Royal Caribbean’s Spanish JV Pullmantur Cruceros files for reorganization

Cruises Investment Holding and Royal Caribbean Group have filed for the reorganization of their three-ship joint venture Pullmantur Cruceros, under Spanish insolvency laws.

Cruises Investment Holding owns 51% of the Spanish cruise line, while RCL owns the remaining 49%.

Pullmantur said that the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had given it no alternative. The management notified employees of the decision after filings were made with Spanish authorities.

“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 said.

Rumours had begun to circulate about of Pullmantur’s problems after the company reported that it would move its three remaining cruise ships into cold layup and that it was cancelling all cruises into November 2020.

The vessel was started in 2000 by a Spanish tour operator and focused on the Spanish-speaking market. In 2006 the company was acquired by Royal Caribbean Cruises, but  the company failed to produce the hoped-for returns. This led Royal Caribbean to sell 51% of the company to an investment group in 2016. Royal Caribbean continued to provide services to Pullmantur, which operates three of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises’ older ships. A fourth Royal Caribbean ship was due to start sailing for Pullmantur in 2021.

Royal Caribbean Group said that guests already booked to sail on Pullmantur would be offered the option to sail on other RCL brands, including Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

Crew are staffed at minimum maintenance levels on Pullmantur’s three ships. Pullmantur said that it would ensure their safe return home.