Skip to content

Coronavirus crisis claims another small cruise line -- the third in a month

July 28, 2020
5 min read
FTI Cruises Berlin
Coronavirus crisis claims another small cruise line -- the third in a month
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Another small cruise line has shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

FTI Cruises, a German brand with just one ship, has operated its last voyage, according to several German cruise sites.

While little known in North America, FTI Cruises offered voyages in Europe and the Caribbean that catered to English speakers as well as Germans. Both English and German were spoken on board its one vessel, the 412-passenger Berlin.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's new cruise newsletter.

FTI Cruises is a subsidiary of FTI Group, one of the largest tour operators in Europe. In addition to FTI Cruises, it owns multiple tour companies, a rental car company, a hospitality company with five hotel brands and the flight booking portal fly.de.

FTI Cruises is the third small cruise brand to fold this month as the coronavirus-caused halt to most cruising worldwide takes a growing toll on the industry.

Just last week, U.K.-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages shut down after days of scrambling to find emergency funding.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

FTI Cruises Berlin
The 412-passenger Berlin starred for many years in a German television show called Das Traumschiff ("The Dream Ship"). (Photo by Piergiuliano Chesi)

Catering mostly to British travelers, the six-ship brand was the U.K.’s second-biggest cruise operator after Carnival Corporation’s P&O Cruises.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Cruise & Maritime’s collapse, in turn, came just two weeks after Sweden-based Birka Cruises went out of business, citing the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic. Birka Cruises offered two- to four-night Baltic cruises out of Stockholm, Sweden, as well as day trips around the Stockholm archipelago.

The coronavirus crisis also has led to the insolvency of Spain-based Pullmantur Cruises. The three-ship operator, which is partly owned by Royal Caribbean Group, announced last month that it had filed for reorganization under Spanish insolvency laws.

Pullmantur blamed headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic that were “too strong … to overcome.”

Related: Cruise giant Carnival to be a smaller line when cruising resumes

It is unclear whether Pullmantur will return to operations. Two of Pullmantur’s three ships in recent days have sailed to ship-scrapping town Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling.

A spokesperson for FTI Cruises did not immediately respond to questions from TPG about the fate of Berlin, the line's one ship. Dating to 1980, the seven-deck vessel is now 40 years old.

English speakers may recall Berlin as the former Spirit of Adventure at U.K.-based cruise line Saga Cruises. The vessel has been sailing for FTI Cruises since 2012.

Berlin originally was built for the now-defunct Peter Deilmann Cruises.

Berlin is a well-known ship in Germany, where it starred for more than a decade on a popular television show called Das Traumschiff ("The Dream Ship"). The show is sort of a German equivalent of American television's "The Love Boat."

The coronavirus-caused halt to most cruising around the world has taken a financial toll on many cruise brands, but so far the only lines to shut down are based in Europe.

Related: Why the scrapping of Sovereign of the Seas is so heartbreaking

The big, publicly traded cruise companies that control many of North America's biggest cruise brands, including Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Group, have said they have enough liquidity to stay solvent well into 2021 -- even if cruising doesn't resume in a meaningful way.

Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Seabourn and five overseas brands.

Royal Caribbean Group is the parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea.

While many major lines have pushed back their return to operations until at least October, a few lines are hoping to resume sailings in select areas around the world earlier. Indeed, a handful of lines — mostly river lines — already have restarted sailings in Europe. For now, the trips only are available to local travelers from select European countries.

Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak:

Featured image by The 412-passenger Berlin. (Photo by _Piergiuliano Chesi)

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023