Skip to content

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed its first cruise line

June 22, 2020
4 min read
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed its first cruise line
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.

The possibility of a cruise line becoming insolvent due to the cruise industry's widespread, coronavirus-caused shutdown is no longer theoretical.

Spanish cruise operator Pullmantur Cruises, which is partly owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises, has filed for reorganization under Spanish insolvency laws, Royal Caribbean Cruises said Monday.

Royal Caribbean Cruises owns 49% of the three-ship company, which caters to Spanish speaking vacationers from Spain and Latin America.

“Despite the great progress the company made to achieve a turnaround in 2019 and its huge engagement and best efforts of its dedicated employees, the headwinds caused by the pandemic are too strong for Pullmantur to overcome without a reorganization,” Pullmantur’s board of directors said in a statement.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In announcing the restructuring, Royal Caribbean Cruises said Pullmantur management notified employees of the decision after filings were made with Spanish authorities.

For now, Pullmantur has canceled all sailings through Nov. 15. Royal Caribbean Cruises said passengers booked on affected sailings would be offered the option to sail on ships operated by other Royal Caribbean Cruises brands.

Royal Caribbean Cruises is the parent company of its namesake Royal Caribbean brand as well as Celebrity Cruises and Azamara. It also is a part owner of German brand TUI Cruises through a joint venture.

While Pullmantur is little known to most Americans, its three ships are well-known to cruise fans. They include the former Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Horizon and former Royal Caribbean vessels Monarch of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas. The ships have sailed for Pullmantur under the names Horizon, Monarch and Sovereign.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: Why you shouldn't take a voucher if your cruise is canceled

Pullmantur removed a fourth ship from its fleet, Zenith, in January. The vessel was the former Celebrity Zenith.

Royal Caribbean Cruises didn't say whether Pullmantur would try to bring back all three of its ships as part of its reorganization. But the Cruise Law News blog is reporting that workers in Italy are in the process of stripping valuables off two of the vessels. The blog cited crew members.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises did not immediately respond to our questions about the report and the future of the vessels.

In its announcement of the Pullmantur reorganization, Royal Caribbean said Pullmantur's ships currently are staffed with crew at a minimum maintenance level, and "the company will take care of their safe return home."

Royal Caribbean Cruises said all its assets related to Pullmantur were included in a non-cash asset impairment charge reported in its first-quarter results. In part due to the write-down of Pullmantur assets, Royal Caribbean Cruises reported a $1.4 billion loss, or $6.91 per share, for the first quarter. That compares to a profit of $249.7 million, or $1.19 per share, during the same period a year earlier.

Royal Caribbean Cruises owns 49% of Pullmantur through a joint venture with Cruise Investment Holding.

The reorganization of Pullmantur does not affect Royal Caribbean Cruises' fully-owned brands such as Royal Caribbean. Wall Street analysts in recent days have suggested that a recent bond sale by Royal Caribbean Cruises should allow the company to remain solvent for well over a year even if cruising doesn't resume.

Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak:

Featured image by Val Traveller - stock.adobe.com

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 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our 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 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our 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