Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., parent company of Celebrity Cruises, has entered into an agreement to sell the 71,545-ton Celebrity Century to Exquisite Marine Ltd., a holding company led by Ctrip.com International Ltd.
The 1,814-passenger ship will continue to operate cruises for Celebrity through April 2015. The last sailing that will operate as originally scheduled will be the March 22 voyage.
Beyond that, the 15-night, Dubai-to-Rome sailing on April 5, 2015 is being re-routed as a 14-night sailing from Dubai to Singapore. Guests on that sailing may cancel cancel their booking and receive a full refund or move to an alternative sailing and receive a re-accommodation onboard credit as well as compensation to cover air change fees.
Guests will be proactively contacted by the cruise line. Both guests and travel agents may call 888-283-7275 if they have questions.
"Since its inaugural sailing, Celebrity Century has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to the Chinese cruise market," said Richard Fain, RCCL's chairman and CEO, RCCL. "The vessel's sale is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Ctrip, and will generate strong value for both companies' shareholders."
The sale will result in a non-cash loss of approximately $20 million dollars. This loss will be excluded from the company's adjusted net income in our third quarter results.
Robin Farley, cruise industry analyst, USB Investment Research, estimates the price tag for the ship sale at $157 million. She also said, given the potential for Chinese-sourcing market growth, "we would not be surprised to see additional asset sales benefit the North American cruise sector over time."
In other words, the Chinese market is ripe for growth, as Royal Caribbean International determined in its decision to position the new Quantum of the Seas in Shanghai year-round starting next year.
Celebrity Century joined the Celebrity Cruises fleet in December 1995, and was built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. The ship was extensively refurbished in 2006 and new balcony staterooms were added.