August 3, 2014 5:18 pm

River Rouge cruise stuck in Selkirk

The M.S. River Rouge will stay docked in Selkirk for another day after low attendance Sunday

Ashley Carter/Global News

WINNIPEG – A historical Winnipeg cruise ship could close its business after another difficult season.

On Saturday the M.S. River Rouge cruise line made its season debut, three months late, but one day later they had to cancel tours.

“On a day like today we should have a line up by now of like 150-200 people, it’s a huge loss to have a ship operational and no people,” said Kyriakos Vogiatzakis, owner of the M.S. River Rouge.

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The M.S. River Rouge, which calls Winnipeg home, has been stuck in Selkirk after docking there over the winter and it can’t get back yet because the water in the canal is too low.

“Currently we can cross through the locks but once we do on the other side of the channel there is simply not enough water that connects us to the main body of water and until they close the curtains of the dam the water will not back up giving us the water we need,” said Vogiatzakis.

That’s majorly hurting the small business which relies on Winnipeg customers when they used to dock in Winnipeg.

“We have to really want to go [on the tour] to drive all the way and then be told no there’s not enough people,” said Yvette Bonnefoy who drove from Winnipeg for the tour with her family.

“It’s a nice thing to do on a Sunday afternoon, couple hour cruise, why not, it would be a fun thing to do but doesn’t look like it’s going to happen and that’s too bad,” said Rick Bonnefoy who’s visiting from Saskatchewan.

But the sinking business can’t stay afloat.

“Since owning the vessel I’ve lost over $1.2 million in chartered booking costs and when you look at public bookings this year alone we’ve lost $600,000 in sales not being able to operate,” said Vogiatzakis.

Vogiatzakis says this year has been the toughest one yet after the business has been flooded out seven out of the past eight years.

“It might be the end, it’s at a point now where how much can one person put into one business experiencing losses year after year after year,” said Vogiatzakis.

Vogiatzakis says the water in the canal is expected to rise in the next couple of weeks, leaving the cruise line less than two months of business before closing at the end of September.

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