(1 p.m. BST) -- Marella Cruises has confirmed that the much-loved Marella Celebration has been retired early from the line’s fleet following 15 years sailing under the Thomson and Marella brand.
The news comes as Marella extends its pause in cruise operations for a third time -- through June 30, 2020 -- as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic and upon the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth’s office advice not to travel.
In a statement, Marella Cruises said: “Marella Celebration is one of the longest standing and most loved ships in the Marella Cruises fleet.
“She’s sailed with the cruise line for 15 years, carrying almost half a million passengers. The ship was due to homeport in Dubrovnik in summer ’20 and summer ’21 and Cyprus and Dubai for the winter season.”
In an exclusive interview with Cruise Critic in March 2019, the line’s managing director, Chris Hackney, confirmed plans to retire its “classic” ships -- Celebration and Dream -- within five years.
"They've been in the fleet a number of years and the next stage will be looking at replacement plans for when we retire those ships further down the line. I would say they Dream and Celebration will retire in the next five years. That's realistically the timeline,” Hackney said at the time.
The line has not yet confirmed when it plans to retire Marella Dream, though it has revealed future itineraries are currently being worked out and a further announcement will be made next week.