After seven years sailing under the Pullmantur brand, the Empress of the Seas is set to return to Royal Caribbean early next year. The 2,020-capcity ship was a popular member of the Royal Caribbean fleet for 18 years, between 1990 and 2008. Originally known as the Nordic Empress, the ship assumed the name Empress of the Seas in 2004 to fall in line with the fleet’s naming standards.
The ship is currently the longest serving member of the Pullmantur fleet, transferring from Royal Caribbean two years after the line purchased Pullmantur in 2006. The ship was the first cruise vessel built by a major cruise line especially for the 3 and 4 day cruise market. When the Empress returns, she will immediately assume the honour of being the oldest member of the Royal Caribbean fleet.
During her time with the Pullmantur line, the Empress of the Seas has gone by a shortened moniker, MS Empress. It is expected that the ship will resume her old name when she makes her triumphant return to Royal Caribbean.
The entire current Pullmantur fleet is made up of former Royal Caribbean ships, with the vessels formerly known as Sovereign of the Seas and Monarch of the Seas keeping Empress company. It is unknown whether either of the other two members of the Pullmantur Cruises fleet will eventually return to Royal Caribbean.
This news means that three ships will enter into service for Royal Caribbean in the early parts of 2016. The third member of the Quantum Class, Ovation of the Seas, and the soon-to-be largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, are also joining the Royal Caribbean fleet in the next couple of months. The total number of ships in the fleet will jump from 23 to 26 – with two additional ships joining in 2018 and 2019.
Images Sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Tony Hisgett