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Carnival dispose of 19 cruise ships

Regular visitor: the Veendam cruise ship docked in Hamilton. The ship is one of 19 being disposed of by cruise ship operator Carnival Corporation. The Veendam is now owned by a company in Greece, and has been renamed Aegean Majesty (File photograph)

One of the major cruise operators that sails to Bermuda burnt through an average of $500 million a month during the fourth quarter. In a preliminary summary, Carnival Corporation reported adjusted net loss of $1.9 billion for the three-month period.

The company has been hit hard by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused it to pause cruise operations last March. It is in the process of disposing of 19 ships from its fleet.

However, Carnival Corp said it sees promising signs due to future bookings in the second half of this year, and in the first half of 2022, and added that it has enough liquidity to survive in a zero-revenue environment throughout 2021.

Carnival, Princess Cruises, and AIDA Cruises are among Carnival Corporation’s portfolio, and the three lines have a total of 18 scheduled voyages to Bermuda this year, beginning with the Carnival Pride, which is due to be the first cruise ship to berth at the island this year. It is scheduled to arrive at King’s Wharf, Dockyard, on April 7.

Of the 19 ships Carnival Corp is disposing from its fleet, 15 have already departed. Among the ships that have gone is the Veendam, which was a regular visitor to Bermuda for more than 20 years, and most recently came to the island in 2018.

Operated by Holland America Line, part of the Carnival group, the Veendam was small enough to access Hamilton harbour, and also served St George’s where it would moor at Murray’s Anchorage, off the north shore, where passengers would be tendered to the Old Towne.

The 720-foot ship, built in 1996, is now in the eastern Mediterranean, near Greece, having been sold to fast ferry company Seajets, which has recently purchased six second-hand cruise ships. The Veendam has been renamed Aegean Majesty, and is Bermuda-flagged.

Arnold Donald, president and chief executive officer of Carnival Corp, said the ships being disposed of represent about 13 per cent of the company’s capacity before it paused operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “The sale of less efficient ships will result in future operating expense efficiencies of approximately two per cent per available lower berth day and a reduction in fuel consumption of approximately one per cent per ALBD [available lower berth day]. The company recently took delivery of two ships and expects only one more ship to be delivered in fiscal 2021, compared to five ships that were originally scheduled for delivery."

He added: “With the aggressive actions we have taken, managing the balance sheet and reducing capacity, we are well positioned to capitalise on pent up demand and to emerge a leaner, more efficient company, reinforcing our industry leading position.”

Bermuda’s cruise ship schedule this year has 179 projected ship visits between April and December. There were only four cruise ship visits last year, although 196 had originally been scheduled.

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Published January 13, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 12, 2021 at 6:12 pm)

Carnival dispose of 19 cruise ships

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