JUNE 2, 2016 —Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to sell its cruise ship Legend of the Seas to to U.K.-based Thomson Cruises, a member of Germany's TUI Group, in the spring of 2017.
The 69,130-gross-registered-tons ship carries 1,832 guests (double occupancy) and 726 crew. She was delivered by shipbuilder STX France in 1995.Royal Caribbean says the transaction "will result in an immaterial gain which will be recognized upon delivery of the ship"
"Since its inaugural sailing, Legend of the Seas has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to Thomson Cruises," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "While she will be missed, her transition supports 'double-double' and our objective of moderate capacity growth."
Announced in July 2014, the "double-double program" sets targets to double Royal Caribbean's per-share earnings by 2017 over 2014levels as well as raise its return on invested capital by double digits.
Legend of the Seas' final sailing for Royal Caribbean will commence on March 13, 2017, and all officers and crew will remain with the company and will be transferred to other vessels worldwide after the ship leaves the Royal Caribbean International fleet.
The sale follows last year's sale of sister Vision-class ship Splendour of the Seas to TUI Cruises GmbH (a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and TUI Group) which is leasing it to Thomson Cruises.
That ship is currently completing refurbishment in a Spanish shipyard and will make its in inaugural cruise for Thomson, under the new name of TUI Discovery, later this month.
TUI Group said the acquisition of Legend of the Seas accelerates its modernization of Thomson Cruises, which is part of its British subsidiary TUI UK & Ireland which is acquiring the 63,000 tonne vessel directly from Royal Caribbean.
Thomson Cruises will operate the Legend, to be renamed TUI Discovery 2, from May 2017.
The acquisition of Legend of Seas will grow the Thomson Cruises fleet six ships.
Legend's sister ship, Splendour of the Seas, will soon start sailing for Thomson as TUI Discovery