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The Sold Cruise Ships of 2020. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and More

Carnival recently announced that they’re planning on getting rid of six cruise ships within the next 90 days. It’s important to remember that the Carnival brand isn’t only the cruise line, Carnival. So this doesn’t mean that we’re gonna lose six of our favorite Carnival ships.

You don’t need to worry about that but the Carnival company has lost $4.4 billion in the second quarter of 2020. So it’s hardly a surprise that they’re trying to recoup some of those losses. The company Carnival actually owns P&O, they own Princess, they own AIDA, they own Holland America. They own even more than that.

Which Cruise Ships Have Been Sold in 2020?

The Costa Victoria, P&O Oceana, Marella Celebration, Pacific Dawn, and Saga Sapphire have all been sold in 2020. Some to new buyers and some to the scrap yard. Coronavirus pushed forward the sale of many of these ships who were already planned to leave their fleets. 

Costa Victoria

The first cruise ship that has been confirmed to be sold is the Costa Victoria for Costa Cruises.

Cruise Ship History

She was built in 1996, has just over 2000 passengers and she’s actually just heading straight to the shipyard. When she gets to the shipyard, she will be being scrapped, which is not common for a ship of this age.

Normally cruise ships that are made in the 90s have at least 10 or 20 years in them before for becoming scrapped and normally they’re passed down through different cruise lines.

It is a little bit worrying that this cruise ship is straight away being scrapped because it does mean that we could see other cruise ships of similar ages also meeting the same fate.

costa victoria sold 2020

Ship Design

If you do look at the Costa Victoria, it is obvious that she is an older design ship. She has had a couple of massive refits. She had one in 2004, and one in 2013.

They actually tried to add extra balconies when they did some refits too try and modernize her and they actually did a big refit where they said that they were gonna make the internal spaces more Italian.

I don’t know about you, but if you’ve ever been on a Costa Cruise, I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. They’re so colorful, they’re so bright. They’re so lively. Costa Cruises are so much fun, and they’re also so, so cheap.

So if you ever do want a dirt cheap, bright and colorful, silly, relaxed cruise, I would recommend a Costa Cruise.

Would I Recommend a Costa Cruise?

I took a Costa Cruise on the Costa Luminosa. It was fantastic, but it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before.

When the Costa Victoria was being built back in 1996, she actually had a sister ship planned called the Costa Olympia. For some reason, the scrap yard went bankrupt, and the whole was actually sold to Norwegian Cruise Line. As she turned into the Norwegian Sky.

It’s very strange to think that a Norwegian Cruise Ship has a sister in Costa but if you look at these two cruise ships, I think you can tell, I think they look pretty similar.

P&O Oceana

The next cruise ship that is confirmed to be sold is P&O Oceana. This move didn’t really surprise me, it seems quite in line with the way that P&O cruises are going, but a lot of people love this cruise ship. They love the smaller, older P&O Ships, and a lot of people gonna be very upset to see her go.

Cruise Ship History

The ship was built in the year 2000 for Princess Cruises and then transferred to P&O Cruises.

The ship did undergo a massive refit in 2012, but even still looking at the P&O Cruises fleet, I can see why they wanted to move on. They’re launching a new ship called Iona this year and I’m actually booked on her for January.

P&O are moving towards the family market to a more freestyle market, to a more relaxed market. A lot of the traditional P&O cruisers really liked the smaller ships with the traditional dining, but I’m afraid P&O tends to be moving away from that.

I’m happy with that, I’m very, very happy, but certain people who loved Oceana are really, really upset about this new and it does raise some concerns for a couple of the other older P&O ships. I don’t think we’ll see any other P&O ships being sold off right now. They do too well, they’re too loved with the customers, but going forward, it does show which kind of direction P&O are going in.

Rebooking Cancelled Cruises

This move to sell Oceana did come as a bit of a surprise. It kind of came out of the blue, and they said, “The ship is leaving now, “it’s leaving this month.” People do have cruises booked up on her, and they’re gonna either get a refund or onboard credit, but even still, it was quite a shock just to see a ship that we know and we love just disappear like that and not even a particularly old or unloved ship, people love this ship.

It probably was in the plan for P&O Cruises to eventually move on Oceana, but I think due to the coronavirus crisis, everything has just kind of moved forward. If there was a plan for in two or three years to sell a ship, it’s kind of just happening now.

p&O oceana sold cruise ship

Photo: Piergiuliano Chesi

Saga Sapphire

The next ship is the Saga Sapphire. She is a tiny cruise ship with only 600 passengers, and she’s had seven different names in her life.

Cruise Ship History

She was made in the 1980s, and you can tell. If you look at this cruise ship, I think she does look like an old cruise ship.

I’ve been on some of the newer Saga Ships, which are absolutely beautiful. I spent a few days on the Saga Spirit of Discovery and if you compare that very new, big, exciting, shiny ship to the Saga Sapphire, I can see why they would want to move her on. Again this is another thing that’s probably just been pushed forward because of the coronavirus crisis, but it does show again, in which direction cruise lines are going.

They tend to be going towards bigger cruise ships. It’s just something that’s happening.

Ship Design

The Saga Sapphire did have a massive refit back in 2011 but if you look at the design of the ship, all of the cabins are at the front, and all of the public spaces are at the back of the ship. This is because of the engines are at the back and it normally is a good idea to keep the cabins away from the engines on cruise ships which are as old as this one.

They do vibrate, you can feel the movement more on modern cruise ships and that tends to be a feature that shows how old a cruise ship is.

If you get on a cruise ship, and all the cabins are at the front, it’s an older cruise ship. The Saga Sapphire though isn’t headed to the scrapyard, which is fantastic. She’s going to work for a Turkish company called Annex Tours, and she will be doing little Mediterranean itineraries.

If you do love the ship, you can still cruise on her. You’re just gonna have to go with a smaller cruise line.

Selling a Cruise Ship

This does just tend to be how things work with cruise lines. You might start with the ship that’s with Royal Caribbean. It will go down to a mid-level cruise line, maybe like Marella, and then it will get moved on again to a more niche, specific, small cruise line.

We don’t know how much the Saga Sapphire was sold for, but realistically, if you want to buy a cruise ship, you’re looking at something like $100 million, upwards from $100 million.

If you’ve got one under $100 million, that will be a bargain. I think that was kind of the price we’re looking at.

saga sapphire sold 2020

Photo: Dickelbers

Pacific Dawn

Built-in 1991 as the Regal Princess, the Pacific Dawn now cruises for P&O Cruises Australia. The Pacific Dawn has actually been sold to CMV but CMV has since gone bust.

The other cruise ship that CMV have promised to buy is the Pacific Ariana.

pacific dawn sold 2020

Photo: Pilettes

Marella Celebration

It was recently announced that the Marella Celebration will be leaving the Marella Cruises fleets. Marella Cruises are a British cruise line, and they’re one of my personal favorites. That said, I can completely understand why they would want to sell off the Marella Celebration.

She was made in 1984 and compared to the other cruise ships in the Marella fleets, she’s much smaller, she’s much older and I think it makes sense for them to move her on.

The Marella Celebration was actually built for Holland America before moving to Thompson, who changed into Marella.

It was always planned that she would be moving on from the fleet, but it was believed that she would cruise with Marella for another four years. However, due to coronavirus, that’s been moved up and she is gone.

Photo: No Swan So Fine

Who is Next?

Following the announcement from Carnival, we can expect other ships to be sold. We can expect other ships from other cruise lines to be sold, too. But the problem is, is that there isn’t really a market at the moment for buying cruise ships, which makes selling cruise ships very hard.

It may mean that we see more cruise ships going to the scrapyard, who maybe have a few more years in them, which is very, very sad. But if a cruise line has no other option, they might as well get some money for scrapping a ship, rather than just having it burning money by staying with the cruise line.

Are Norwegian Cruise Line Selling Any Ships?

I have recently seen some speculation online about the Norwegian Cruise Line fleets. And if we’re going to see any Norwegian Cruise Line ships being sold, I personally don’t think so.

If I had to bet on any cruise line not selling their ships, it would probably be Norwegian Cruise Line.

Custom Made Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line has most of their ships made specifically for them. The exception to that rule is the Norwegian Spirit. She is the oldest of the fleet, but she is my personal favorite. Norwegian just spent millions of dollars refitting her. So I don’t think that they’re going to want to get rid of her at the moment.

If they did, it would be a massive shame. She’s my favorite cruise ship, and I probably would cry.

That said, if Norwegian hadn’t just spent all of this money refitting her, she probably would be a good fit for moving on. If we did see any cruise ships go for Norwegian Cruise Line, it would probably be the smaller, older ships. It’ll probably be Sky, Sun, Dawn, that type of cruise ship.

That said, people love those cruise ships and they do itineraries that the bigger cruise ships can’t do. So I really hope that we don’t lose any of those ships.

Norwegian Encore Observation Lounge

Are Royal Caribbean Selling Any Ships?

People are always wondering if we’re gonna see any Royal Caribbean ships being sold. Royal Caribbean does have a history for selling its cruise ships. So I don’t think it’s completely mad to say that they may sell some more.

They’ve currently got six cruise ships on order, and as their ships get bigger, and more exciting, the older, smaller ships kind of just fit in with the fleet less.

You’ll find a super simple cruise line sold ships summary here, check it out if you’re wondering which cruise lines have sold ships:

Sold Cruise Ships of 2020 – Cruise Line Guide

Grandeur of The Seas

One ship which was supposed to be sold was Grandeur of the Seas. This was supposed to go to Pullmantur, who Royal Caribbean partly owned, but they’ve since kind of collapsed under coronavirus, and those cruise ships have been transferred back to Royal Caribbean who sold them to the scrapyard.

Vision Class Ships

If any cruise ships for Royal Caribbean are sold, it’s likely to be the Vision class cruise ships. There were originally six of these cruise ships for Royal Caribbean, and two of them have been sold.

The Legends of the Seas and the Splendor of the Seas have been sold to Marella. So I don’t think it’s unrealistic that we will see some others within that class also go. Marella renamed the two cruise ships to be the Marella Discovery and the Marella Discovery Two.

I took a two-week cruise on the Marella Discovery, and she is absolutely fantastic. She’s been refurbished to a really high standard. You’d have no idea that she was from the nineties but you can definitely tell that she’s a Royal Caribbean ship.

The atrium just feels world Caribbean-y. The theater has the same seats in it as it did when it was built in the 90s, there’s the bar around the funnel. It’s very, very Royal Caribbean-y if you know what to look for.

Marella Discovery Cruises Pool Deck Sun Loungers Swimming Pool

Enchantment of The Seas

I have heard rumors about the Enchantment of the Seas being sold and there is a very similar-looking ship that is popping up on ship selling websites. That said, I really don’t think that you can trust these websites, but it does sometimes provide some kind of vague guidance.

She’s actually on the website for $150 million. So if you’ve got $150 million, please buy it, and please remember me and invite me on board.

Knowing how unreliable some of these ships selling websites are, I did actually contact Royal Caribbean and ask them about in Enchantment of the Seas. They told me that she’s not for sale, but I don’t think any cruise line will admit when a cruise ship is for sale until it’s actually sold because they won’t sell any itineraries if there’s any kind of questions about it. So make of that what you will.

Royal Caribbean do still actually have Empress and Majesty of the Seas who are older than the Vision Class cruise ships.

I find it a bit strange that they’ve sold off some cruise ships that are newer than the ships, but they’ve kept these ships. So if any Royal Caribbean ships go, it may be these ones too.

*** UPDATE ***

More ships have been sold since this post was published. Check out part 2 here:

MORE Sold Cruise Ships of 2020, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and More


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