Cruise industry crisis  threatens Panama

Bound for the acrap yard

1,599Views 5Comments Posted 01/08/2020

The  cruise industry is devastated worldwide and with the Pullmantur shipping company scrapping at least two of its vessels a cloud hangs over the future of its homeport in Colón.

The Monarch had a capacity of 2,333 passengers and in recent years had made 52 departures from  Colón 2000.

Pullmantur reported that the Monarch and Sovereign vessels, two of the three ships that made up its fleet, will be dismantled and the future of the company that accepted the Spanish bankruptcy law is unknown after the coronavirus pandemic erased earnings it had made in the recent past.

The company announced in late June that operations would resume in November, but made no specific mention of departures from Panama.

Last year the company reported that it transported 406,000 passengers and 53% of its turnover was obtained in the European market, while the rest was contributed by its operation in the American continent.

The Colón 2000 port, has no information about the future of Pullmantur's operation, and the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) has not responded to inquiries.

Industry sources suggest  that a third ship, the Horizon, will also be scrapped and that there is the possibility that the company  will operate some ships  used by Royal Caribbean  but to date, there is no certainty

With the prospect that  Copa Airlines will operate with less than 10% of its fleet in the short term, it will be difficult to market a cruise ship leaving Panama in the coming years, so the future of the home port is uncertain.

Ovr  50% of the passengers that boarded Colón were South Americans (Colombians, Argentines, Ecuadorians); followed by Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans.

The Cruises Investment Holding fund and Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) own 51% and 49% of the shares of the Spanish shipping company, respectively. This week they announced Ernst & Young in Andalusia, Spain as administrator of the bankruptcy in an attempt to revive the company.

Economic loss
It is estimated that the departure of each cruise ship from Colón 2000 represented an economic injection of 750,000, which means that, the Panamanian economy is losing  $3 million  in foreign currency each month

In 2019 the ATP signed a contract with NCL (BAHAMAS) LTD, owner of the Norwegian cruise line to make departures from the port that is being built on Perico Island, in the Amador Causeway. The agreement will be effective from 2021 until 2023and  establishes that the company will depart from the new cruise port and, will transit the Panama Canal, will a tour of 7 or 9 days through the Caribbean, and end at the Colón 2000 terminal.

At the end of that tour, the cruise  ship will start a new journey departing from Colón, it will travel  through the Caribbean islands, and back to the  Canal to  dock in Amador, but  in the current environment nothing is certain,


Comments 5

Oh ya

Minister take it somewhere else. This is not the place fpr Bible thumping

1 month ago

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. 24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master,(C) we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked(D) the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.(E) 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

1 month ago

Never heard of Pullmantur. Certainly not an internationally known company. As 20 year insider Panama gets no benefits from these calls anyway. Excursions are sold on board. Only income is a few bus drivers and tour guides. Certainly not worth the State building terminals for docking. Note private enterprise wouldn’t invest in the development of the cruise terminal as the shipping companies pay peanuts to use the facility. It’s the same the world over. Nobody has built a private cruise facility in the last 60 years which tells you something. Waste of money. ....Panama got conned.

1 month ago
Oh ya

If they are sending them to the breakers thats means they are okd worn out junk that know body would buy. All cruise ships are floating petri dishes. Panama should buy 1 of these junkers and sink it in a area where it could be used as a dive site as panama has very little in the way of dive wrecks. Might be a way of more tourists

1 month ago
Ancon Harpy

These are big ugly floating centers of contagion.

1 month ago
The comments are the responsibility of each author who freely expresses his opinion and not that of Newsroom Panama.
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