Royal Caribbean saying bon voyage to Majesty of the Seas

Royal Caribbean is getting rid of its oldest ship, the Majesty of the Seas.

The last of the Sovereign-class ships built in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it’s following in the footsteps of sister ships Monarch of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas, heading to Pullmantur cruise line, which is headquartered in Spain but sails many itineraries in the Caribbean catering to the Latin American market.

The Pullmantur line is owned by Royal Caribbean’s parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. The 2,350-passenger vessel, which currently sails short trips to the Bahamas out of PortMiami will retire from Royal Caribbean in 2016.

“Majesty of the Seas has created wonderful memories for millions of guests, and we expect this record of success to continue as she transitions to Pullmantur,” said Richard Fain, Royal Caribbeans chairman and CEO. “The vessel’s transfer is an excellent business opportunity for both Royal Caribbean and Pullmantur. We are fortunate that our mix of brands allows us the flexibility and opportunity to expand in key strategic markets.”

Majesty of the Seas was the last of the three Sovereign-class vessels, built at Chantiers de L'Atlantique, which is now STX France in St. Nazaire, France. It made its maiden voyage April 26, 1992. Sovereign of the Seas went to Pullmantur in 2008 and the Monarch, which sailed out of Port Canaveral, followed in 2013.

At 74,077 tons, Majesty of the Seas is dwarfed by Royal Caribbean’s latest ship, Quantum of the Seas, a 168,666-ton, 4,180-passenger ship that debuted in Port Liberty in Bayonne, N.J. earlier this month. By the time the Majesty of the Seas leaves service, Royal Caribbean will have also welcomed the Anthem of the Seas, so the line will have at least 21 ships still, with the third Quantum-class ship, the Ovation of the Seas, due in summer 2016. The line also has two more Oasis-class ships on order, the first also due in summer 2016 and the second in 2018.

So now the line’s smallest and oldest ships will be what many refer to as the Vision class of ships built in the mid 1990s — three pairs of sister ships between 69,000 and 83,000 tons carrying between 1,800-2,250 passengers.

The line did not announce which if any ship will replace the Majesty of the Seas in Miami, but the ship’s three- and four-night sailings to the Bahamas and the line’s private island of CocoCay are an essential key to the new-cruiser market, so expect the itineraries to continue.

Both former sovereign-class ships still sail for Pullmantur and the addition of the Majesty of the Seas will give that line a 20 percent increase in capacity.

“The transfer of Majesty of the Seas will play an important role in Pullmantur’s Latin American growth strategy, and helps us become one of the most widely recognized brands in that market,” said Pullmantur’s president and CEO Jorge Vilches. “The additional capacity will help us meet the rising demand for Pullmantur’s distinctive Latin-style cruise holidays.”