Catalina Cruises, which has served Catalina Island for 27 years, abruptly stopped service to Avalon last week. It was continuing to run whale-watching cruises and charters and to serve campgrounds elsewhere on the island. Three other companies still provide service to Avalon.
Catalina Cruises President Bruce Voss said the company had trouble filling the 450 seats on its year-old, high-speed Catalina Jet catamaran--the biggest serving the island--in the off-season. "After Labor Day, ridership drops like a stone," he said. The firm also laid off 35 workers last week. (An earlier company news release had implied that mechanical problems were behind the service cancellation, but Voss said the catamaran is mechanically sound.) Voss said the company is solvent and will refund unused boat tickets. It plans to continue to run its two slower, single-hulled vessels out of Long Beach to other Catalina sites, he added.