As the coronavirus pandemic continues to lash at the cruise industry, one of the world’s oldest passenger ship lines, Holland America, has announced that it will be selling off four of its 15 ships – the Amsterdam, Maasdam, Rotterdam and Veendam to undisclosed buyers.
Holland America said the ships had been sold in pairs, with the S-Class Maasdam and Veendam transferring to one company in August 2020, while the R-Class Amsterdam and Rotterdam will move to another company in fall 2020.
The move comes after Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said last week that Carnival would be cutting its fleet by 13 ships amid heavy financial losses caused by the shut down of the cruise industry.
Carnival brands are selling 4 Holland America ships 9 further ships
In addition to the four ships being sold off by Holland America, another Carnival Brand, Costa Cruises is selling its 1,800-passenger capacity NeoRomantica to the Cypriot cruise line Celestyal Cruises. British cruise line P&O, also part of the Carnival stable, announced last week that it was selling the Sun-class MV Oceana, formerly the Ocean Princess, after 18 years in service as it seeks to re-organize for the post-COVID-19 era.
“It’s always difficult to see any ship leave the fleet, especially those that have a long and storied history with our company,” said Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK. “However, Holland America Line has a bright future ahead that includes recent Pinnacle-Class additions, with a third sister ship next year that will continue to maintain our overall capacity in the marketplace.”
Kruse was referring to the 2,650-passenger capacity Ryndam, scheduled to join the Holland America fleet in 2021.
The Maasdam joined the Holland America fleet in 1993 as the second of four S-Class ships. Carrying 1,258 guests, the 55,575-ton ship sailed longer South Pacific and Alaska voyages. Veendam, the final S-Class ship, was delivered in 1996 and carries 1,350 guests.
The first ship in the R Class, 61,849-ton Rotterdam was introduced in 1997. Carrying 1,404 guests, Amsterdam joined the fleet in 2000 as the final of four R-Class ships. Carrying 1,380 guests, the 62,735-ton ship most recently operated Holland America’s Grand World Voyage.
Grand World Voyage postponed, to sail aboard Zaandam
The 2021 Grand World Voyage aboard Amsterdam will be postponed until 2022 and will now sail aboard Zaandam. The Grand Africa Voyage departing October. 10, 2021, aboard Rotterdam will also sail aboard Zaandam on the same dates.
Guests with bookings on future sailings of these ships will be notified that these cruises will be cancelled or changed. Along with their travel advisors, guests will receive information if the cruise will operate with a different ship or information and special offers on how to book another Holland America Line cruise when operations resume. Guests who prefer a refund will be accommodated.
Cancelled cruises will include scheduled Canada/New England and Grand Voyages on Amsterdam; Mexico, South Pacific, Australia and Asia itineraries on Maasdam; Caribbean, Europe, Panama Canal, South America and Hawaii sailings on Rotterdam; and Caribbean and Europe itineraries on Veendam.
Fred Olsen named as buyer of Amsterdam and Rotterdam
The buyer of the Amsterdam and the Rotterdam was later revealed as UK-based Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, which will rename the ships Bolette and Borealis.
Fred. Olsen Junior, Chairman of Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “I am delighted to be announcing this news today. We have chosen these vessels as they will fit seamlessly into our existing fleet of small ships, each carrying under 1,500 guests, bringing with them new and larger public areas whilst not compromising on our small ship experience.
“The naming of the vessels is important to us. Bolette and Borealis are both names of ships we have had in years gone by.
“This increase in our capacity demonstrates our confidence in the future.”