The Situation with Pullmantur

Pullmantur, the largest cruise line in Spain, has recently announced several changes to how they are operating during this pandemic. These changes include both cancellations and a different way of doing ship maintenance, both of which seem to imply that they have no plans to get back into business very soon. Here’s the current situation with Pullmantur.

Sailing cancellations

Like pretty much every other cruise line out there, Pullmantur won’t be sailing this summer. This has been known for a while now, but they cancelled even more itineraries on June 10th, further pushing back their restart date later into 2020. Currently, all of their sailings are cancelled until November 15th. This is, of course, due to the coronavirus inhibiting their ability to make their ships completely safe for guests. A slight brightside to these cancellations is that Pullmantur will be able to use this time wisely, with a statement saying that they “will take advantage of this period for better understanding about the implications of COVID-19 for operations on board of the ships and for developing enhanced health and safety protocols.”

New lay-up measures

In addition to cancelling their sailings, Pullmantur has also moved into a cold lay-up scenario for their ships. If you’re curious about the difference between a hot and a cold lay-up, you can read about that here, but here’s a quick explanation. A hot lay-up means a ship isn’t active but is maintained diligently enough to the point where it can begin service again almost immediately. A cold lay-up, on the other hand, means that it is maintained much less so and will take far more time to become active. The advantage of a cold lay-up is that it is much cheaper, as it hardly requires any crew to work on the ship.

What does this mean?

Well, moving their ships into cold lay-up could mean a lot of things, but none are for certain. For instance, it could mean that Pullmantur is running low on funds (which, all things considered, isn’t wholly unlikely). It could mean that they don’t want a ton of crew working on the ship at the same time, potentially infecting their workforce. Most likely it means that Pullmantur is certain it will not sail again before the expected date. If they thought a random event might happen which would make it safe to sail, a hot lay-up may be used so that they could capitalize on that event as quickly as possible. Right now, it’s probably wise to assume that that event isn’t coming and to move to a cold lay-up.

Here’s one thing that a cold lay-up definitely doesn’t indicate. It doesn’t tell us anything about whether Pullmantur will have to cancel more sailings or not. It allows them to if they need to later down the line, but we can’t tell just yet whether that will happen. We are certainly hoping for Pullmantur to make the smartest and safest decision for their company and their guests, and it seems like a cold lay-up is that decision right now.

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