This will give the Royal Caribbean affiliate a trio of ex- Celebrity vessels. The line currently operates the 1990 built, 48,000 ton Horizon. She will be rejoined in 2013 by her 1992 built sister ship, Zenith, which is currently sailing for Pullmantur.
Celebrity Century has spent her last few seasons alternating between the Caribbean, and summer Alaska cruises. Her disposal has been bruited for a few years now, though Celebrity has continued to constantly invest and upgrade its first true mega ship.
Built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany and delivered towards the end of 1995, the then Century was the first of a similar trio. The 71,000 ton ship was followed by two slightly larger siblings, Galaxy and Mercury. Collectively, this trio raised the bar substantially in terms of the luxury mega ship experience, with their excellent service, cuisine and facilities putting them not far below the deluxe small ships in terms of the product offered on board.
Particular emphasis was placed on the quality and placement of on board art works at the time. All three ships went a huge way towards making Celebrity a world wide brand, before the line’s annexation by Royal Caribbean in 1998. With extra large cabins and exquisite decor, these vessels were very much the benchmark for the subsequent Millennium class sisters that followed them.
When Galaxy and Mercury were passed on to the affiliated TUI Cruises, it was apparent that the older Century was also on borrowed time as a Celebrity mainstay. Despite this, she was given a major rebuild, with several hundred cabins enhanced with new, private balconies, as well as incorporating successful signature elements that had proved popular on succeeding new classes of ships.
As far as Celebrity Cruises is concerned, the Century will always remain a seminal, groundbreaking ship. Deployed over the course of her career to most cruising regions in the world, she remains a ship that still has a huge amount to offer the cruising market.
Transferring to CDF, she will be the first, truly big French flagged passenger ship since the legendary SS. France of 1962. As such, she becomes part of a continuing tradition of French maritime excellence that includes such storied names as Ile De France, Liberte and, of course, Normandie.
While no itineraries have yet become public, the renaissance of this already fabled ship under the French flag will be welcomed by many shiplovers and bon viveurs around the world. I wish this great and beautiful lady bon voyage, and many more years of happy, highly styled adventures.
DECEMBER 28, 2013: The transfer of Celebrity Century to Croisieres De France, originally denied after the initial publication of this piece, has now been confirmed. She will replace the smaller, less balcony laden Zenith from April of 2015.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2, 2014: You can disregard all of the above. It was today announced that Celebrity Century has, in fact, been sold to Chinese interests effective of April, 2015. What effect this will have on possible future fleet dispositions for Croisieres De France is as yet unannounced.