Trip follows dispute in courts, readying in Salisbury yard
Nearly eight years after it was ordered, the cruise ship Pearl Mist will embark finally on its maiden voyage Wednesday from Baltimore's Inner Harbor, ending the vessel's protracted saga.
The 335-foot cruise ship, which spent the past year being finished at a Salisbury shipyard, will depart for an 11-night "Maritime New England Cruise" that will take the 210-passenger vessel north to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it was built.
A lengthy legal dispute between the ship's buyer and its builder delayed its cruise schedule for years.
Charles Robertson, who owns Chesapeake Shipbuilding Inc. in Salisbury, established the Pearl Seas Cruises line in 2006, eyeing a growing market for smaller, more intimate ships calling on international ports. With his own shipyard running at full capacity at the time, Robertson hired Irving Shipbuilding Inc. of Halifax to build the Pearl Mist, the line's first ship, for $43.5 million.
Disputes between Pearl Seas and Irving over the construction of the vessel began just months later. Pearl Seas eventually would accuse Irving of not building the ship to specifications, question whether the ship met safety and environmental standards, and say it had failed multiple sea trials, according to court filings.