Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has strengthened its cruise operations by purchasing the 32,477 gt ’Seabourn Odyssey’ from Seabourn Cruise Line.
This luxury cruise ship has 229 large suite-class passenger cabins, almost all of which have balconies.
With two cruise ships, including the ’Nippon Maru’ currently operated by Mitsui OSK Passenger Line, Ltd (MOPAS), MOL Group will be able to offer a wider service operation, the company said.
The vessel, which was purchased on 17th March, was immediately chartered back to Seabourn for 18 months and will join MOPAS by the end of 2024. Prior to joining MOPAS, she will undergo refurbishment.
MOL Group sees the cruise ship business as a new growth area, and announced the construction of two 600-pax newbuildings to expand the business, in November, 2023.
The group aims to develop a high-quality international service based on a new concept that will enrich people’s lives and celebrate the culture of Japan.
In addition to the introduction of the ship, ‘Nippon Maru’ will continue to operate as before. By increasing the number of cruise ships, the number of departures and arrivals in various parts of Japan and globally will be significantly increased, MOPAS said.
By end of 2024, it is planned to operate the vessel in Japanese waters. With the adaptability of the vessel’s on board facilities, such as dining options from four restaurants, a wide promenade deck, a retractable marina and comfortable suites with a private balcony in all guest rooms, itineraries of various lengths will be developed from round-the-world cruises to short trips, which make optimum use of this size of vessel.
MOPAS is to announce the vessel’s new name, cruise packages and prices by the summer of this year.
MOL will establish a headquarters for its Wellbeing & Lifestyle Business in April, 2023, as well as a new Cruise Business Innovation Project Unit that will develop and lead the expansion of cruising.
MOPAS and the new organisation will work closely together to offer cruise services. In addition, to promote this project from a more global perspective, MOL has appointed a new Senior Executive Advisor, Anthony Kaufman, who has extensive knowledge and expertise in the US cruise ship business.
Kaufman has held key positions with Carnival, Holland America Group and Princess Cruises, where he played a major role in the development of the inbound and outbound markets in Japan.