Plans Sink for Floating Hotel at Olympics

1,500 people have no place to stay in Vancouver for the Olympics

Sports fans from Southern California and around the world are making preparations to descend on Vancouver, British Columbia, to attend the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

But plans to have a cruise ship act as a floating hotel have been scrapped. Now thousands have tickets for Olympic events, but no place to stay.

Around 1,500 people plunked down hundreds of dollars a night to stay on the Norwegian Star, a luxury liner with more than a thousand rooms.

The ship was supposed to leave Los Angeles on Saturday, cruise up to Canada and arrive on Feb. 10, docking in Burrard Inlet.

A lack of bookings and rising costs sank that plan.

Prices for cabins originally cost $1,300 a night, but slow sales sent the price plummeting, first to $500, then finally to $275, which included three meals a day.

Georgia Ananias and her husband from Downey paid $7,000 for their Olympic vacation. Now their trip is ruined.


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"It's horrible, and it's like you have this dream, and this is something you want to do and all of a sudden you're left stranded like this and no one is helping," said Ananias.

The cancellation also left more than a dozen sick and disabled children without lodging. They and their families were guests of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. After a frantic scramble to find somewhere to stay, accommodations were found for all the wish kids.

But that still leaves hundreds out in the cold, and people in the business of chasing down rooms for tourists doubt they'll be able to find space for everyone.

The city of Victoria could house some tourists, but Victoria is situated on Vancouver Island, a ferry ride away from the Olympic venues.

For some it could be a very long commute indeed.

"I think Victoria's going to come into play. I don't think Vancouver can do this," according to travel agent Pamela McColl.

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