“The end of an era”: Pandaw ceases river cruise operations
credit: pandaw.com

“The end of an era”: Pandaw ceases river cruise operations

TORONTO — Pandaw, which has been operating small ship river cruises in Asia for over 25 years, has folded due to the many challenges of the global pandemic.

Citing the closure of its destinations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and India, as well as the critical political situation in Myanmar, the company says that it has “no alternative but to cease its river cruise operations due to the lack of financial liquidity and failure to find additional funding in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Passengers or their travel agents will be contacted in due course by the appointed company liquidator.

In an official statement, Pandaw says that while forward bookings for a restart in 2022 remained strong, it lacks the funding to continue layup operations of its 17 ships for another year and then undergo essential refurbishment to prepare for renewed operations.

“The company has worked tirelessly over the past year to find new investors or other forms of finance to carry the company through, but without success,” reads the statement.

Pandaw founder Paul Strachan adds: “This is a very sad moment for me, my family, our crews and clients. It marks the end of an era for all of us after 25 years of real adventure. We are truly sorry to disappoint our regular passengers who were so looking forward to making a trip after the lifting of travel restrictions. We are also heartbroken for our 300+ crew members and shoreside personnel who have stood by Pandaw and were hoping to get going again next year.”

Pandaw was founded in 1995 and is considered a pioneer of river expeditions in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and India with its boutique ships. Up until the start of COVID-19, the company was seeing high occupancy and year-on-year growing revenues, with positive financial results.

Despite the closure of Pandaw Cruises, the Pandaw Charity, which has supported the people of Myanmar throughout the country’s ongoing crisis, will continue its work under the guidance of its trustees.