As predicted by Cruise Industly News, Holland America Line (HAL) has sold the 1983-built, 33,930-ton, 1,214-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam to American Classic Voyages (AMCV) for $114.5 million. It is believed AMCV will pay $30 million in cash, and that a seller financing option is available for the balance.
Upon its transfer to AMCV in fall 2000, the Nieuw Amsterdam will be reflagged U.S. and serve under a new name as the first vessel in AMCV's new mainstream Hawaii brand, which sources predict will be called United States Lines.
It is believed that the Nieuw Amsterdam will serve in the Hawaiian market until AMCV's first two newbuildings from Ingalls Shipbuilding are completed and in service, after which the older ship could be used by AMCV to open up other U.S. cruising regions outside Hawaii.
Prior to beginning service for AMCV, the Nieuw Amsterdam will undergo refurbishment at an as-yet unspecified West Coast U.S. yard. Work will include removal of its casino area and replacement with retail space (casino gambling on inter-island cruises is illegal in Hawaii) and the necessary signage changes. At press time, a budget for the refurbishment work had not yet been determined.
AMCV will take possession of the ship following its Olympics itineraries in Australia in summer 2000. "We should have it in service in Hawaii by late November (2000)," said Rod McLeod, president of Project America.