Royal Caribbean Buys Spanish Operator and Expands Celebrity Brand

Royal Caribbean Cruises Tuesday said it had received antitrust approval from Spain and Portugal to purchase Madrid-based cruise and tour operator Pullmantur S.A., a move the company believes will shore up its Celebrity Cruises line. The deal is expected to close in mid-November and is worth about $552.8 million, plus almost $347.1 million in debt. Also Tuesday, Royal Caribbean announced a build out of its Celebrity Cruises brand, called Celebrity Expeditions, which will use tailored ships for target markets. One of the ships will be Pullmantur's 718-guest Blue Dream liner, which Celebrity will receive in a swap for its Celebrity Zenith liner. The Blue Dream will be renamed Celebrity Journey and sail Bermuda routes originally scheduled for the Zenith. All guests currently holding Zenith bookings in Bermuda will be contacted by a Celebrity representative to transfer the existing reservation to similar accommodations aboard Celebrity Journey.

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