Skip to content

Report: Three more classic cruise ships may be headed to the scrappers

July 03, 2020
5 min read
Report: Three more classic cruise ships may be headed to the scrappers
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.

Make that four classic cruise ships that soon could be on the way to the scrappers.

Cruise publication Cruise Industry News on Friday reported that the three vessels in the fleet of Royal Caribbean-affiliated Pullmantur Cruises will likely be scrapped in Turkey.

The report comes just days after Spain-based Pullmantur announced that it was insolvent and had filed for reorganization under Spanish insolvency laws. The line blamed headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic that were "too strong ... to overcome."

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

Already, one other ship is on its way to the scrappers. Just this week, Carnival Corporation-owned Costa Cruises confirmed that its 1,928-passenger Costa Victoria had been transferred to a shipyard company that dismantles ships. It was the first ship to be sold for scrap in the wake of the coronavirus-caused cruising shutdown.

Cruise executives including Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald have been hinting in recent weeks that quite a few ships could be scrapped in the coming months as the cruise industry navigates an unprecedented shutdown of operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While Pullmantur is little known to most Americans, its three ships are well-known to cruise fans. They include the former Celebrity Cruises ship 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.

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

Related: The coronavirus pandemic has claimed its first cruise line

Sign up for our daily newsletter

The 2,282-passenger Sovereign is a particularly notable vessel that was much-beloved by Royal Caribbean fans when it sailed as Sovereign of the Seas. Unveiled in 1988, it was billed as the world’s first “mega-ship,” and it offered such then-revolutionary features as a five-deck Centrum with glass elevators, sweeping staircases and fountains in marble pools.

At around 73,000 tons, Sovereign of the Seas was the biggest purpose-built cruise ship ever when it launched, though it has been eclipsed in size many times over during the past three decades.

Sovereign of the Seas sailed for Royal Caribbean until 2008 when it was transferred to Pullmantur and renamed Sovereign.

Unveiled in 1991, Monarch sailed for Royal Caribbean as Monarch of the Seas until 2013, when it was transferred to the Pullmantur fleet. Unveiled in 1990, Horizon sailed for Celebrity until 2005.

Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

The parent company of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, Royal Caribbean Cruises, owns 49% of Pullmantur through a joint venture with Cruise Investment Holding.

Royal Caribbean Cruises also is the parent company of Azamara and Silversea. It also is a part owner of German brand TUI Cruises through a joint venture.

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

Royal Caribbean Cruises has 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.

The insolvency filing for Pullmantur does not affect Royal Caribbean Cruises’ fully-owned brands such as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Wall Street analysts in recent weeks 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.

Related: Is cruising done for 2021? This line thinks so

Both Sovereign and Monarch were among the 23 vessels that TPG recently highlighted as the most likely to be laid-up, sold or scrapped in the coming months as the cruise industry cuts capacity. Costa Victoria was on the list, too.

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 premium travel card for value
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

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

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

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
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 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more