Greek Cruise Line Says Goodbye to Aging Vessel, Turkish Buyers Enter the Scene

Celestial Olympia

Piraeus, Greece - Greek cruise operator Celestyal Cruises has waved farewell to one of its oldest ships, the Celestyal Olympia, marking a new chapter in its fleet renewal strategy. The 37,800-gross-ton Olympia (built 1982) set sail from its Greek lay-up on Tuesday, finding a new home under the Turkish flag and a mysterious new name: Bella Fortuna.

Industry sources speculate that Turkish interests bought the 1,450-berth vessel through the Marshall Islands-registered single-ship entity Voyage Shipping. While the new owner's plans remain shrouded in secrecy, some whisper about a potential Turkish cruise venture, fueled by the choice of the Liberian flag, less commonly used for scrap voyages.

VesselsValue estimates the Olympia's worth at $10.5 million, viable for both continued operation or recycling. Celestyal and its predecessor, Louis Cruises, owned the ship since 2005.

This sale marks another step in Celestyal's ongoing fleet modernization program. Two newer secondhand vessels have already joined the fold, replacing older ships. The recently departed Olympia will be replaced in the upcoming Aegean season by the Celestyal Discovery (built-in 2003), acquired from Carnival Corp's Aida Cruises brand in late 2023.

Meanwhile, Celestyal seeks a buyer for its other retired ship, the 25,600-gross-ton Celestyal Crystal (built-in 1980). The Crystal was retired last September after being replaced by the 55,900-gross-ton Celestyal Journey (built 1994), another former Carnival Corp vessel with a brief Greek ownership stint under ferry mogul Marios Iliopoulos during the pandemic.

As the Celestyal Olympia embarks on a new journey under the Turkish flag, its future path remains shrouded in intrigue. However, Celestyal Cruises's focus is clear: sailing towards a modernized fleet and a brighter future on the Aegean waves.

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