Pullmantur Zenith in Brazil (photo: Daniel Capella)Pullmantur Cruises is reportedly cutting ties with South American tour operator CVC, and is set to fully operate its own ships in Brazil for winter 2011/2012, according to sources in South America who spoke to Cruise Industry News.

Spanish-based Pullmantur has traditionally chartered most of its ships to CVC for a winter South American season since 2003.

An official announcement on Pullmantur running and marketing its own ships next winter is expected later this week, according to reports from Brazilian media.

Pullmantur, which is under the Royal Caribbean Cruises umbrella, has been chartering ships to CVC for the winter season since 2003.

Pullmantur executives told Cruise Industry News last year that the agreement had been adjusted for winter 2010/2011, giving both companies “more opportunity.”

Along with its cruise ships, Pullmantur has significant airlift capacity to shuttle European passengers to South America, and can also source locally.

Last winter MSC pulled ahead of its rivals, becoming the biggest cruise line in Brazil with five ships in the region, according to ABREMAR. But, MSC will only send four ships to the region next winter, giving Pullmantur an opportunity to become the market leader in Brazil.