Celestyal Cruises targets post-pandemic growth with acquisition of former Ryndam

Celestyal Cruises is looking to cash in on the post-pandemic boom in cruise bookings with the acquisition of Holland America Line’s former cruise ship Ryndam.

The 1993-built ship is currently laid-up in Greece. She was transferred from Holland America Line to P&O Australia in 2015 and renamed Pacific Aria and was then sold in 2021 to Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

CMV was forced into bankruptcy by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ship was sold again to Seajets, a Greek ferry operator that had plans in 2021 to launch a cruise line subsidiary, but those plans appear to now be on hold.

Ryndam in her former Holland America Line colours.

Now the ship has been sold yet again to Celestyal Cruises, but this time there appear to be firm plans to put her back into cruise service.

“While the global events of the past few years have placed our growth plans on pause, the positive industry outlook along with strong bookings for the coming season, provides Celestyal with the opportunity to recommence the process of renewing our fleet with new vessels,” said Chris Theophilides, CEO, Celestyal Cruises.

Theophilides added that the ship’s design was of particular interest to the cruise line, due to her high number of balcony cabins, which are the most sought-after stateroom category in the industry.

“In addition to her expansive open decks, numerous bar and dining options as well as spacious public areas and staterooms, the Celestyal Journey provides our guests with a significant increase in premium and balcony staterooms,” he said. “[These] continue to be in high demand on all of our voyages.’’

Rendering of Celestial Journey.

The ship will be renamed Celestyal Journey and will debut with the cruise line later in the year after a $21-million refit and refurbishment. Celestyal said that further details on the ship’s onboard experience and itineraries will be announced ahead of her launch.

Celestyal Cruises was formerly known as Louis Cruise Line from 1982 until 2014 when it was rebranded. The Greek cruise line has for decades operated former ocean liners and classic cruise ships and used to charter ships to Marella Cruises when it was known as Thomson Cruises.

The cruise line’s two-ship fleet currently operates 3-, 4-, and 7-night itineraries around the Greek islands, Turkey, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

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