Ship sail

French start-up buys former Holland America ship to launch new line

Maasdam operated for Holland America from 1993 to 2020 and is now set to launch a new French cruise line (Roger Wollstadt photo – CC BY-SA 2.0)

Posted on August 23, 2022 at 6:25 p.m. by

The Maritime Executive

A group of French entrepreneurs has acquired one of the former Holland America Line cruise ships sold during the pandemic with the intention of reviving their efforts for a cruise line marketed in France. The former Holland America Line Maasdam recently adopted the new name of Renaissance and the Marseille-based Compagnie Française de Croisières (CFC) plans to announce its new cruises in September.

Reports indicate that the CFC is launched by partners Clément Mousset and Cédric Rivoire Perrochat. The two leaders had worked with UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages to launch the dedicated French cruise operation. CMV had marketed cruises from 2016 in France and announced plans in late 2019 to launch a French division of the company. They were due to begin year-round sailing in May 2021. CMV has announced that it will refit the cruise line ship astor and renamed it Jules Verne. The plan, however, fell through due to the suspension of the cruise in March 2020 and the financial collapse of CMV later that summer.

The leaders are delaying details of their new effort until the September press conference. However, they are linked to the sale of the former Holland America Maasdamwhich has been laid up in Greece since the summer of 2020. Greek investors who also own Seajets, a Greek ferry operator, have bought a series of cruise ships mainly from Carnival Corporation as the company seeks to accelerate the disposal of larger vessels elders during the pandemic. industry break. Maasdam was renamed Aegean myth but lay dormant as it was thought Seajets was looking for a long-term buyer or charter.

Built in 1993, the 55,500 gross ton cruise ship was the second in a new class of ships built for Holland America Line by Fincantieri shortly after the line was acquired by Carnival. Accommodating 1,200 passengers, the cruise ship has played a key role in Carnival’s expansion and modernization of Holland America. Later it was replaced by larger cruise ships as Holland America placed the Maasdam on longer cruises and sending her to exotic destinations. She with her sister ship Veendam and two other sister ships that operated for P&O Australia were all sold by Carnival in 2020. Three of the ships were acquired by Seajets who offered them for resale while the fourth ship was acquired by Portuguese investors and now operates on charter with Nico Cruises.

CFC’s efforts to launch a French-speaking cruise line are not the first recent efforts to develop the market. Prior to CMV’s plans for France, Spain’s Pullmantur tried to develop the French cruise market. In 2008, together with Royal Caribbean which had acquired Pullmantur, they launched Croisières de France, a new cruise brand using the ship built in 1981 Europe renamed French blue. The cruise ship was sold in 2011 but they replaced it with other ships from Pullmantur before disbanding the brand in 2016.

Other cruise lines including Ponant are based in France but market their ships internationally. The new cruise line will be mainly marketed in France and onboard operations will be French-speaking. Details on the first cruise and itineraries are expected to be announced on September 6.

Top photo of Maasdam in 1999 in Oslo, Norway by Roger Wollstadt (CC BY-SA 2.0 Licence)