UK-based Fred Olsen Cruises has sold two recently retired cruiseships to Turkish interests for use as accommodations ships.

The 28,600-gt sisterships Black Watch (built 1972) and Boudicca (built 1973) have been the backbone of Fred Olsen's fleet for decades but were recently replaced by two larger, newer cruiseships acquired from Carnival Corp’s Holland America Line.

In recent months there was speculation in the cruise industry and on social media that Fred Olsen was going to sell both for recycling.

The company ended that speculation on Friday when it announced a non-scrap sale for both ships.

“Following the announcement that Black Watch and Boudicca are retired from our fleet, we can announce that both ships have now been sold and will begin a new life as accommodation vessels for a company in Turkey,” the company said.

It added that the crews were preparing the vessels for their delivery voyages to Turkey, with the Boudicca set to depart this week.

Both ships have been laid up in the Scottish port of Rosyth since the onset of the pandemic.

Some industry sources believe the vessels have been sold to Miray International, a Turkish cruiseship management company that frequently charters cruiseships and ferries to use as accommodation for workers involved with major refits of cruiseships at various European shipyards.

TradeWinds was unable to reach Miray for confirmation on Monday morning.

Fred Olsen Cruises parent Bonheur has yet to comment on the deal.

Fred Oslen Cruises is controlled by Anette Olsen-led Bonheur. Photo: Ida von Hanno Bast