CELESTYAL CRUISES PLANS EXPANSION

OCEAN COUNTESS
Ocean Countess was typical of the ‘old guard’ at Celestyal/Louis Cruises. Now, it looks as if considerably bigger new builds are on the way

Greek cruise operator, Celestyal Cruises, has announced some radical departures from the usual during the Seatrade conference currently taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

As previously alluded to in this blog, the company will begin a first of a kind ever winter cruise season in the Eastern Mediterranean over the winter of 2016-17. These cruises will be offered by the company’s current flagship, the 37,000 ton Celestyal Olympia, originally the 1982 built Song of America of Royal Caribbean International.

In another major move, Celestyal CEO Kyriakos Anastassiadis announced at Seatrade that the highly successful winter cruise programme around Cuba, currently served by the Celestyal Cristal, will become a year round operation with effect from 2018. As of yet, no ship name has been announced for this venture, but it is quite likely that the current Thomson Majesty’s charter to Thomson Cruises will end after 2017. Her subsequent return to Celestyal would allow the line to free up either her, or another ship, for a year round Cuba deployment.

But most significant of all is the news that the line is looking to order a pair of new builds- the first in the history of Celestyal. Carrying around 1,800 passengers each, they will be considerably bigger than the smaller ships that the line has always been known for. None the less, they will still be considerably smaller and more intimate than many of the modern mega ships now in service.

At present, the company is talking to different potential shipbuilders with a view to arranging building slots, and is also in the process of locking down finance for these new ships.

In the next few weeks, the fleet will be augmented by the entry into service of the 19,000 ton Celestyal Nefeli, on a new programme sailing out of Turkey. The ship is currently undergoing final upgradings and renovation at a dockyard in Piraeus. With her addition, Celestyal will offer a three ship deployment out of Piraeus to the Greek islands and Turkey for the 2016 season.

As always, stay tuned for updates.

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