It’s a little ironic to be writing about Pullmantur Cruises in English, as the company primarily markets itself to Spanish speakers (in both Spain, primarily for European cruises, and South America, for Caribbean cruises). However, Pullmantur Cruises does serve non-Spanish-speaking passengers (and the company’s site is also in English), so our readers might have some interest in taking a cruise with Pullmantur, even if they don’t know a lot about them because they escape the cruise line’s advertising efforts. We, however, do know a bit about Pullmantur Cruises, so below you will find a basic overview of the company.
Overall, Pullmantur focuses more on European cruises than Caribbean cruises, so it is not surprising that the company is headquartered in Spain. (Pullmantur is, in fact, the largest cruise line based in Spain.) They offer tons of cruises to the Mediterranean, one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world, but they also sail to less-visited destinations, like the Baltic Sea and the Norwegian Fjords. As for the Caribbean, they visit several locations in the south, including Aruba, Panama, and Venezuela. Somewhat uncommonly for a cruise line, Pullmantur hardly offers any cruises during the winter. The ships are either leased to other cruise lines or laid up.
In the late 1990s, Pullmantur was started by a travel agency in Madrid, who operated the cruise line until 2006, when it was purchased by Royal Caribbean Cruises, the second largest cruise ship operator after Carnival. With 1.9 percent of the market, Pullmantur is the third largest cruise line owned by Royal Caribbean. Celebrity Cruises is the second largest, with 4.4 percent of the market, which is considerably smaller than the conglomerate’s marquee cruise line – Royal Caribbean International – which controls 16.4 of the market. Overall, this makes Pullmantur a medium-size cruise line: there are several cruise lines that are much larger (and more well-known) than Pullmantur, but it is not one of the dozens of small companies that individually occupy a very small niche in the market.
This is well reflected in its fleet, which consists of four vessels, all of which were previously operated by one of Royal Caribbean’s cruise lines. Two of the ships, the MS Empress and the MV Zenith, have about the same gross tonnage (48,563), but the Empress holds about 250 more people than the Zenith. The other two vessels in the fleet – MS Sovereign and the MS Monarch – are sister ships and are quite a bit larger than the Empress and the Zenith. They have a gross tonnage of 73,192 and can hold 2852 people. In total, the company has operated 15 ships, but only the above four are still sailing for the cruise line.
As you can see, Pullmantur is a fairly standard cruise line. It has a modest fleet of ships that sail to a number of destinations across the world. However, it is more focused on Europe than the big cruise lines you are probably more familiar with, and the company isn’t fully operational all year round. If you want to take a European cruise (starting in Europe) or a Caribbean cruise (starting in South America), however, they are worth looking into.