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Royal Caribbean bids farewell to the Empress of the Seas

As a cruise ship ages, it can expect three possible outcomes: a major makeover, transfer to another line, or passage to a junkyard. Royal Caribbean announced today that the Empress of the Seas—one of the oldest and smallest ships in the fleet—can expect the second fate. It will be transferred to the Pullmantur fleet in 2008.

The 2,020-passenger Empress of the Seas debuted in June 1990 and was refurbished in May 2004. Its last voyage as a Royal Caribbean ship will take place on March 7, 2008. If you’re booked on a sailing after this date, expect a call from Royal Caribbean or your travel agent to switch your reservation to a different ship.

Pullmantur has not announced a new name for the ship or given any itinerary details. Fans of the Empress may be happy to know that as Royal Caribbean recently purchased the Spanish cruise line, the nearly-20-year-old ship will remain close to its former fleetmates.

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