Black Diamond Casino Cruises cancels trips

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - If you plan on gambling on the Black Diamond casino cruise ship, all bets are off.

The ship, which bills itself as Florida's only full-scale non-smoking casino,  has docked and won't be sailing today or the foreseeable future.

CEO Steven Craig says operations will be shut down for the next couple of weeks, but isn't sure when they'll reopen.

He cites a lack of passengers for the company's reorganization.

Up to 80 employees are said to be losing their jobs who worked on the ship that once employed upwards of 100 people.

Chopper 5 captured video of slot machines being taken off the Black Diamond Cruise Ship.

Employees looked on, wondering what's going on, hoping for their paychecks.

They said they have been waiting for them since last Tuesday.

"How am I suppose to pay my bills," Lisa Balius, who use to be a supervisor of reservations said. "I know that none of my bill collectors want to hear I'm sorry I have to wait a week and I've been hearing that from this company."

Black Diamond Cruise's CEO Craig said they were suppose to be paid today, but said he can't.

Not only are they not being paid, they found out they're out of a job.

"No one will be working and nobody will be getting on the ship for a couple of weeks," Craig said.

"Have you told them this," NewsChannel 5's Ryan Calhoun asked the CEO.

"I was going to but it sort of happened as a surprise to me but..." Craig responded.

"What are you going to tell them," NewsChannel 5's Ryan Calhoun asked.

"I know they're unhappy and I'm going to tell them we are shutting down and if we start back up we will call some of them to come back," Craig said.

While NewsChannel 5 was at the Port of Palm Beach, where the ship is docked, Craig never came out to tell them employees about the company shutting down or about their paychecks.

Instead, NewsChannel 5 had to.

"Well that's nice they owe me over 200 hours so," Beverly Calhoun, who worked on the ship said.

"I just don't understand why we gave so much to this company and they have so little to give back to us they don't even want to be honest and tell us what's going on," Balius said.

As word spread, reality set in and tears started to stream from the eyes of employees.

"It's heartbreaking because there's a lot of good people working for this company and we gave our heart and souls," Balius said.

No paycheck and no job is especially bad for Balius right now who is trying to get married.

"I'm getting married in two months," she said. "I have a wedding to plan. I guess I'm not going to be having a wedding."

Craig says he hopes to pay the employees tomorrow, and also plans to reimburse passengers who paid for reservations.

The Port of Palm Beach said guests with reservations can contact Black Diamond directly at 561.623.1848.

At one point, some of the ships slot machines were moved to the dock.

Craig said an employee did that and it should not have happened.

Craig said the ship has not filed for bankruptcy.

Craig said in a few weeks if they reopen, some who are being let go will be called and given their jobs back.
 

STATEMENT FROM THE PORT OF PALM BEACH:

The Port of Palm Beach staff and Commissioners have been informed that Black Diamond Casino Cruises made the decision to postpone all scheduled cruises while it works to reorganize its casino management and operations.
 
However, as with any of the tenants at the Port of Palm Beach, a landlord port, is not involved with the day-to-day operations of the Black Diamond's business.

The vessel will remain docked and have their offices at the Port while the reorganization is underway.  
 
"The Port is anxious to move forward with our daily operations while the Black Diamond plans for its future," said Port of Palm Beach Executive Director, Manuel Almira.
 
The Black Diamond began sailing from the Port of Palm Beach in November offering twice-daily cruises Wednesday through Sunday.  
 

STATEMENT FROM THE PORT OF PALM BEACH:

The Port of Palm Beach staff and Commissioners have been informed that Black Diamond Casino Cruises made the decision to postpone all scheduled cruises while it works to reorganize its casino management and operations.
 
However, as with any of the tenants at the Port of Palm Beach, a landlord port, is not involved with the day-to-day operations of the Black Diamond's business.

The vessel will remain docked and have their offices at the Port while the reorganization is underway.  
 
"The Port is anxious to move forward with our daily operations while the Black Diamond plans for its future," said Port of Palm Beach Executive Director, Manuel Almira.
 
The Black Diamond began sailing from the Port of Palm Beach in November offering twice-daily cruises Wednesday

through Sunday.  

Guests with reservations are asked to contact the Black Diamond directly at 561.623.1848.

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