The Royal Caribbean-owned Spanish cruise line Pullmantur has filed for insolvency, according to a statement from Cruises Investment Holding, which owns 51% of the line.
Cruises Investment Holding and Royal Caribbean Group said they have filed for the reorganization ofPullmantur under the terms of Spanish insolvency laws and placed all three of its cruise ships into cold lay-up.
According to some media reports, crew aboard the ships are removing equipment and other fixtures for possible sale, suggesting the reorganization may be the end of the cruise line all together.
Pullmantur has not commented on these reports, but its board of directors did release a statement saying that the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic made the insolvency action necessary.
“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,” the board stated.
Pullmantur management notified employees of the decision after filings were made with Spanish authorities.
Pullmantur looked to be in trouble a few weeks ago when it canceled sailings through November 15, 2020.
Royal Caribbean Group said that guests already booked to sail on Pullmantur will be offered the option to sail on other Royal Caribbean brands, including Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.
Pullmantur said that details of the offer will be shared with guests in the near future.
Crew are staffed at minimum maintenance levels on Pullmantur’s three ships and the company will take care of their safe return home.
The cruise industry has been hit particularly badly by the Coronavirus pandemic, with all ships worldwide forced to suspend cruises, costing cruise lines billions of dollars in expenses, without any new revenue coming in.
Even the largest cruise company in the world has been adversely affected, with Carnival Corporation announcing this week that it was planning to retire at least six of its cruise ships by August – with more earmarked for the same fate.
While the wider industry may be able to stage a rapid comeback, if forward bookings are any indication, for Pullmantur the turnaround will be even more difficult.
Its home market of Spain was one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic, and has suffered a staggering 12.8% forecasted economic decline due to the national lockdown.