Celestyal Cruises Acquires AIDAaura

Nov 16, 2023

The former AIDA cruise ship has found a new home in the fleet of Celestyal Cruises. Undergoing an official handover and flag change ceremony in Germany the vessel will be rebranded as Celestyal Discovery. The ship's new home port will be the Maltese capital, Valletta.

Celestyal Cruises plans to deploy Celestyal Discovery in the Eastern Mediterranean from March 2024. Before embarking on its new journey, substantial investments, totaling several million euros, will be made in conversion and renovation work. During a planned winter stay at the shipyard, the distinctive AIDA design will be transformed into the soothing Mediterranean blue emblematic of Celestyal Cruises.

The acquisition of AIDAaura marks another step in Celestyal Cruises' ongoing fleet rejuvenation. In the early part of 2023, the company operated two cruise ships aged over 40 years, namely Celestyal Crystal and Celestyal Olympia. Celestyal Crystal has already been replaced by a former Holland America Line ship, now sailing as Celestyal Journey in the Eastern Mediterranean. AIDAaura, taking on its new role as Celestyal Discovery, is set to replace the aging Celestyal Olympia, originally constructed in 1982. Existing guests on the Celestyal Olympia are being seamlessly rebooked onto the Celestyal Discovery, with new bookings for the latter expected to open on December 11, 2023.

The transition of AIDAaura to Celestyal Cruises raises questions about the future of Life at Sea Cruises' three-year world voyage. Following the unsuccessful takeover of AIDAaura and its failed conversion to MV Lara, the company finds itself without a vessel once again. Carnival Corporation, parent company of AIDA Cruises, has successfully found a new operator for the ship in Celestyal Cruises, ensuring a smooth handover process.