Newspapers in Europe are reporting that the former Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas suffered an engine failure on one of its two main engines on May 10th while sailing from Barcelona to Tunis. It then limped instead to Naples for repairs.

Its current owner/operator, Pullmantur Cruises, attempted to repair the cruise ship in Naples but the repair pair attempts were unsuccessful. The ship was re-positioned to Civitavecchia and the cruise was cancelled.

Sovereign Cruise ShipThe plans are now to undergo repairs at a shipyard in Marseille in the hope that it will be able to cruise under full power at the end of May.

After leaving the Royal Caribbean fleet, the cruise ship was re-named the Sovereign and it underwent a new, blue paint job of its hull.

According to one news account, the cruise line company said it regretted “deeply” the interruption of the cruise, thanking passengers for “patience and collaboration.”  It said that it will return the fare for the cruise, and reimburse passenger expenses related to the problem with the ship. It also offered a 60% discount on the purchase of another Pullmantur cruise.

The Sovereign is a relatively old cruise ship, having been delivered in 1988.

Update: A reader of our Facebook page stated:

“It has four main engines. Made by Pielstick 9PC 20L and they are a piece of shit engines. Only made 13 totally of them for Sovereign,Majesty and Monarch of the seas…. One of them on Sovereign had a major breakdown many years ago and they got the 13th engine that was a test engine installed in replacement.

They have never been good engines. They run on heavy fuel, mounted on rubber 2+2 on the same gear and they delivered a lot less power then they where supposed to on test run. No problem Pielshit said and mounted a lot bigget turbo chargers on them to boost the power up. And that worked,, but that made them run hotter and we changed exhaust valves on them all the time. So the French guys should stick to eating snails and crock monsieurs and leave the engine building to the Germans.”

Photo Credit: Portal World Cruises

  • It was a hideous old tub to begin with…even when it was relatively new. Miserably small cabins and far too many people for the space offered. I feel for passengers who book on ships as bad as this one.

  • frank sage

    I was on this ship when it broke down we were kept informed and taken to Barcelona via rome we were told at hotel that a company rep would be there the next day but no one came so we were left waiting for info
    some of our party left early as they had to drive to Cartagena I had to book a flight home costing 350 euros for me and my wife we were not told if company would pay for food or drinks the ship is far to small to cope with passengers and a pile of chit so lets see now if we get money back

  • Susan Sharrocks

    4 of us were with the party from Cartagena on the cruise. My sister and husband flew from Manchester to join us for a special occasion
    What an expensive holiday it was for them the flight AND cruise.
    The ship was far to small for the number of passenger nothing but fighting for seats.
    Hope that Pullmantur will stick to their word and compensate us as they said and also for our stress and disappointment !!!!!
    The journey back was horrendous nothing but waiting ,waiting and waiting.

  • Wai Chi Li

    we were supposed to be on the Pullmantur Sovereign cruise sailing on May 17. We were in Barcelona 5 days early before the sailing date. We were not contacted at all about the cancellation of the cruise by Pullmantur or the booking agent ( Vacationstogo ) in email or by phone when we were in Barcelona. Both Pullmantur and Vacationstogo should have my email and phone number to notify me when I was in Barcelona. We didn’t know about the cancellation until we got to the Barcelona port on the sailing date with a letter given by Pullmantur saying that we will be reimbursed 125% of the cruise price we have paid plus a 50% discount on future booking of the cruise on the same vessel Sovereign.
    We were helpless, frantic and distraught at the port though we were immediately arranged on a free hotel stay for one night near the Barcelona airport. We could not return to Canada immediately as our flight back to Canada was scheduled on May 25 and any change to the schedule would be costly. Then,we successfully booked a trip to the French Reviera when we were at the hotel. The trip to France was way more costly than the cruise we have paid for, even we tried to be budgetted on everything in France. That is why we didn’t enjoy the trip at all as we expected to be on an all inclusive cruise that we could enjoy without the pressure from furher spending.
    But the most frustrating thing was we were not approached by the booking agent or Pullmantur about the process of the reimbursement when we were in France. Then, I called Vacationstogo on May 22 in France, talked to someone for about 20 minutes and was told the same thing that we would be reimbursed 125% of the cruise price through vacationstogo. But he had no idea when this would happen as they were still waiting for Pullmantur’s further action on the reimbursement. He also promised that Vacationstogo would contact me on Tuesday ( May 27 ) to give me an update about the reimbursement. But they did not contact me at all so far. And today is Wednesday.
    Has anyone booking this same cruise been reimbursed already ? I have not been reimbursed yet. Will Pullmantur or Vacationstogo at least give me an update about the reimbursement ?

  • Clyde Barber

    We were also supposed to be on the May 17th sailing and left 3 days early for Barcelona. We did not have a cellphone and saw the email (which was sent out Wednesday May 14th the day after we left Atlanta) on Friday morning the day before the trip. It was only sent out in Spanish and I had to have someone interpret. The language problem may be Vacations to go’s problem.

    We, my wife and 2 daughters spent next 15 hours panicked and making other plans. Our room had to be vacated the next morning. We had not purchased any insurance. Pullmantur says they will reimburse 125% of our cruise but the cost of the cruise was way less than the airfares. Our preplanned port adventures now are wasted. I hope Pullmantur will step up and help more. We came back earlier than planned and we are all glad to be home.
    I guess we were better off than the people stranded on the previous sailing.
    Can you advice if we should get more assistance given our circumstances. We have not even seen our credit yet.
    What is appropriate for Pullmantur to reimburse????
    And yes, we incurred a lot of expenses with having to change flights, stay in hotels at the last minute, meals, etc. 25% of our cruise cost doesn’t touch what we had to spend due to the cancellation of the cruise. It resulted in the worst trip of my life.
    While I was in Barcelona I spoke with a Pullmantur assistant but while she wanted to help when I called back as 19:05 they had left for the weekend (I am sure their weekend was better than mine). I was stranded and possibly homeless in a foreign city. Could it get worse than this? We had no support very frustrating.
    I guess we will have to be patient and wait to see what they decide, but I feel we should be compensated at least enough to cover our costs. (My vacation time is gone for 2014)
    I hope that Pullmantur recognizes the stress (no vacation for my family) that being stranded in Barcelona is and that they reimburse our travel cost (airfare to Barcelona was twice the cruise cost) we incurred to get overseas and then not be able to take the cruise we had planned on.

  • Denise

    We were notified of the cancellation May 16 for the May 17th sailing. Disappointing to say the least but life happens. HOWEVER, it is now June 10th and we have not received one penny of our refund back and I feel this is a disgusting mismanagement and has caused us undue stress and financial hardship as we had to make other travel arrangement last minute.
    We are now considering going to the media to voice our displeasure.
    Has anyone received their refund yet???

  • Clyde Barber

    We also have not heard anything regarding this, and we have not gotten a penny either.
    We hope they will see that for their international traveler that much more money was ruined than their 125% offer.
    Still waiting!!!




  • Wai Chi Li

    We also haven’t the refund yet. Our booking agent at Vacationstogo said it might take upto 3 months to get the refund. Really hope it won’t take this long and Pullmantur can be more efficient to expedite the refund to us through Vacationstogo.

    Can’t wait to get the refund to settle the bills on the last minute trip we booked to replace the cancelled cruise.

    Still waiting !!!!

  • Clyde Barber

    Still waiting for the first dollar. No refund even of our original cruise cost. My family never even saw the boat.

  • Clyde Barber

    We finally got the refund they promised all passengers. Be assured that I was glad to get anything but this in no way covers my extra expenses.

  • Denise

    Yes we are submitting our airfare costs. Did they pay for your airfare?

  • Clyde Barber

    We have submitted our extra expenses include airfares but to date we only have the 125% of the original cruise cost.
    We are working with vacations to go to get our situation reviewed but things are moving very slowly.

  • Niles Calhoun

    This all could have been solved by purchasing trip insurance. Ridiculous to think that saving a couple of hundred dollars would outweigh the pains you went through…