Carnival-Owned Costa Cruise Ship is Largest to Be Sold Off

Carnival-owned Costa Magica has been sold to a Greek ferry operator, but the cruise ship's future is still uncertain as she joins four other purchased ships.

The long-debated fate of Costa Magica has finally been decided as Carnival Corporation & plc has confirmed the sale of the vessel to Seajets, a Greek ferry operator, for an undisclosed amount.

The new owner has not announced any immediate plans for the cruise ship, which has been out of passenger service since March 2020, never having resumed guest operations after the pandemic lockdown.

Costa Magica Sold

The Destiny-class Costa Magica has been sold to the Marios Iliopoulos-led Seajets high-speed ferry company. The ship’s fate has been uncertain for some time, as it was announced in June 2021 to be transferred to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet.

That plan was dismissed in mid-2022 when it was announced that Costa Luminosa would instead become Carnival Luminosa, while Costa Magica was to remain with Costa Cruises for the time being. The ship had not been sailing since the industry-wide shutdown began in March 2020, being one of the few ships to not resume guest service.

In the meantime, Costa Magica was offered to house Ukrainian refugees in March 2022, with Costa Cruises reaching out to the Italian government with that proposal. Though generous and appreciated, the offer was ultimately unnecessary.

Costa Magic Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

In late December 2022, as part of the Fourth Quarter 2022 Business Update from Carnival Corporation, it was announced that three “smaller-less efficient ships” would be removed from the corporation’s overall fleet. At that time, it was known that two of the ships would be retired from the Costa Cruises fleet, but the names of the vessels were not released.

Then, in early January, AIDAaura was confirmed to be leaving the AIDA Cruises fleet as part of those optimization plans. Now we know that Costa Magica will be another of the impacted vessels, but the third vessel is still unknown, other than the fact that it will be retired from Costa Cruises.

At this time, two additional Costa ships – Costa Serena and Costa Diadema – are still in lay up, though Costa Diadema is slated to resume passenger operations in April 2023 with Mediterranean itineraries. Costa Serena is also scheduled to resume service in December 2023, but her itinerary plans are not yet finalized and she is not listed on the Costa Cruises website any longer.

What Will Become of the Former Carnival-Owned Ship?

With Costa Magica now belonging to Seajets, her future is still murky. The company, which operates a fleet of high-speed ferries in the Aegean Sea, has purchased several cruise ships since the pandemic began, scrapping two vessels and keeping others in layup for the time being.

Read Also: Cruise Ship Scrapping – Everything You Need to Know

It is possible that Seajets has plans to begin offering cruise service, or may renovate the ships for modified ferry service of some kind. No official announcement of their plans has been made.

In addition to Costa Magica, Seajets has also purchased Holland America Line’s Veendam, P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Aria, P&O Cruises Oceana, and Royal Caribbean International’s Majesty of the Seas. Of all the ships, Costa Magica is the youngest, having first debuted in 2004. The other ships first set sail in 1996, 1994, 2000, and 1992, respectively.

Costa Magica can host 2,718 passengers and weighs in at 102,784 gross tons. This also makes her the largest gross tonnage vessel Seajets has purchased in the past two years, with one of the highest guest capacities (Majesty of the Seas is slightly higher with a 2,767 guest capacity). Of course, Seajets may do any sort of renovation to the vessel to dramatically change her size, capacity, or venues, or the vessel may yet be scrapped or resold.

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