Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas ship sold to Cordelia Cruises India (Essel Group)

   December 28, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

A week after RCI-Royal Caribbean International announced that Empress of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas leave the fleet, Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd (India) revealed the purchase of Empress OTS which will sail under the newly formed cruise line Cordelia Cruises India.

Commenting about the new Indian brand and the purchase of Empress OTS, Cordelia Cruises' President and CEO Jurgen Bailom said:

"It gives me immense pleasure to inform you that Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd. that recently acquired over the Jalesh Cruises brand, has decided to further capitalize the immense potential of cruising by entering in the Indian market with Empress OTS, that belonged to the global giant Royal Caribbean International until recently.

With an individual capacity of 2,000 passengers, she has sailed many coastlines and high seas in her glorious past. I look forward to your support in continuing the legacy of Jalesh Cruises in upholding the spirit, culture, and value of "Incredible India" and being the evangelist of Joy by curating memorable cruise holidays that delight customers."

The company said it was already in the process of adding a second ship to its fleet but didn't mention if there were negotiations to buy Majesty OTS.

Empress Of The Seas cruise ship

In late-August 2018, Zen Cruises/Jalesh (a new company established by Essel Group India) was announced as buyer of the vessel Pacific Jewel. Essel Group (1926-founded, headquartered in Mumbai India) is an Indian conglomerate of several corporations with business divisions in media, news, technology, entertainment, packaging, infrastructure developments, financial services, precious metals (gold and silver refinery), education, charity. The Essel Group-owned Zen Cruises is lead by Jurgen Bailom (CEO and President).

In January 2020, Jalesh Cruises announced the planned acquisition of a second ship to double the fleet's capacity. The second-hand vessel (the name was not announced) was scheduled to start operations in October 2020. In mid-October 2020, Jalesh announced in a statement that the company suspends operations permanently due to the ongoing COVID-related port closures and international travel restrictions.

Jalesh India suspended (initially temporarily) passenger shipping since March 12, 2020, mounting debts from creditors. MS Karnika ship (Pacific Jewel) remained permanently docked at Port Mumbai (Bombay) with a skeleton crew of 60. In October, the company's creditors (via India's Admiralty Court) had the vessel arrested in Port Mumbai.

Jalesh Cruises planned to restart operations on November 6, 2020. India's Government permitted cruise vessels to start passenger shipping from October 1. The cruise ship's AIS transmitted for the last time on November 24, 2020, showing the vessel anchored near Alang Ship Breaking Yard. Unfortunately, this beautiful 30-year-old liner joined CruiseMapper's Scrapped Cruise Ships hub.