Middle East Cruise News

Marella Celebration to be sold, Dubai cruise season cancelled

Marella Celebration’s 2020/21 Dubai cruise season has been cancelled after Marella Cruises announced that it would be selling the vintage cruise ship from its fleet.

The 1984-built cruise ship will be retired from the fleet ahead of her upcoming cruise seasons, the cruise line said in a statement.

Marella Celebration alongside at Dubai Cruise Terminal

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It didn’t elaborate on whether the ship will be sold or scrapped, but given the current state of the cruise industry, she is unlikely to find a buyer for continued cruise service.

“Marella Celebration is one of the longest standing and most loved ships in the Marella Cruises fleet,” the cruise line said in a statement carried by Cruise Industry News.

“She’s sailed with the cruise line for 15 years, carrying almost half a million passengers. The ship was due to homeport in Dubrovnik in summer ’20 and summer ’21 and Cyprus and Dubai for the winter season,” it added.

The sale of the ship comes as the British cruise line seeks to make capacity adjustments amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, but it isn’t clear whether the announcement of the sale is directly related to the virus outbreak.

Marella Cruises has expanded its fleet significantly in recent years, acquiring former Royal Caribbean cruise ships Legend of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas and the Celebrity Cruises ships Celebrity Century and Celebrity Galaxy.

Marella Celebration is the oldest ship in the fleet

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Marella Celebration is now the oldest ship in the fleet after Marella Dream, launched in 1986. She was launched in 1984 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique for Holland America Line as the MS Noordam.

The ship sailed under the Holland America Line brand through 2005, when she was moved to Thomson Cruises, which eventually became Marella.

Marella Celebration’s 2020/21 cruise season out of Dubai was to be her second, after homeporting in the city during the winter 2016/17 cruise season.

“We’re always looking at ways we can offer even more choice to the destinations that customers really want to visit,” Chris Hackney, managing director, Marella Cruises, said at the time.

“Given the popularity in tourism to Dubai it seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to have one of the fleet homeport there again,” he said.

While those plans are now obviously on hold, it remains to be seen if Marella Cruises will replace Marella Celebration with one of its other cruise ships for the Dubai season.

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