Celestyal Cruises has announced that Celestyal Olympia, a former Royal Caribbean cruise ship, will be retired at the end of 2023, with a new vessel to take her place with planned sailings. Celestyal Olympia has been welcoming guests for more than 40 years, with a variety of cruise lines.
Celestyal Olympia to Retire
Celestyal Olympia, which as been sailing with Celestyal Cruises since 2014, is to be gracefully retired in the coming weeks. This decision comes as Celestyal Cruises has acquired AIDAaura, the oldest ship in the AIDA Cruises fleet (built in 2003), but still significantly younger than the cruise line’s other ship, Celestyal Journey (built in 1994 for Holland America Line).
To accommodate AIDAaura, which will join Celestyal Cruises as Celestyal Discovery in 2024 after an extensive refurbishment, Celestyal Olympia is to be decommissioned and retired from the line.
Celestyal Discovery is planned to take over Celestyal Olympia‘s sailings from March 2024, and guests already booked on those journeys will be contacted with details about switching to the new vessel. Earlier sailings aboard Celestyal Olympia, from December 2, 2023 to the end of the year, are cancelled and guests are receiving full refunds.
The impacted sailings are 3-, 4-, and 5-night Greek Island cruises, as Celestyal Cruises primarily operates Greek sailings of various lengths, offering luxury and intimacy for guests exploring the Mediterranean hotspot.
History of Celestyal Olympia
Celestyal Olympia began as Royal Caribbean’s Song of America when she debuted in December 1982 as the fourth ever ship for the line, and she remained with Royal Caribbean until 1999. Of special note is that this ship was the first to feature the distinctive Viking Crown Lounge that would be an instantly recognizable feature of Royal Caribbean ships for decades.
In late 1998, the ship was sold to Sun Cruises (though she would be chartered back to Royal Caribbean for several months) and renamed Sunbird, with some rebuilding of her interior spaces, particularly suites. In 2005, the ship was again sold as Sun Cruises was dissolved. After being renamed Thomson Destiny, the ship sailed for Thomson Cruises until 2012.
The ship spent two years with Louis Cruises (2012-2014) as Louis Olympia, and also served as a floating hotel during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
In late 2014, Louis Cruises was rebranded to Celestyal Cruises, and the ship was renamed and updated to become Celestyal Olympia.
The 37,700-gross-ton ship can welcome 1,664 passengers aboard for each sailing, with approximately 540 international crew members onboard to provide distinctive and memorable service.
What Is Next for the Cruise Ship?
Celestyal Cruises has confirmed that the ship will now be scrapped, which is not surprising considering her advanced age in comparison to more modern ships.
Still, her 41 years of service have been memorable ones for the thousands and thousands of passengers she has already hosted in sailings in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, always bringing travelers to amazing ports of call and delivering memorable cruise vacations.
Because of her age and how environmental and safety regulations have changed in recent years, it could be challenging to sufficiently update the ship to welcome guests with the same standards that newer ships may offer. It is unlikely that any buyer would be willing to undertake such a project in the current economic climate.