Seattle-based Holland America Line has sold four cruise ships as part of parent company Carnival‘s downsizing in the wake of a disastrous downturn for the industry during the pandemic.
Only two Holland America ships — the larger Eurodam and Oosterdam — will sail from Seattle when cruising resumes, down from three last year. Company spokesperson Erik Elvejord said that was already the plan before the summer 2020 Alaska cruise season was canceled.
The sales bring Holland America’s fleet down to 10 ships, though one new vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2021.
Holland America sold both the Amsterdam, which sailed from Seattle, and the Rotterdam, each carrying about 1,400 passengers, to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, a United Kingdom firm that will base them in Scotland when they enter service later this year under new names. It also sold the Maasdam and Veendam to an unidentified buyer. Prices were not disclosed.
Carnival is shedding a total of nine vessels — some headed for the scrap yard — and has negotiated the delayed delivery of 16 new ships, President and CEO Arnold Donald said on a July 10 earnings call. He noted that the company is “now preparing for the imminent return of cruising in Germany.”
Donald added that “we’ve come full circle from entering a voluntary pause” to planning a “staggered resumption” of sailings in some regions, seeming to gloss over the government-ordered halts to cruises that followed widely publicized outbreaks aboard ships in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the U.S., cruises are on hold until at least Oct. 1. The major cruise lines had agreed with the Centers for Disease Control to extend to Sept. 15 a no-sail order that had been due to expire in late July. But this week the CDC, in a 20-page report that judged the industry’s response to the crisis harshly and noted there had been 99 outbreaks aboard 123 cruise ships in U.S. waters, extended its order through the end of September.
In another downsizing move as it became clear there would be no summer cruise season in the U.S., Holland America in May laid off about 2,000 onshore workers, primarily in Seattle and Santa Clarita, Calif.