Since the Covid pandemic hit, the number of cruise ships sold for scrap or to another company has drastically increased.
Cruise lines are losing millions of dollars due to the coronavirus pandemic and need to make cuts, fast to reduce costs and keep them afloat. Many cruise lines have begun to sell off older and less reliable cruise ships.
So far during the pandemic, 26 ships have sold for scrap or to other cruise lines. We take a look at the cruise ships sold for scrap or to another company and where they are now.
On average, cruise ships have more than 40 years of life in them. It’s common for Major cruise lines to sell older ships to smaller or newer companies. It’s rare for newer cruise ships to sell for scrap. In these uncertain times, even ships built in the mid-90s are been scrapped.
So many ships have been waiting to be dismantled that there is a waiting list.
How are cruise ships scrapped?
Most ships scrapping happens poorer nations such as Turkey, Bangladesh, China and India.
Ship scrapping, known as “ship-breaking”, is a lucrative business with annual revenue of over US$200 billion. Almost everything on a ship is recycled, reused or resold. The ship recycling industry supplies more than 40% of the world’s raw material needs and generates over 600 million tons of recyclables every year.
Ships are “beached”, the term used for driving a ship at speed onto a beach or land. Once on the shore, the engine is shut down and the anchor is dropped. The shipbreakers then start working on dismantling the ship piece by piece. This can take anywhere from two weeks to even twelve months to complete.
But this isn’t the most environmentally friendly way to recycle a ship. It poses a serious risk to human health, safety and environment. Many toxins pollute the beaches including non-treated ballast water, oil, paint residues and metal parts.
It’s much better for the environment and safer for workers to dry-dock demolish a ship. This is 50% faster than beaching, causes less risk to the environment but much more expensive.
Which cruise ships have been sold and where are they now?
Carnival cruise ships sold for scrap or to other companies.
The Carnival Corporation is the biggest cruise company in the world. They own not only Carnival Cruise Lines but also Princess Cruises, Holland America, Cunard and many more.
Carnival has already sold 19 of their ships. That’s a whopping 13% of all their entire fleet. And that’s not the end, there’s still 4 un-named Carnival Corporation ships to be sold or scrapped. Of this, five cruise cruise ships sold for scrap.
- Carnival Fantasy – Scrapped
- Carnival Fascination – Sold
- Carnival Imagination – Scrapped
- Carnival Inspiration – Scrapped
- Sun Princess – Sold
- Sea Princess – Sold
- MS Maasdam – Sold
- MS Veendam – Sold
- MS Rotterdam – Sold
- MS Amsterdam – Sold
- Oceana built 2000 – Sold
- Costa Victoria – Scrapped
- Costa neoRomantica
- Pacific Dawn – Scrapped
Carnival Imagination, Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Inspiration – Scrapped
Carnival’s Fantasy-class are the lines of older and smaller ships. Nonetheless were popular for entry-level cruisers and veterans alike.
All these ships were built in the 90s and they were revolutionary when it first debuted. Providing some much-needed competitions to lines like Royal Caribbean. Their interiors were over the top, wacky, and very unique to anything else at sea.
As you can see these ships are under 30 years old. Shaving over 10 years off their normal life span.
Carnival Fascination – Sold
Carnival Fascination sold in November 2020 to Century Harmony Cruise Ltd. and renamed Century Harmony. Century Harmony Cruises are a new cruise line believed to be linked to Asian interests. In December the company began recruitment to staff the 2,800-guest ship. They plan to transform the Fascination into a hotel ship.
Princess Cruises ships sold
Sun Princess – Sold
Sun Princess was introduced in 1995. She debuted in the Caribbean and was amongst the largest ships in the world at the time. The ship moved to Australia in 2007 where it helped Princess Cruises significantly grow in Australia and New Zealand Market.
Sun Princess was only refitted in July 2018. The ship underwent a two-week dry dock receiving a new livery design, cabins and shops.
Princess Cruises announced that the ship, along with Sea Princess, will be leaving the fleet in September 2020. The ship sold to Peace Boat in September 2020 and renamed Pacific World.
Sea Princess – Sold
The Sea Princess was known for its World Cruises and completed six world cruises since 2013. The ship had previously sailed for P&O Cruises as the Adonia between 2003 and 2005. Since then she became synonymous with world cruises, having completed six full world cruises since 2013.
The Sea Princess sold to Chinese company Sanya International Cruise Development in November 2020 and renamed Charming. The 2,222 passenger vessel is expected to begin sailing in 2021 and will become China’s second-largest domestic cruise ship.
Holland America Line ships sold
Maasdam & Veendam – Sold
Maasdam joined Holland America in 1993 as the second of four S-Class ships. The ship sailed longer South Pacific and Alaska voyages.
The Veendam launched in 1996. Veendam sailed from South America in the winter and New York in the summer.
Both the Maasdam and Veendam sold in August 2020 to Greek ferry operator Seajets. The Maasdam has been renamed Aegean Myth and the Veendam renamed the Aegean Majesty.
Both ships are currently in the warm layup. There are no confirmed plans on what SeaJets will do with the ships. According to Seatrade Cruise News, the ships will be managed by Optimum Ship Management Services. These also look after the cruise vessels of the Greek operator Celestyal Cruises. It’s thought the ships will help SeaJets expand into the full-service cruise industry.
Rotterdam & Amsterdam – Sold
Rotterdam was introduced to the Holland America fleet in 1997 as the first R-Class ship. The ship recently sailed the line’s world cruises. During the summer of 2011, Rotterdam conducted Holland America Line’s first standalone transatlantic crossing since 1971. The ship a single trip sailing both eastbound and westbound across the Atlantic.
The Amsterdam joined Holland America in 2000 as the final of the four R-Class ships. Along with the Rotterdam, the ships are famous for carrying over US$2 million worth of art.
Both Rotterdam and Amsterdam sold in September 2020 to UK-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Amsterdam was renamed MS Bolette and Rotterdam renamed MS Borealis. The ships underwent modification at the Damen Shipyards in Schiedam, near Rotterdam. They will sail European itineraries mainly from the UK.
P&O Cruises UK ships sold
Oceana – Sold
Oceana was very popular with British cruisers. The ship entered service in 2000 with Princess Cruises as Ocean Princess before moving to P&O Cruises in 2002. She had a £31 million refit in 2017 that included cosmetic and technical improvements.
Oceana sold to the Greek ferry-operator SeaJets in July 2020 and renamed Queen of the Oceans. The company, which also bought many other Carnival Corporation ships, is rumoured to be expanding into the cruise industry.
Costa Cruises ships sold
Costa Victoria – cruise ship scrapped
The Costa Victoria is one of the youngest cruise ships sold for scrap. ship to be scrapped is the Victoria. The ship sailed Carnival’s Spanish subsidiary, Costa Cruises. Victoria was only built-in 1996 and it’s decor reflected the spirit of Italy. The ship sailed in the Mediterranean and Asia.
The ship sold to Genova Industrie Navali Srl. in June 2020 who planned to recycle the ship at its San Giorgio yard. The yard is the only Italian company able to carry out environmentally friendly recycling projects. But, it in January 2021 that the ship was towed to Turkey for scrapping.
Costa neoRomantica – Sold
The neoRomantica was Costa Cruises’ oldest ship dating back to 1993. The ship sailed in the Asian market.
In mid-2020, the ship was sold to greek cruise line Celestyal Cruises. In August she was renamed Celestyal Experience. From April 3, the ship will embark on seven-night Aegean itineraries.
P&O Cruises Australia
Pacific Dawn – Scrapped
Pacific Dawn entered service in 1991 as Regal Princess for Princess Cruises. She moved to P&O Cruises Australia after a multimillion-dollar refurbishment in 2007.
Pacific Dawn was due to move to the British cruise line CMV in February 2020. But the deal fell through when CMV entered administration and closed.
The ship sold in November 2020 to Ocean Builders Central Inc and renamed Satoshi. They planned to convert it into a “Floating Community” anchored off the coast of Panama City. Unfortunately, the company failed to secure insurance for the ship and it sold for scrap in December 2020.
Royal Caribbean cruise ships sold for scrap or to other companies.
During the start of the pandemic, Royal Caribbean strongly denied that any cruise ships would be sold for scrap. But, they later revealed Empress of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas would be sold.
Empress of the Seas – Sold
Empress launched in 1990 and was the first ship specifically designed for short Caribbean cruises. She launched under the name Nordic Empress and moved to Pullmantur Cruises in 2008. She returned to Royal Caribbean after a $50 Million makeover under the name Empress of the Seas.
She made history as the first cruise ship to sail out of the new Royal Caribbean at Cape Liberty in 2004. In 2017, the ship set sail on the cruise line’s inaugural cruise to Cuba.
Empress of the seas is about a quarter of the size of Royal Caribbean’s largest ships. She was popular with cruise fans who loved the intimate smaller spaces.
In August 2020 the ship anchored in Greece. Rumours began to circulate she would be moving to Turkey to be scrapped.
However, it was announced in December 2020 that the ship, along with Majesty of the seas, sold to Indian start-up Cordelia Cruises. The ship, renamed Empress, will begin sailing for the Indian market.
Majesty of the Seas – Sold
Majesty of the Seas launched in 1992 and was revolutionary. When it launched it was more than twice the size of the average cruise ship – and the largest in the company’s fleet. The ship underwent a major dry dock in 2018 that included new furniture and fittings.
Majesty of the Seas was one of the most popular Royal Caribbean ships. It was known for its classic design and intimate feeling.
The ship sold, along with Empress of the Seas, to Indian start-up Cordelia Cruises. The ship will begin sailing for the Indian market under the name Majesty.
Pullmantur Cruises cruise ships sold for scrap.
Sovereign – Scrapped
Sovereign launched in 1988 as Sovereign of the Seas for Royal Caribbean. The ship moved to Pullmantur cruises in 2008. During her time with Royal Caribbean, she sailed Caribbean cruises from Florida.
In July 2020 she was sold for scrap alongside her sistership Monarch in Aliağa, Turkey.
Monarch – Scrapped
Monarch launched in 1991 as Monarch of the Seas for Royal Caribbean and transferred to Pullamntour in 2013. At the time of her completion, she was one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
In 2007, While sailing as Monarch of the Seas, the ship became the first major cruise ship in the world to be captained by a woman.
In July 2020 she scrapped alongside her sistership Sovereign in Aliağa, Turkey.
CMV (Cruise and Maritime Voyages) ships sold
The British cruise line CMV entered administration in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The company had six ships in its fleet when it ceased trading. Five of the company’s ships were put up for sale by auction in September 2020. Many of these cruise ships sold for scrap. The sixth ship, Astoria, was due to leave the fleet before the pandemic.
Vasco Da Gama – Sold
Vasco Da Gama sailed for Holland America as MS Statendam and for P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Eden. The ship sold to Mystic Cruises and will sail in the British, German, and Portuguese markets.
Columbus – Sold
Columbus has had a long and varied history. First entering service with Princess Cruises as Star Princess in 1989, then sailing for P&O Cruises as Arcadia, Ocean Village and Ocean Village One and P&O Cruises Australia as Pacific Pearl. Finally joining Cruise & Maritime Voyage in 2017.
The ship sold to the Greek ferry operator SeaJets.
Magellan – Sold
Magellan first entered service with Carnival Cruises as the Holiday. The distinctive whale tale funnel gives it away. She then sailed for Ibero Cruises as the Grand before joining CMV in Spring 2015. The ship sold, alongside the Columbus, to the Greek ferry operator SeaJets.
Astor – Scrapped
The Astor was originally built as an ocean liner to sail between Southampton and Cape Town. She then sailed as Fedor Dostoevskiy before reverting to the name Astor in 1995. She sold the C.W. Kellock London Ltd who scrapped the ship in November 2020.
Marco Polo – Scrapped
Marco Polo was one of the oldest cruise ships in the world sailing for an impressive 55 years. She was originally built in 1965 as Aleksandr Pushkin. In 1993, after an extensive rebuild, the ship renamed as Marco Polo and sailed for Norwegian Cruise Line’s subsidy Orient Lines. She joined CMV in 2010. The ship sold at auction in October 2020 to be scrapped.
Marella Cruises ships sold
Marella Celebration – Scrapped
Marella Celebration was confirmed to be scrapped in October 2020. The cruise line had planned to move the ship from its fleet in 5 years. It stated the direct impact of the pandemic for the ship’s early retirement.
Marella Dream – Scrapped
Like Marella Celebration, the Marella Dream was scrapped in October 2020. The ship planned to move from the Marella Cruises fleet in 2021.
Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines ships sold
Black Watch and Boudicca – Sold
The UK based Fred. Olsen purchased two Holland America Line vessels in July 2020. The following month they confirmed they will replace Black Watch and Boudicca.
The two sister-ships began life for Royal Viking Line. Black Watch entered service in 1972 as Royal Viking Star and Boudicca the following year as Royal Viking Sky.