Fans of the Celebrity Century are preparing themselves for a heartfelt goodbye after the line announced that it has signed an agreement to sell the ship to a Chinese based cruise company. Exquisite Marine Ltd has been revealed as the buyer, an up and coming Chinese cruise firm operating under Ctrip International Ltd.
Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, explains, “Since its inaugural sailing, Celebrity Century has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to the Chinese cruise market.”
Almost two decades of Celebrity service
Celebrity Century was welcomed to the Celebrity fleet in 1995 and has enjoyed a successful career carrying passengers to destinations across the globe. With a capacity of just 1814 passengers, the cruising experience is wonderfully intimate. On-board, passengers enjoy state-of-the-art at sea facilities including the indulgent Canyon Ranch Spa Club, high end casino and impressive collection of gourmet dining options.
Celebrity plans to send off Century in style
To celebrate its final season, the Celebrity Century will be operating an itinerary of exclusive voyages to never before visited destinations, including the Philippines and Brunei. The send-off season will also feature special on-board programmes, commemorative cocktails, one off souvenirs and a range of special offers.
According to RCI, the ship will continue to operate its scheduled voyages until March 22 2015. After this time, guests with existing bookings will face some minor shakeups to itineraries. Those with bookings on the 15 night April 5 voyage from Dubai to Rome will be switched to a 14 night sail from Dubai to Singapore. As expected, RCI will be offering adequate compensation in the form of full refunds, trip transfers, compensation for airline changes and extra on-board credit.
Century set to serve the booming Chinese leisure cruise market
While Celebrity will be saying farewell to one of its longest serving vessels, Fain maintains that it is a savvy business move for Royal Caribbean, Ctrip and their respective shareholders.
“The vessel’s sale is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Ctrip, and will generate strong value for both companies’ shareholders,” he said.
China’s leisure cruise industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. In fact, according to Forbes, China is set to become the second biggest cruise market on the planet by 2017, surpassed only by the USA. The Chinese government is welcoming the cruise trend boom with open arms and has channelled a huge amount of cash into the construction and redevelopment of major ports and terminals over the past few years.
After the handover takes place, Celebrity Century is set to undergo a ship wide revamp which will prepare her for her new role as one of China’s top tier cruise vessels.
“Century will be renovated to provide an outstanding cruise experience to China’s leisure travellers, including premium hotel services, diversified dining options, exciting on-board facilities, varieties of entertainments, and inspiring excursions and tours,” adds Fan.
Secure a place on-board one of Century’s last voyages
If you want to catch one of Celebrity Century’s last voyages, Cruise 1st is currently running some fantastic deals! The 13 night November 11 Kuala Lumpur, Sydney Stays and Southern Oz Cruise is a great last minute getaway while the 14 night April 5 Dubai to Singapore voyage is sure to be packed full of lively farewell parties!
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: Dave R