Pullmantur’s Monarch and Sovereign sister ships arrive in Izmir for scrapping

Sisters to the end, the Pullmantur cruise ships Monarch and Sovereign (formerly Monarch of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas for Royal Caribbean) have arrived in Aliağa, Izmir for scrapping.

The fate of the classic cruise ships was all-but-sealed last month when Pullmantur declared bankruptcy, citing the global shutdown of the cruise industry due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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The Spanish cruise line is part owned by Royal Caribbean, and inherited Monarch and Sovereign in 2008.

The first ships in the Sovereign-class for Royal Caribbean, they were among the most advanced in the world when they entered service in 1988 and 1991 respectively.

Sovereign of the Seas in Nassau, Bahamas

Sovereign of the Seas was the largest cruise ship ever built at the time of her launch, and was the flagship of a cruise ship class that was first to introduce the multi-story mid-ship atrium and an entire deck of cabins with balconies.

The third ship in the class, Majesty of the Seas, remains in service with Royal Caribbean.

The introduction of the three Sovereign-class cruise ships by Royal Caribbean spurred the cruise industry’s first tonnage war, with Carnival Cruise Line countering with the Fantasy-class cruise ships, while Princess Cruises introduced the original Crown Princess and Regal Princess in response.

Sovereign and Monarch beached and waiting to be scrapped

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Pullmantur announced it was entering into administration last month due to difficulty securing the credit needed to weather the months-long shutdown of the cruise industry, which began in March and looks increasingly unlikely to end anytime soon.

“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 cruise line’s board said in a statement at the time.

Sovereign and Monarch are the first of several dozen cruise ships that will potentially be scrapped this year. Carnival Cruise Line is retiring several cruise ships, while Costa Cruises has confirmed it is letting go at least five, P&O Cruises has sold Oceana and Holland America has sold four cruise ships.

Cruise & Maritime Voyages had bought several second-hand cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and P&O Australia, but the fate of those six ships are now uncertain after the British line also declared bankruptcy.

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