Cordelia Cruises, a new Indian cruise start-up, has emerged as the buyer of a Royal Caribbean International ship that was reported sold earlier in December.

Cordelia released a statement on social media over the past weekend revealing that it had acquired the 48,600-gt Empress of the Seas (built 1990), one of two cruiseships that the Royal Caribbean Group flagship brand recently sold.

Behind Cordelia is Waterways Leisure Tourism, an Indian-registered company that recently acquired the Jalesh Cruises brand name.

Jalesh, which billed itself as India’s first international-standard cruise operator, was left shipless at the end of October after creditors forced the auction of its 70,300-gt Karnika (built 1990) through the Bombay High Court.

The Karnika was sold for recycling at Alang.

Jurgen Bailom, Jalesh’s chief executive, blamed the company’s financial problems on the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent Indian lockdown.

Baliom, along with other members of Jalesh’s senior management team, have sailed over to Cordelia.

Bailom, who now holds the positions of president and chief executive at Cordelia, said that Waterways had decided to “further capitalise the immense potential of cruising by entering in the Indian market”.

“We are also working on adding a second ship to the luxury line, the details of which will be shared in due course,” he added.

Indian company registers list Waterways as having been incorporated in Delhi on 2 November. Its two listed directors, Vikay Kher and Saurabh Jain, also have directorships in companies involved in the hospitality and logistics sectors.

Busy year for cruise S&P

The Empress of the Seas was sold at the same time as the 74,000-gt Majesty of the Seas (built 1992).

While Royal Caribbean said the ships had been sold to Asian interests, it did not reveal the identities of the buyers, nor the prices paid.

Cruise industry observers who have been following recent vessel sales said the Empress of the Seas was sold for about $8.5m, while the Majesty of the Seas was sold for about $10.5m.

VesselsValues lists 21 cruiseships as having been sold for further trading in 2020.

During the year, several more cruiseships were sold to leasing companies via financing deals with existing operators.

A dozen more cruiseships were scrapped.

Brokers working the cruiseship sector have described 2020 as the most active on the sale-and-purchase front in decades.