Fred. Olsen Cruises announced that it has taken delivery on the first of the two cruise ships it bought from Carnival Corporation’s Holland America Line. The company anticipates the delivery of the second ship shortly.
Holland America’s former flagship the Rotterdam was renamed Borealis by Fred. Olsen and arrived today, September 4, in the Scottish port of Rosyth. Sailing under Scotland’s the iconic Forth and Queensferry bridges, the ship went to at Babcock’s Rosyth facilities. The ship was still in Holland America colors. The plan is to begin a refit of the ship, repainting her to Fred. Olsen’s exterior color scheme as well as interior renovations to create a more traditional British feel to the ship.
“This is an important milestone for us and marks the start of a new future for our company,” said Peter Deer, Managing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. “It is great to see the first of our two new ships, Borealis, alongside next to the rest of our fleet. We can now begin our rebranding work to add those trademark Fred. Olsen touches to the interior and exterior of the vessel, including our famous red funnels.
The former Rotterdam had made an extended voyage from Manila after debarking the Holland America crew to make a final call in her namesake city of Rotterdam. Then she underwent an inspection at the Damen shipyard in Rotterdam before making the trip to Scotland.
The second cruise ship that Fred. Olsen also acquired was Holland America’s other former flagship the Amsterdam, which is a close sister ship in design to the former Rotterdam. The Amsterdam had been on her annual world cruise in March 2020 when the pandemic struck. She off-loaded her passengers in Australia before starting a voyage back to the United States. She reached as far as South Africa before being ordered to make a return voyage across the Indian Ocean to Indonesia and the Philippines to also debark her crew. When she was sold she followed the Rotterdam on a voyage that took her through the Suez Canal and to the city of Rotterdam. She is currently completing her inspection at the Damen shipyard before making the voyage also to Scotland. Renamed the Bolette, she is due to arrive in mid-September.
Fred. Olsen took the opportunity of Carnival Corporation’s efforts to downsize its fleet by accelerating the departure of older ships to upgrade its cruise operations. Although a Norwegian company, Fred. Olsen operated four cruise ships focused on the UK market. The acquisition of the larger ships from Holland America is being used as an opportunity to retire two 1970s vintage cruise ships, the Black Watch and Boudicca from the Fred Olsen fleet.
The newly acquired ships will assume the itineraries of the two older ships that are being retired when they enter service in 2021.
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