Cruise Line Acquires Former Carnival-Owned Holland America Ship

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Celestyal Cruises, a renowned Greek cruise company, has acquired the former Carnival-owned Holland America Line cruise ship Ryndam and renamed it Celestyal Journey.

The company has planned a €20 million refurbishment and technical overhaul at a shipyard near Piraeus for the vessel before it enters service. The launch date of the ship remains undisclosed.

Ryndam Will Continue Sailing as Celestyal Journey

Celestyal Cruises has acquired the former Carnival Corporation-owned Holland America Line cruise ship Ryndam from previous owner Seajets. The vessel, now renamed Celestyal Journey, is 55,819 gross tons and has space for 1,258 passengers. 

The company has not disclosed whether it will expand or reduce the ship’s capacity; what is clear is that it will be investing some 20 million euros in refurbishing and overhauling the cruise ship.

The newly-refurbished vessel is expected to offer a considerable increase in premium and balcony staterooms, catering to the high demand for such accommodations on all its voyages.

Holland America Line Ryndam Cruise Ship
Holland America Line Ryndam Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Snowlynx / Shutterstock)

The acquisition marks a strategic move by Celestyal Cruises to position itself better and to take advantage of the renewed interest in cruising that is evident worldwide. 

Celestyal Cruises already has a fleet of three mid-sized ships, and the addition of the Celestyal Journey will provide the company with additional capacity to meet the expected surge in demand in the coming summer, which provides a much better opportunity for investments.

In a statement, Celestyal CEO Chris Theophilides said: “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.”

“In addition to her expansive open decks, numerous bar & 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, which continue to be in high demand on all of our voyages. We look forward to welcoming her to the Celestyal fleet!”

Ryndam, Pacific Aria, Aegean Goddess, and Celestyal Journey

The Celestyal Journey was owned by Holland America Line before being transferred to P&O Australia and renamed Pacific Aria in 2015. The cruise ship sailed on her maiden voyage for Seattle-based Holland America Line in 1993. 

The ship was scheduled to join Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) in May 2021 under the new name of Ida Pfeifer. However, the transaction never materialized, as CMV had filed for bankruptcy.

Ryndam Cruise Ship
Ryndam Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: drserg / Shutterstock)

Seajets later acquired the Pacific Aria in 2020 as part of a buying spree from the Greek ferry operator, which also includes the Maasdam. Ryndam was laid up in Greece as the Aegean Goddess in 2020.

Seajets sold the former Maasdam (Aegean Myth) to the new French shipping company Compagnie Française de Croisières in 2022, and it will be deployed from May 2023 under its new name, Renaissance.

The Celestyal Journey is expected to join Celestyal Cruises’ fleet as soon as the full overhaul has been completed. No tentative dates have been mentioned by the cruise line.

Celestyal Cruises was founded in 1986 and has grown to become a significant player in the Greek cruise industry. The company has won several awards over the years thanks to its unique cruising approach, which provides its guests an immersive and authentic Greek experience.

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