The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the cruise industry has been staggering, and now it’s starting to permanently change the make-up of the global fleet, with more than a dozen cruise ships facing an uncertain future.
Many of the fourteen cruise ships are victims of the collapse of three cruise line’s thus far due to the worldwide shutdown of the cruise industry, with first Pullmantur, then Cruise & Maritime Voyages and most recently FTI Cruises having declared bankruptcy.
The 420-passenger little cruise ship Berlin, built in 1980, is on the market in cold lay-up following the collapse of FTI. The ship had sailed with the cruise line since 2012. The ship was stretched in the mid-80s.
The much larger and newer 1,800-guest Horizon, formerly of Pullmantur Cruises, has not yet been scrapped like her former fleet mates Sovereign and Monarch. Built in 1990, the 46,000-gross ton ship is mid-size by modern standards and formerly sailed as Celebrity Horizon until 2005 when she transferred to the now-defunct Island Cruises and then later, the now-defunct Pullmantur.
Several cruise ships have been left in limbo by the collapse of Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Pacific Aria was to transfer to the cruise line in 2021. She is currently operating under the P&O Australia brand for Carnival Corporation and was set to be replaced by more modern tonnage from Princess Cruises. The 1994-built ship has capacity for 1,258 guests and formerly sailed as Holland America’s Ryndam.
Pacific Dawn, another P&O Austrlia ship, was also meant to transfer to Cruise & Maritime Voyages in 2021. The 1991-built ship has capacity for 2,020 guests, making her slightly larger than Pacific Aria. She is a sister ship to Karnika, which sails for Jalesh Cruises. The Indian cruise line has previously indicated that it is looking to expand its fleet, so Pacific Dawn may find a home with them, assuming the pandemic hasn’t derailed Jalesh Cruises’ expansion plans.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages remaining six-ship fleet is now left on the market, with second-hand cruise ships currently seen as a liability rather than an asset, it’s unlikely all six will find homes with new operators rather than the scrap yard.
Columbus, built in 1988 was ordered by Sitmar Cruises as the Fair Majesty. While still under construction, the company was being sold to Princess Cruises, who took over its operation, renaming the ship the Star Princess. Nine years later the ship was transferred to P&O as the Arcadia, and a decade after that, in 2017, she joined Cruise & Maritime Voyages.
Vasco Da Gama was the latest addition to the Cruise & Maritime fleet and the former flagship. While she joined CMV in 2019, she was built in 1992 and sailed for Holland America Line as Statendam until 2015. She then moved over to P&O Australia and sailed as Pacific Eden, along with its sister ship, the Pacific Aria, the former Ryndam.
Astor was built in 1987. She was originally ordered by the South African Safmarine as a combined ocean liner/cruise ship for the Southampton-Cape Town service, but the plan was abandoned and she was instead picked up by the Mauritius-based Marlan Corporation to offer a five-star luxury soft adventure product in the British market. Only one year later, the vessel was sold to Soviet owners, becoming the FedorDostoyevskiy.
After years on charter to European tour operators, Astor got her original name back and was, in 1996, acquired by TransOcean Tours. She was chartered to CMV for a new operation in Australia in 2013 and the British cruise line later acquired TransOcean Tours, keeping it as an independent brand.
The oldest cruise ship in regular service, Astoria was originally the ocean liner Stockholm. Built in 1948, she is best known for her 1956 collision with the ocean liner Andria Doria, resulting in the sinking of the latter and extensive damage to the bow of the former.
The vessel was later converted for cruising in the early 1990s, with public areas and cabins totally rebuilt for the new purpose. With the name Azores, it joined the CMV fleet in 2015, after several years sailing as the Athena for Classic International Cruises. In 2016, the name was changed to the Astoria.
Magellan started out life as Holiday for Carnival Cruise Line back in 1985. Following a major refit in 2009, the ship was transferred to IberoCruceros to begin operating in the Spanish market as the Grand Holiday. Ibero went bankrupt and the ship was sold to CMV in 2014.
Marco Polo is the cruise ship that started it all for Cruise & Maritime Voyages. Built in 1965, the former ocean liner was launched as the Aleksandr Pushkin for the Leningrad – Montreal route. After serving its original purpose until the 1970s, the vessel started to sail as a cruise ship under charter agreements.
In 1991, it was sold to Orient Lines and renamed Marco Polo. In Greece, the vessel was rebuilt as a true cruise ship, also receiving new engines. In 2008, it was sold to its current owners, Greece-based Global Maritime Group and began her long-term charter with CMV in 2010.
Carnival Imagination and Carnival Fascination have both been moved into cold lay-up, without any indication from Carnival of when they might be brought back into service. Sister ships to the recently scrapped Carnival Fantasy and the recently sold Carnival Inspiration, the 70,000-gross ton, 2,600-passenger ships face an uncertain future as Carnival continues to offload more tonnage.
Marella Celebration is the oldest ship in the Marella Cruises fleet. Launched in 1984 by by Chantiers de l’Atlantique for Holland America Line as the MS Noordam, she moved to Thomson Cruises in 2005 and stayed with the line when it re-branded as Marella. However, following the impact of the pandemic on the cruise industry, the line announced that it would be retiring the ship. An owner has not been revealed.
Categories: Cruise Industry