PULLMANTUR THINKS BRITISH…

In a move to attract more British passengers to it’s all inclusive cruise product, Spanish operator Pullmantur has appointed London-based Major Travel as it’s first ever UK GSA.

Major has produced a short, glossy brochure outlining European sailings on five ships, processedOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA for the first time as complete fly/cruise packages. These range from a handful of three night cruises from Marseilles on Horizon, to week long circuits of the western Mediterranean on Sovereign and Empress.

Highlights include:

*  A series of seven night western Mediterranean sailings running through to November, on both Sovereign and Empress, with embarkation at ports such as Palma De Mallorca, Rome and Barcelona (The Pullmantur website also offers Genoa as an embarkation port for Sovereign)

* Greek Islands cruises aboard Zenith, sailing round trip from Athens on seven night Aegean itineraries though until the late autumn.

* Three and four night mini cruises on Horizon, sailing to the Balearic Islands from Marseilles through to November.

The Pullmantur product is all inclusive, with pricing that makes it among the best buys in the travel industry. The Spanish operator is an offshoot of Royal Caribbean International.

It’s ships are all ex- RCI/Celebrity tonnage. Horizon and Zenith were the fondly remembered, initial new builds for Celebrity. At around 45,000 tons each, they are a nice size for the kind of port intensive, destination based cruises that Pullmantur promotes.

Empress is around 42,000 tons, and was originally built as the Nordic Empress for short cruises to Bermuda. Her spectacular, aft facing main dining room is still one of the most beautiful rooms of any ship at sea.

Sovereign is the pioneering, former Sovereign of The Seas, the first RCI mega ship. With a gross tonnage of 73,000, she has a larger entertainment handle than the other ships. She is slated to cruise from Brazil during the winter season.

Pullmantur recently also acquired the 73,000 ton Monarch, the twin sister of Sovereign. While not featured in the short initial brochure from Major, she will operate year round southern Caribbean cruises, embarking in Aruba. These will also be all inclusive.

Pullmantur’s new brochure is aimed at families, groups and seniors, but mentions no single supplements. All ships offer two sittings for dinner, and run as multi lingual vessels.

Though these ships do not have the facilities or stacks of balcony cabins typical of Costa and MSC, the price point makes for a very attractive product indeed. Now showcased with flight packages and transfers, it will be interesting to see what momentum the company can make in the over tonnaged Mediterranean market.

It is also worth noting that Major Travel packages some of these cruises with a range of attractive, pre-cruise hotel packages in key cities such as Barcelona.

Methinks this is one to watch.

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