Victory cruise to Cuba from Canaveral?

PORT CANAVERAL When it comes to ships and cruises, “Victory” apparently is in the eyes of the beholder.

A new Miami-based cruise line, Victory Cruise Lines Ltd., headed by former Brevard County resident and cruise operator Bruce Nierenberg, is hoping to start cruises to Cuba. Its maiden voyage to the communist island nation, according to media reports, would be from Port Canaveral in late October.

But the name of the company and its ship is hitting choppy waters with the Port Canaveral-based Victory Casino Cruises.

“I’m not OK with it,” Lester Bullock, chief executive officer of Victory Casino Cruises, told FLORIDA TODAY on Friday.  “I’m been answering a lot of phone calls about this It’s causing a lot of confusion.”

According to a report in the  Sun Sentinel, which quoted Nierenberg, Victory Cruise Lines will begin sailing from Montreal to Chicago on the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes on the 202-passenger Victory 1 ship. The company plans it’s first trip to Cuba, a seven-day excursion, on Oct. 28, from Port Canaveral, the Sun Sentinel reported. After that it would be a series of cruises from Miami to Cuba.

The Victory 1 was formerly a Saint Laurent ship that had been operated by a cruise operator called Haimark Line.

Bullock’s ship based at Port Canaveral also is called the “Victory 1.” It offers twice-daily gambling excursions in international waters.

Bullock said his lawyer will be contacting Nierenberg about the company’s and ship’s name and the confusion it’s causing.

Nierenberg is a well-known figure in Brevard. He and partner Bjornar K. Hermansen started Premier Cruise Lines the early 1980s until it stopped operating in September 2000. Many credit Nierenberg and the late Hermansen with launching the vastly successful cruise business out of Port Canaveral, which now boasts ships by Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Nierenberg also built the mansion and estate  at 700 Jordan Blass Dr., which is now owned by John Walden, next to Suntree Elementary School off Wickham Road.

Wayne T. Price, Florida Today

June 10, 2016

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