Holland America Sells Ships to Fred. Olsen; Celestyal Buys Costa Ship

(Photo by Susan J Young) Holland America Line is selling four of its ships, among them Maasdam, shown in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

In a "down market" in which big cruise companies seek to cut capacity and preserve cash and smaller lines seek to boost their capacity and expand their "reach," cruise ships are going to new owners.

Late Thursday, Holland America Line announced that it's inked deals to sell four ships—two each to two different buyers, one of those being Fred. Olsen Cruises, which also confirmed the sale in a press statement.

Separately, Celestyal Cruises announced that it had purchased the former Costa neoRomantica. 

Holland America Sells Four Ships 

Holland America Line announced Thursday that four ships—Amsterdam, Maasdam, Rotterdam and Veendam—have been sold in pairs to two different buyers. The S-Class Maasdam and Veendam will transfer to an undisclosed company in August 2020. The R-Class Amsterdam and Rotterdam will move to another company in fall 2020, Holland America's statement said; in a separate press statement, British-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines revealed that it had purchased these two ships. 

Holland America Line will cancel cruises for the four ships’ deployments, with select itineraries being assumed by other ships in the fleet.

The 2021 "Grand World Voyage" onboard Amsterdam will be postponed until 2022 and will now sail aboard Zaandam.  The "Grand Africa Voyage" departing October 10, 2021, originally planned for Rotterdam will be operated by Zaandam on the same dates.

Joining the fleet in 1993, the 1,258-passenger Maasdam was the second of Holland America's four S-Class ships. It is the fourth Holland America ship to bear the Maasdam name. Most recently, the 55,575-ton ship sailed longer South Pacific and Alaska voyages. The 1,350-passenger Veendam, the final S-Class ship, was delivered in 1996. This 57,092-ton ship is the fourth Holland America ship to bear the name Veendam. 

The first ship in the R Class, the 61,849-ton Rotterdam was introduced in 1997. Carrying 1,404 guests, it is the sixth Holland America ship to be named RotterdamAmsterdam joined the fleet in 2000 as the final of four R-Class ships. Carrying 1,380 guests, it is the third Holland America ship to be named Amsterdam. Most recently, the 62,735-ton ship operated the line’s "Grand World Voyage."

Guests with bookings on future sailings of these four ships will be notified that these cruises will be cancelled or changed. Along with their travel advisors, guests will receive information if the cruise will operate with a different ship or information and special offers on how to book another Holland America Line cruise when operations resume. Alternatively, the line said guests who prefer a refund "will be accommodated."  

Cancelled cruises will include scheduled Canada/New England and Grand Voyages on Amsterdam; Mexico, South Pacific, Australia and Asia itineraries on Maasdam; Caribbean, Europe, Panama Canal, South America and Hawaii sailings on Rotterdam; and Caribbean and Europe itineraries on Veendam.

Fred. Olsen Cruises Expands

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said that the Amsterdam and Rotterdam, to be renamed Bolette and Borealis (reflecting the names of ships the company operated in the past) will join the line's fleet in September.

Fred. Olsen Jr., the line's chairman said in a press statement: "We have chosen these vessels as they will fit seamlessly into our existing fleet of small ships, each carrying under 1,500 guests, bringing with them new and larger public areas whilst not compromising on our small ship experience."

The two new ships will enter the fleet later this year following time to allow for rebranding work to be undertaken.

Fred. Olsen's four other ocean ships accommodate 799 guests to 1,325 guests. Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch are currently at Babcock’s Rosyth Facilities in Scotland, where the two new ships will also go, awaiting a return to cruising. 

Costa Ship Heads to Celestyal

Celestyal Cruises, specializing in voyages to the Greek Islands and the eastern Mediterranean, announced Thursday morning that it had purchased the 1,800-passenger Costa neoRomantica from Costa Cruises. Built in 1993 and extensively refurbished in 2012, the ship has 789 cabins—132 of those with balconies—as well as multiple dining and entertainment venues, bars and lounges, two pools, a gym and a panoramic spa. 

Chris Theophilides, CEO, Celestyal Cruises said in a press statement: “While COVID-19 has brought a temporary pause to our operations, it is important that we look to the future with optimism and continue to deliver on our strategic plan to grow the business." 

He stressed that this mid-size ship is ideally suited for Celestyal's business model and "very well appointed following her significant transformation in 2012." Theophilides said he's confident that the ship will prove to be a very popular guest choice. 

Details of the ship’s delivery and deployment will be announced at a later date. Celestyal Cruises’ existing 2021 and 2022 itineraries that were recently launched remain unchanged.

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