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Celestyal bags AIDAaura, will transform into Celestyal Discovery

Celestyal Discovery (ex AIDAaura) will debut in March 2024 after its refurbishment
Celestyal Cruises bagged itself another ship – the former AIDAaura that was retired by AIDA Cruises in September.

The ship, to be renamed Celestyal Discovery, will replace Olympia, which will cease operating under the Celestyal brand when its season ends on November 17. 

It is Celestyal’s second acquisition this year following the debut of Celestyal Journey – Holland America Line's former Ryndam – in September. 

Previously, the ship had been reported as going to Miray Cruises for its Life at Sea concept.

March debut planned

Set to debut in March 2024 when the season gets underway, Celestyal Discovery will join its fleet mate in Athens, where the ships will undergo multimillion-euro winter refurbishment programmes. 

‘Given strong market and business conditions, we are thrilled to have expedited the renewal of our fleet to welcome the Celestyal Discovery into the Celestyal family,’ explained Chris Theophilides, CEO of Celestyal Cruises. 

‘Celestyal Discovery joins the Celestyal Journey to undergo an extensive refurbishment programme over the winter period… As a confident challenger brand, our team is excited to continue to make waves across the industry next season, with a refreshed fleet, brand, network, and a renewed sense of direction.’

Destined for marquee destinations and hidden gems 

Built in 2003 for Carnival Corp. & plc, throughout its history the ship for AIDA Cruises until it was withdrawn from the fleet more than a month ago. 

It comprises 633 staterooms – 62 with balconies – and can accommodate 1,266 passengers. As a mid-sized vessel, this means Celestyal will be able to continue offering its signature itinerary blend of marquee destinations and more secluded gems. 

Takes over Celestyal Olympia programme

Cruises operated by Celestyal’s newest ship go on sale December 11, taking over Celestyal Olympia’s 2024 programme. Special launch offers will be included in the Black Friday promotions published later this week, as well as throughout Celestyal’s biggest wave campaign to date, which will kick off at the end of the year. Passengers currently holding reservations for Celestyal Olympia will be contacted after this date and re-accommodated on Celestyal Discovery, which will be refurbished by the time of sailing. 

‘Surprise additions’ 

The ship’s name symbolises the company ethos of creating moments of discovery through connecting people, places and self. 

It will comprise many Celestyal favourites: an amphitheatre with ample conference and event space, vibrant lounges, the Grillseekers speciality restaurant, a Sozo wellness retreat, an expansive pool deck with an exclusive Rays deck, the Greek deli, and a Fig and Honey gelato and juice bar. 

There will also be a few surprise additions to the customer offering added during the refurbishment. 

Further details about the onboard experience and itineraries will be announced in due course.