Greek passengership owner Marios Iliopoulos has emerged as the buyer of a cruiseship that was sold by Royal Caribbean Cruises in December.

The 74,100-gt Majesty of the Seas (built 1992), which had been laid up in Piraeus, recently shifted ownership from the US cruise giant's Royal Caribbean International to Eaglepower Shipping, according to the IHS Ships Register.

The vessel’s name has been shortened to Majesty.

According to shipping sources in Piraeus, Iliopoulos was not involved in the December deal. The vessel is said to have been purchased by Indian interests at the time, which then turned around and sold it on to Iliopoulos at some point in mid-January.

Eaglepower is the Cypriot-registered company through which Iliopoulos has channelled most of his seven cruiseship purchases since July 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic was wreaking havoc in the industry.

Other purchases have been made via his Greek ferry company Seajets.

Iliopoulos has carried out all these transactions through his exclusive broker Masters' Shipping — a broking boutique shop founded in Piraeus more than 50 years ago. Led by Dennis Vernardakis, Masters' Shipping has brokered more than 40 deals on behalf of the Greek shipowner.

Speculative play

While Iliopoulos has not publicly commented on his cruiseship purchases, most industry observers suggested that they have been purely speculative. Sources have said they believe his intention is to turn a profit either by selling or chartering the vessels to operators when the market recovers, or selling them for recycling.

So far the strategy has proven successful. Iliopoulos is believed to have almost tripled his investment when he flipped two former Cruises & Maritime Voyages (CMV) cruiseships that he acquired for very low prices at auction. He sold the ships to Indian ship recyclers.

Scrap prices will have to climb substantially if Iliopoulos is to make a similar profit by selling the Majesty for scrap. At the time Royal Caribbean announced the sale, market sources said it had been sold for $10m.

VesselsValue estimates it would fetch $13m if sold for demolition in India today.

Shipping sources in Piraeus, however, suggest, that Iliopoulos has different ideas in mind for the Majesty and probably intends to sell the ship for further trading.

Built at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique yard in France, the Majesty featured a panoramic restaurant around its funnel — a trademark of Royal Caribbean ships.

The Majesty is already said to have attracted interest among potential buyers.

Another four ships that Iliopoulos acquired from Carnival brands in 2020 remain laid up at various Greek ports.