The Blue Horizon Casino Cruise ship set sail on her maiden voyage on July 17th from its birth at the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. Less than two weeks later the company announced the ship would be heading to dry dock for needed repairs. At that time it was expected to return to Riviera Beach and resume operations by Labor Day weekend. The end of summer came and went without a public statement from PB Gaming, owners and operators of South Florida’s only legal sports book.
A local television station looked into the matter and reported on Thursday that the ship had not yet returned from repairs in Jacksonville. Port Director Manuel Almira reportedly told CBS 12 News that nothing leads him to believe the vessel won’t return to port. The outlet also learned from a cruise spokesperson that repairs were taking longer than expected.
Blue Horizon signed a five year agreement with the Port in May and pre-paid fees of about $400,000. The port has lost more than $10,000 in parking fees since the vessel left in July. Although six operators have failed to launch a successful ‘ship to nowhere’ gambling venture from the port in the past, two in the very same ship, Blue Horizon seems to be different.
PB Gaming held a note on the most recently failed venture, Island Breeze and seems to have spared no expense in making sure Blue Horizon is a successful operation. They had already planned to invest about $1 million in replacing the aging engines in the ship by next year. In July a lightning strike took out communications equipment and the cruise schedule was immediately suspended for the safety and security of customers and staff. At the time, the company decided to accelerate their repair schedule to replace the engines and do any other needed repairs rather than risk ongoing delays and inconvenience to customers.
Local media reports that the cruise ship is still taking reservations and could be on the water again in a few weeks. However the company has not been proactive in keeping its social media up to date and attempts to access the Blue Horizon website lately have been unproductive with slow loading pages and previously errors.