Former Holland America ship begins transformation into Celestyal Journey

Ryndam has entered dry dock at the Palumbo Shipyard in Malta ahead of her debut for Celestyal Cruises as Celestyal Journey.

The former Holland America Line vessel was sold by the cruise line in 2021 but has been bouncing between different owners since then due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In February, she was finally purchased by Celestyal.

The ship will now undergo a major refit and refurbishment, with upgrades from bow to stern before she is re-introduced as Celestyal Journey in September.

Rendering of Celestial Journey.

Rendering of Celestyal Journey

The refurbishment is reported to cost around US $20 million and will include hull treatment, and safety equipment and technical overhauls in addition to the upgrades to all her passenger areas.

Celestyal Journey will also receive the company’s new livery, which includes a blue hull adorned with different colors and patterns.

Once the refit is complete, the 1,258-guest ship will offer a total of eight new bars, including the Martini Bar, which will serve a menu of exclusive signature cocktails, as well as the Wine Cellar, and the Horizons Lounge and Disco.

Located on one of the ship’s highest decks, the Disco space will be equipped with glass-to-ceiling windows and a large dance floor.

Celestyal Journey will feature seven new restaurants and specialty dining venues, such as a self-service casual restaurant, a cooking demonstration venue and the exclusive Chef’s Table.

Some of the restaurants will offer a themed experience, serving a selection of Mediterranean, European and Asian dishes.

There will be 630 staterooms. 149 of which have balconies, while 120 will be Junior Suites and 28 are Grand Suites.

The ship was launched in 1994 for Holland America Line

Celestyal Journey will be cruising to Arabia when she launches in September, with a series of seven-night cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean that explore Greece, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus and Turkey through to December.

During the Christmas holidays, Celestyal Journey is set to offer a special 19-night cruise that allows guests to spend both Christmas and the New Year onboard.

Ryndam was built by Fincantieri for Holland America Line in 1994. In 2015 she was transfered to Holland America Line’s sister brand P&O Australia and re-named Pacific Aria. She sailed in Australia until 2021, when it was announced she would be acquired by Cruise & Maritime Voyages.

Those plans fell through when the COVID-19 pandemic forced CMV into bankruptcy, and with Carnival Corporation looking to shed at least 18 ships across its 9-brand fleet, the ship was sold at auction to Seajets, whose plans also fell through.

For a time it looked as though the former Ryndam might go the same way as so many other cruise ships sold during the pandemic, but ultimately in 2023 Celestyal acquired her and announced a major investment in her ongoing service.

Leave a Reply