Pullmantur offered a traditional cruise experience with a Spanish flair aboard a fleet of older cruise ships that had been thoroughly refurbished to Spanish tastes. It declared bankruptcy in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pullmantur is the largest cruise line in Spain, with a fleet of cruise ships passed down from Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, as both are owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises, the second-largest cruise company in the world.
It was started in 1971 by the Madrid travel agency and tour operator of the same name, when they chartered Premier Cruises’ Seawind Crown in the late 1990’s.
The experiment proved successful, and when Premier went bankrupt in 2000, Pullmantur bought that line’s largest and most modern ship, Oceanic, founding its own cruise line for the Spanish market.
It was at this time that Pullmantur began operating cruises from Barcelona every week, with low, all-inclusive fares, smart marketing and a quality product.
Pullmantur did for Spain what Carnival did for the US, creating a cruise product that was accessible to the vast majority of the middle class.
That approach continues to this day, but as its fleet has grown, so to have the destinations to which the cruise line sails.
For the coming Middle East cruise season, for example, Pullmantur will be homeporting in Dubai for the first time, cruising a series of Arabian Gulf voyages from the city.
The Pullmantur cruise experience
Pullmantur offers high-quality cruises with a decidedly Spanish flare that are also good value-for-money.
As such, it attracts a decent number of international passengers, although the vast majority are Spanish, because, like P&O Australia, it markets only to its home market.
The cruise experience is largely bilingual with printed materials and announcements in Spanish and English.
Outside of Spain, it tends to be popular with experienced cruise passengers looking for something a bit more adventurous than what the mass market cruise lines can provide.
Since the transfer of several Royal Caribbean cruise ships into the fleet, such as Celebrity’s Zenith, and Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas, more passengers particularly loyal to these cruise lines and ships have also started cruising with Pullmantur (Celebrity Cruises is also owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises).
Royal Caribbean’s influence can be clearly seen in the fleet of Pullmantur cruises.
There have been many ship-swaps, with the current fleet made up of Horizon (formerly Celebrity Cruises’ Horizon, Monarch (formerly Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas), Sovereign (also a former Royal Caribbean ship having sailed as Soverign of the Seas), and Zenith (formerly Celebrity Zenith).
It is the 1990-built Horizon that Pullmantur will be homeporting in Dubai for the 2018/19 Middle East cruise season.
The Pullmantur ships offer all the trappings of a traditional cruise, but in what they describe as a relaxed, friendly, and informal atmosphere.
There is two-seating dining, but in a reflection of Spanish tastes, early seating dinner is at 8 p.m. and late seating at 10:15 p.m.
There are production shows, a spa and gym, casino, shops, and youth programs aboard all Pullmantur ships, but it is all geared toward the Spanish market.
Types of passengers on a Pullmantur cruise
Pullmantur is popular with a broad cross-section of Spanish passengers, as well as guests from other parts of the Spanish speaking world, such as Brazil, especially during the summer holidays.
On many of the European and Mediterranean cruises there are also a smattering of German, British and Canadian passengers.
Cruise ships in the Pullmantur fleet:
Categories: Cruise Line Focus