Royal Caribbean has announced that two of its older ships — Empress of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas — are leaving the cruise line’s fleet.
Both ships, launched in 1990 and 1992, respectively, have been sold to “an undisclosed party, based in Asia-Pacific.”
“Saying goodbye to these two beloved ships is a major moment in Royal Caribbean’s history – one that is difficult but necessary,” said Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley. “With plans for new, innovative ships to join our fleet in the upcoming years, we look forward to our guests and crew continuing to make new memories with us.”
Currently, Empress of the Seas is sitting off the coast of Malta in the Mediterranean, according to CruiseMapper.com. She had been scheduled to sail from Miami and New York once cruises returned.
Majesty the Seas is off the coast of Crete, Greece. She had been scheduled to sail 7-day itineraries from the Port of New Orleans. Notably, the departure leaves no Royal Caribbean trips from New Orleans on the cruise line’s website.
Several Cruise Ships Sold or Scrapped Across Fleets
The sale of Empress and Majesty continues a trend across the cruise industry since the grip of the pandemic took hold. Older, smaller vessels have now been sold off by multiple cruise lines.
According to the statement from the company, these ships won’t meet the same fate as a number of other ships that have sold during the past few months. Instead of heading to a scrapyard, Royal Caribbean indicates they will continue on cruises. The party that purchased the ships “will release details for future sailings at a later time.”
While some passengers prefer these smaller vessels, they are dated in the cruise industry. Not only are they less efficient from a business standpoint (garnering lower fares and more crew per passenger carried), but they also simply don’t have the space or amenities that modern cruise ships can offer.
Consider that Empress of the Seas carries just about 1,800 passengers. Symphony of the Seas — the cruise line’s largest ship — offers space for more than 6,000 at full capacity.
Carnival Corporation, for example, is in the process of selling off a total of 18 ships across its different cruise lines.
These two ships may not be the only ones to go either. Notably, Rhapsody of the Seas — another older Royal Caribbean ship — is listed for sale. When we first covered the listing in August, it was priced at $150 million on YachtWorld.com. Today, that price is just half that amount: $75 million.
In other words, there is a possibility that other ships could be leaving the fleet in the future.