Carnival Corporation announced that its Holland America Line
unit will transfer its 1,494-passenger
Westerdam to sister company Costa Cruises in spring 2002, at the conclusion of the vessel's winter Caribbean cruise season. The vessel will then immediately reposition to Europe where it will undergo a short drydock for minor interior renovations and exterior modifications followed by a program of Mediterranean cruises beginning in June 2002.
The addition of the Westerdam next spring will be the second Carnival Corp. vessel to be transferred to the Italian cruise operator in a span of 14 months. Last month, the 1,022-passenger Costa Tropicale
, formerly Carnival Cruise Lines' Tropicale, joined the Costa fleet and will begin seven-night Mediterranean voyages from Venice in June.
"While we will continue to expand Costa with an aggressive newbuilding program with three ships currently under contract, the transfer of these two vessels provides Carnival the unique opportunity to quickly build upon
Costa's leadership position in the fast-growing European market," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corp. chairman and CEO. "Although our primary focus will be to expand our core brands through new tonnage, we will also continue to analyze potential transfers of ships within our various operating companies to maximize the earnings potential of our cruise ship assets," Arison added. For example, just last week it was decided that Seabourn Cruise Line's 758-passenger Seabourn Sun will be transferred to Holland America Line on April 23, 2002, making it the newest member of the premium cruise operator's fleet.
Pier Luigi Foschi, Costa Cruises chairman and CEO, expressed that following the transfer of the Westerdam to Costa, the vessel will undergo some minor renovations and emerge with the physical characteristics of a typical Costa ship, including a white hull and the company's signature funnel emblazoned with the company's giant "C" logo.
The Westerdam is noteworthy for being the only ship in Holland America's 127-year history to undergo an extensive lengthening and redesign. The ship was built in 1986 at Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard as the
1,000-passenger MV Homeric for now-defunct Home Lines and was acquired by Holland America two years later. In 1989, the vessel underwent an $84 million renovation and refit during which it was "stretched" by a then-cruise industry record 130 feet - increasing its capacity to 1,494 and tonnage to 53,872.