New Discovery: How the ship will look (Picture: Celestyal Cruises)
Greek cruise line Celestyal has bought a ship from German operator Aida to become Celestyal Discovery, sailing from March 2024.
It will be the second new member of the fleet within a year after Celestyal Journey – the former Holland America ship Ryndam – sailed her maiden voyage in September 2023.
Both ships will undergo multimillion-pound refurbishments this winter, ready for the spring season.
Built in 2003, Celestyal Discovery has been sailing as AIDAaura, which was reported to be the ship being bought by Miray Cruises subsidiary Life At Sea for a record-breaking three-year cruise originally due to set sail on November 1. That didn’t happen and Miray Cruises CEO Kendra Holmes has resigned.
With 633 staterooms, including 62 balconies, and able to carry 1,266 guests, Discovery will be a similar size to Celestyal Journey and Celestyal Crystal. She will replace the 1,664-passenger Celestyal Olympia, with cruises going on sale from December 11. Guests booked on Olympia in 2024 will be offered sailings instead on Discovery. Celestyal said: ‘There are no plans for Olympia to operate in the brand following the conclusion of her season on November 17, 2023.’
The company also confirmed that Celestyal Crystal will no longer be sailing for the line in 2024.
Like other ships in the fleet, Celestyal Discovery will have a theatre, lounges, the Grillseekers speciality restaurant, a Sozo wellness retreat, a pool deck with an exclusive Rays deck, the Greek Deli and a Fig and Honey gelato and juice bar. Some surprises being added during the dry dock in Greece will be announced in due course.
Celestyal CEO Chris Theophilides said: ‘Given strong market and business conditions, we are thrilled to have expedited the renewal of our fleet to welcome Celestyal Discovery into the Celestyal family.’
Life At Sea has been approached for comment.