Jurgen Bailom, the President and CEO of brand new cruise line Cordelia Cruises, recently announced the purchase of former Royal Caribbean cruise ship Empress of the Seas.
Cordelia Cruises, a continuation of the recently shut down Jalesh Cruises, will be operating the vessel in the Indian Luxury market. Last month, Jalesh Cruises suspended all of its operations and sold their vessel MV Karnika for scrap.
Two Ships Sold- One Known Destination
As Cruisehive reported last week, Empress of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas had been sold to a buyer in the Asia Pacific. Whether or not Majesty of the Seas will also be announced as a new addition remains unclear. What is certain is that Jurgen Bailom has announced that a second vessel will be confirmed soon:
“We are working on adding a second ship to the luxury line; the details of which will be shared in due course of time”
The company has set a course to be the exclusive luxury brand explicitly marketed for the Indian Luxury Market.
Cordelia cruises are owned by a company called Waterways Leisure Tourism Private Ltd., which, according to the statement on Linkedin, has also recently acquired the rights to shut down Jalesh Cruises. Waterways Leisure Tourism Private Ltd. has only existed since November 2, 2020.
Jalesh Cruises Demise Was Shocking
Jalesh Cruises’ downfall, which existed only since January 2019, really came as no surprise. While the pandemic caused the line to suspend its voyages with its sole vessel MV Karnika, there was not much time to build a brand in any case.
With mounting debts, the vessel was shut down entirely, while 60 crew members on board the vessel had to deal with a lack of fuel, power, and basic necessities. At the time, the statement from the company, after stating it was waiting for the delayed response from the Indian High Court, said the following,
“Unfortunately, due to this delay, the ship’s crew live in poor conditions with no fuel, power, etc. We are hoping to get the crew members signed off and relieve them so that they can go home as soon as the legal formalities are completed.”
Whether it is the case now is speculation; however, a tried and tested procedure for shipping companies is to bankrupt one company and continue with a hastily formed new company, as a result of this avoiding having to pay debts, salaries, etc.
The Legacy Continues
Whatever the background on the company itself, the statement from Jurgen Bailom further stated that the company would build upon the legacy of Jalesh Cruises:
“I look forward to your support in continuing the legacy of Jalesh cruises in upholding the spirit, culture, and value of “incredible India” and being the evangelist of ‘Joy’ by curating memorable cruise holiday that delight customers by bringing happiness in their lives.”
The company will, at the very least, have a great ship to begin operations with. Built-in 1989 for Admiral Cruises under the name Future Seas, after the merger with Royal Caribbean, the vessel was re-named Nordic Empress and re-named again in 2004 to Empress of the Seas.
After being added to the Pullmantur fleet in 2008, she was named Empress, while in 2016, she was brought back again to Royal Caribbean.
Before being sold to Cordelia Cruises, the vessel was the oldest in the Royal Caribbean fleet. Measuring 210 meters long and weighing in at 48,562 GT, she was also one of the smallest, with a guest capacity of 1840 passengers.