. The former Frederico C (called the Seabreeze I) was to be scrapped at India but instead sank in a storm 220 nautical miles (407 km) off the Virginia coast. Lastly, the Rembrandt, formerly the Rotterdam, was purchased by the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to be restored and kept as a historic landmark.

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