Published: January 27, 2021 - 12:01 AM
Speculation: Who are the potential buyers for Princess Cruises boutique sized cruise ship Pacific Princess sold to unidentified buyers.
Thinking I was smart, I started writing news articles on Sunday for the week ahead. I wrote the article below thinking the new owner for the Pacific Princess would not be announced until a later date. Well I was wrong but my prediction was correct.
On Monday, it was announced that the Pacific Princess is set to be become the 4th ship in the Azamara Fleet. The new name for the Pacific Princess has not yet been announced, but after a refit, she is expected to emerge in Europe in 2022 under a new identity. The ship is nearly identical to her Azamara sisters - Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest and Azamara Pursuit, The Azamara Brand was sold by Royal Caribbean to Sycamore partners which was formally announced last week. The new owners have vowed to grow the brand and wasted no time in acquiring additional capacity. With the addition of the Pacific Princess the Azamara Brand has increased their capacity by 33%.
Here is the article that I wrote over the weekend - which I still feel would be a good read.
As announced in yesterday's post, Carnival Corporation continues to rationalize their fleet by removing old and non-mega-ships from their ranks. The latest ship impacted by the reductions was Princess Cruises' Pacific Princess. Originally built as the R3 for Renaissance Cruises in 1999 (later named the R-Three and Renaissance 3) was one of a class of 8 ships built for now defunct Renaissance Cruises. The R3 joined Princess Cruises in 2002 and had a loyal following. The sail of the ship was not an unexpected event - since she does not fit the current mould of the Carnival brand fleet.
At the time of the announcement the identity of the new owners was not revealed. It is highly unlikely that the ship has been sold for scrap due to it's age, condition and reputation.
Putting on our thinking caps, here is our list of potential buyers:
Sycamore Partners - Late last week Royal Caribbean announced the sale of the Azamara brand to Sycamore Partners. Sycamore Partners has an eye on expanding the brand and the Pacific Princess is an almost identical sister to the current Azamara fleet. The Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest and Azamara Pursuit are all former Renaissance Cruises ships of the same class. The Pacific Princess would be an ideal addition to their fleet.
Just an interesting fact, the Azamara Pursuit has roots with Princess Cruises. Prior to being sold to Azamara Cruises sailed for Princess Cruises' as the Royal Princess - so there is a linkage between the Princess and Azamara brands.
Oceana Cruises - Oceana Cruises - a sub-brand of Norwegian Cruise Line, operates 3 ex Renaissance ships of the same class, so the Pacific Princess would be an excellent addition. Norwegian Cruise Line is facing financial pressures due to the extended pandemic, but based on the low price to acquire a second hand ship, it may be an irresistible deal. Currently Oceana operates the Nautica, Sirena and Insignia all Renaissance Class ships - in addition Oceana has built an number of new ships - so second hand tonnage may no longer be desirable.
Just another interesting fact, Oceana and Princess Cruises also have a relationship. The Sirena previously operated as the Tahitian Princess/Ocean Princess for Princess Cruises before being acquired by Oceana.
SeaJets - Seajets had been acquiring second hand cruise ships by the bunch. Seajets acquired 6 second hand ships ...the Veendam, Maasdam, Ryndam of Holland America; the Oceana of P&O Cruises; the Columbus and Magellan of defunct Cruise and Maritime Voyages.
There may be some signs that the buying spree for Seajets may be coming to an end - since Seajets, just recently tried to find accommodation ship employment for the Magellan but when employment could not be found, immediately the ship was sold for scrap and will be beached in Alang India for scrapping any day now.
Since Holland America and P&O Cruises have prior dealings with Seajets, so Seajets is also a potential buyer who may have come to the table.
New Entrants or Those Expanding - There are a number of cruise lines that have been planning a start up for years and have expressed an interest in converting second hand tonnage. Included in these is Blue World Voyages who has been seeking a ship to operate healthy cruising for active people; Unknown buyers who are looking to enter the cruise sector.
Existing Cruise Lines that may be looking at expansion include: Atlas Cruises / Nikko Cruise - who in a surprise move, acquired the Vasco Da Gama (ex Statendam) from Cruise and Maritime Voyages at auction; Germany's Phoenix Reisen - who operates mid-sized ships for older German speaking passengers. The Pacific Princess would be a great addition to Phoenix Reisen fleet. The list continues......
Scrappers Although highly unlikely, in this climate it is always a possibility. Bad timing combined with a shortage of cash can lead to a shortage of bidders. Scrappers always seem to have the funds available to bid on ships - especially at bargain basement prices.
I suspect that the fate of the Pacific Princess will be announced within the next 1-2 months. I have my fingers crossed that the ship, due to it pristine condition and following among cruisers, will find further employment. Stay tuned at NYCruiseInfo for the latest updates.RELATED ARTICLES
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