Once world’s largest ship, MS Sovereign former Sovereign of the Seas headed for the scrapyard

Once the world’s largest cruise ship, Pullmantur’s MS Sovereign appears headed for the scrap-yard after the Spanish company filed for bankruptcy last month amid the COVID-19 induced global shut-down of the cruise industry.

According to Cruise Industry News, Pullmantur’s three-ship fleet, which also includes the Monarch and the MV Horizon, industry sources say the fleet could be headed for dismantling in Turkey.  

Cruise Industry News reports quoted crew members aboard the fleet as saying that items of value had been removed from the vessels, which would be sent to Aliaga, Turkey, a center of the ship-scrapping business.  

The Madrid -based company, fifty-one percent owned by Cruises Investment Holding and 49% by the Royal Caribbean Group filed for bankruptcy in late June under Spanish insolvency laws. 

“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,” Pullmantur’s board stated.

MS Sovereign heading for scrapping
MS Sovereign heading for scrapping

MS Sovereign and Pullmantur’s other vessels were being transitioned to cold lay-up

Royal Caribbean had previously told Cruise Industry News that the vessels were being transitioned to cold lay-up.

In early June, the company said it was cancelling sailings through November 15, but less than three weeks later made the bankruptcy announcement. 

Pullmantur carried just over 400,000 passengers in 2019, 40% of whom were Spanish.

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Sovereign of the Seas once the largest cruise ship in the world

Both the Sovereign and the Monarch started out life as ships in the Royal Caribbean Fleet as the Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas respectively, while the Horizon previously belonged to Royal Caribbean subsidiary Celebrity Cruises and was known as the Celebrity Horizon. 

With a capacity of 2,850 passengers, the 73,192-ton Sovereign of the Seas was the largest cruise ship in the world when it sailed on its maiden voyage for Royal Caribbean on January 16, 1988 from Miami.

The ship, constructed at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France was part of the Royal Caribbean fleet until she joined Pullmantur in November 2008.

It was the first Royal Caribbean ship to be given the “of the Seas” suffix now ubiquitously associated with Royal Caribbean.

The ship first sailed for Pullmantur on March 23, 2009.   

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