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Royal Caribbean Cancels Some Cruises Likely Due to COVID

The cruise line has shut down three ships for a few weeks and delayed when a fourth will go back into service.

Royal Caribbean (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report has canceled sailings on three of it ships while postponing when a fourth would be put back into service. The ships impacted are Serenade of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas, which had not been sailing with passengers.

The company said it canceled the sailings "as a result of the ongoing COVID-related circumstances around the world, and in an abundance of caution," Matt Hochberg of Royal Caribean Blog reported. The ships that are impacted are:

  • Vision of the Seas’ return to cruising is postponed until March 7, 2022 (that ship has been sailing with crew only in advance of its return to service).
  • Serenade of the Seas sailings from January 8 – March 5, returning after dry dock on April 26, 2022
  • Jewel of the Seas sailings from January 9 – February 12, returning on February 20, 2022
  • Symphony of the Seas sailings from January 8 – January 22, returning on January 29, 2022 (Passengers on the Jan. 8 sailing were notified on Jan. 7 about the cancellation).

Royal Caribbean sent emails to impacted passengers, apologizing, and offering them 100% future cruise credit. That differs from some earlier cancellations during the pandemic where cruise fares were credited with 125% future cruise credit.

Controversy 

The company has only issued vague reasons as to why these cruises have been canceled while many other ships remain in operation.

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"Our top priority is always the well-being of our guests, our crew, and the communities we visit. Despite stringent health and safety measures, including vaccination and testing requirements for guests and crew, and extensive contingency planning, we have had to move forward with this decision," Royal Caribbean shared in an email to travel agents.

Hochberg, whose blog has no affiliation with Royal Caribbean, suggested that crew members testing positive was the likely reason, based on posts on his site's message board.

All crew members quarantine when they board the ship and they must be fully vaccinated. In addition, crew members are tested regularly and have strict rules about when and how they can leave the ship when it's in port.

Royal Caribbean requires all passengers 12 and over to prove vaccination before they can board a ship. All passengers must all show a negative Covid test taken no more than two days before their sailing.

In addition, the company has recently tightened on-board mask rules requiring masks to be worn in all indoor areas except when passengers are stationary and eating or drinking. Previously, passengers in indoor areas reserved for vaccinated passengers (bacaily areas where kids were not allowed) could take their masks off.