SunStone Ships has confirmed a deal to sell one of the older expedition cruiseships in its fleet to French river cruise specialist CroisiEurope
TradeWinds reported in late April that CroisiEurope would branch into deep-sea expedition cruising and eyeing up the 5,200-gt Silver Discoverer (built 1989), although at the time it was unclear whether the company was planning to charter the ship or buying it outright.
The Silver Discoverer will be handed over to its new Strasbourg-based owner in Singapore in August after it completes its long-term charter to Silversea Cruises.
It will be refitted and renamed La Belle Des Oceans before re-entering service in early 2020.
In a statement sent to TradeWinds overnight, SunStone president & CEO Niels-Erik Lund said efforts were being made to find buyers for two other ships in the SunStone fleet that are now deemed to be surplus to requirements.
The largest of these is the 800-passengers, 19,100-gt cruiseship Gemini (built 1992), which is operated by Turkish tour Etstur on a seasonal basis.
It is available for delivery from October this year.
The 120-passenger, 4,200-gt expedition cruiseship Sea Spirit (built 1991) has also been placed on the market and is described as being available for delivery to a new owner or charterer from May 2022.
SunStone Ships poised to order more cruiseships at China Merchants Heavy Industry
Alternatively, Lund indicates that SunStone is willing to sell the ship immediately provided the buyer is willing to charter it back on a bareboat basis until its charter to Poseidon Expeditions concludes in 2022.
Poseidon, which specializes in polar expedition cruises, has yet to announce a replacement vessel, although it is likely that the company is eyeing up one of the series of new Infinity-class expedition ships that SunStone is building in China.
SunStone so far has six of the 7,900-gt expeditions ships on order in China, and has options for several more.
The ships are proving especially popular with expedition cruise lines that are seeking to upgrade from older ships and converted research vessels.
SunStone orders two more expedition cruiseships in China
This week European travel media sources revealed that Copenhagen-based Albatros Expeditions will charter SunStone’s sixth Infinity-class vessel on a long-term basis when it is completed in 2022. It was reported that the ship will enter service as the Ocean Albatros.
Albatros will in addition take the Infinity-class vessel Ocean Victory in charter on a seasonal basis to run cruises to the Antarctic. The vessel, which is due for delivery in 2020, will spend the Northern summer in Alaskan waters on charter to US-based Victory Cruise Lines.