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Royal Caribbean acquires Pullmantur, adds to Celebrity Expeditions fleet

This August, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (parent company of the Celebrity and Royal Caribbean cruise lines) announced its intentions to purchase Madrid-based Pullmantur, a cruise and tour operator. Spain and Portugal have recently given their antitrust approvals, effectively giving the green light on a mid-November purchase date.

Does this news affect American cruisers? It does if you’re a Celebrity fan. Pullmantur’s Blue Dream will enter the Celebrity fleet in April 2007, after getting some upgrades in dry dock and changing its name to the Celebrity Journey. The 718-passenger ship will join the Celebrity Xpedition as part of the line’s small-ship Celebrity Expeditions sector. It will sail Bermuda cruises out of Bayonne.

In exchange, the Zenith will become part of Pullmantur’s fleet. The ship will sail its last Celebrity-flagged cruise on April 13, 2007, and join the Spanish line in June. The Zenith will carry mostly Spanish passengers on seven-night Mediterranean cruises.

If you already have reservations on the Zenith for Bermuda cruises in 2007, a Celebrity representative will be contacting you about transferring your reservation to the Celebrity Journey. Guests booked on these cruises can call 888-281-9343 to ask further questions about the ship swap. Celebrity will begin accepting new bookings on the Journey within the next few days.

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