Chinese travel company Ctrip International has entered into an agreement to purchase one of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships.
The Celebrity Century liner will be sold to Exquisite Marine Ltd, a subsidiary of Ctrip, for approximately US$20 million, with the handover expected to take place in April 2015.
“As the largest cruise agency in China, Ctrip has sent over 120,000 guests to cruise trips so far and acquired more than 10% of market share in China. We are excited about the strong growth of the cruise industry and strive to strengthen our leadership in this market,” said Min Fan, vice chairman & president of Ctrip.
“We are thrilled about our acquisition of Celebrity Century, which is one of the top-tier vessels in the world.”
The 1,814-passenger vessel will now be renovated in line with the needs of Chinese travellers, including a range of “premium hotel services, diversified dining options, exciting onboard facilities [and] varieties of entertainments”, according to Ctrip. Passengers will also be offered a series of excursions and tours.
And to further boost its cruise operations, Ctrip has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Royal Caribbean to form a joint venture to manage the operations of the newly-acquired cruise ship. The MoU also provides scope to “potentially broaden the relationship” in future.
“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,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman & CEO of Royal Caribbean. “The vessel’s sale is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Ctrip, and will generate strong value for both companies’ shareholders.”
The 71,535-tonne Celebrity Century was built in Germany in 1995. It will now complete its scheduled sailings on 22 March 2015 before being redeployed to Asia on a 14-night sailing from Dubai to Singapore, departing on 5 April 2015.