Royal Caribbean International has sold the Empress of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas to an undisclosed buyer in the Asia-Pacific region, the company announced Dec. 16. The ships will depart the fleet later this month.
“Empress and Majesty of the Seas made indelible marks on the cruise industry with their revolutionary design and size. Touted as the cruise industry’s most ground-breaking ships when they were introduced, they continued to make history throughout their more than three decades of service,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Saying good-bye to these two beloved ships is a major moment in Royal Caribbean’s history – one that is difficult but necessary. With plans for new, innovative ships to join our fleet in the upcoming years, we look forward to our guests and crew continuing to make new memories with us.”
Empress was the first ship designed for three- and four-night cruises when launched in 1990, with initial sailings to the Bahamas from Miami. Empress also made history as the first cruise ship to sail out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, N.J., when Royal Caribbean opened the terminal in 2004. In 2017, the ship took center stage again when it set sail on the line’s inaugural cruise to Cuba.
Majesty was the third ship in the Sovereign class and was more than twice the size of the average cruise ship – and the largest in the company’s fleet – when it debuted in 1992. It launched by operating seven-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami.
Royal Caribbean is the latest cruise company to sell ships during the extended shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, in September, Carnival Corp. disclosed plans to sell or scrap 18 ships. That included the disposal of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Fascination, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration.
Carnival sister brand, Princess Cruises, transferred two ships – Golden Princess and Star Princess – to sister brand P&O Cruises Australia.
Royal Caribbean said the company that bought the Empress of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas will release details about future sailings at a later time. Guests and travel advisors with clients booked on Empress and Majesty will be contacted about their options.