Piraeus-based Celestyal Cruises has sold a cruiseship it bought from Carnival Corp subsidiary Costa Cruises in July last year but never put into service.

The sale of the 56,800-gt Celestyal Experience (built 1993, ex Costa neoRomantica) was announced on Friday, with the company citing a need to defer capacity growth and focus on regaining momentum in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"After careful thought and consideration, the company has sold the Celestyal Experience and will continue to operate the same-size fleet that served it well prior to the pandemic," it said.

Celestyal is again left with the 37,800-gt Celestyal Olympia (built 1982) and 25,600-gt Celestyal Crystal (built 1980).

The ships operated a summer season of cruises in Aegean this year, but the Celestyal Experience has remained laid up in Piraeus since it was bought.

While Celestyal did not reveal how much it sold the Celestyal Experience for, its parent company Louis Group said in an announcement to the Cyprus bourse that the sale generated an accounting gain of $3.6m.

"The decision to sell the Experience will also provide the company with enhanced liquidity, which in combination with zero third-party debt forms the continued solid financial foundation to ensure a successful restart in March 2022," Celestyal said.

The company said it would continue to explore opportunities for its fleet rejuvenation ambitions "when the time is right".

While Celestyal did not disclose the ship’s buyer, cruise sources told TradeWinds that UK-based Ambassador Cruises and Portugal’s Mystic Invest were both actively looking to acquire midsize cruiseships.