Cyprus-based Louis Cruise Lines (LCL) has purchased the Nieuw Amsterdam from Carnival Corporation in a 10-year bareboat/hire agreement. But while Carnival sold the ship to American Classic Voyages (AMCV) for $114 million two years ago, and after AMCV put another $21 million into the ship, LCL was able to acquire the ship in a deal valued at $65 million.

LCL, which traditionally operates older vessels on short cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean, has in turn chartered the 1983-built ship to British tour operator Thomson Holidays for an initial three-and-a­ half years with an option for a further three-year extension. The total value of the initial contract is more than $100 million, according to LCL.

The time charter to Thomson will start in May 2003 when the first payment is also slated to be made to Carnival.