In recent weeks, Princess Cruises has faced challenges due to congestion at the port of Roatan, Honduras. Following the earlier announced diversion of Regal Princess on January 25, the cruise line has announced a similar alteration for Sky Princess.
While impact on guests is minimal, with Princess Cruises exchanging dates between the calls to Belize and Roatan, the changes underscore the ongoing issues faced by cruise operators due to the increasing popularity of Caribbean destinations, particularly during the peak season.
Sky Princess Diverted Amidst Roatan Port Congestion
Princess Cruises has been forced to inform guests of another itinerary change for guests booked on a cruise calling to Isla Roatan, Honduras. Guests booked on the February 17, 2024, cruise onboard Sky Princess sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will be getting a different itinerary than they had originally counted on.
Sky Princess, originally scheduled to visit Roatan on February 20, 2024, will now be calling at the port a day earlier, on February 19. This change has been necessitated by the significant congestion at Roatan, with multiple cruise ships scheduled to dock on the same day.
The new itinerary sees Sky Princess visiting Belize City on February 20 and Cozumel on February 21, a reshuffling of the original schedule.
Guests affected by these changes, particularly those with pre-booked Princess shore excursions, have been informed that the cruise line will be trying its best to accommodate guests on the same tours on the new dates. Should this prove impossible, they will be refunded the funds already paid.
The changes that Princess Cruises has been making stem from the fact that Roatan only has space for three cruise ships per day, while four have been scheduled.
Roatan’s Rising Popularity
The current scenario at Roatan reflects the island’s soaring popularity. With more and more cruise operators sailing to the Western Caribbean, cruise lines are choosing from a wider pool of destinations than Cozumel and Costa Maya. Multiple cruise ships coming in daily have become a norm, with the current Caribbean cruise season witnessing unprecedented traffic.
This surge in popularity, while beneficial for local tourism, presents logistical challenges for both cruise operators and port authorities.
The congestion issue is further compounded by the simultaneous presence of several large cruise ships. For instance, on February 20, Roatan is expected to welcome Carnival Jubilee, Enchantment Of The Seas, and Norwegian Prima, with a combined guest count exceeding 10,000. Such high volumes strain port facilities and necessitate scheduling adjustments.
The situation with Sky Princess serves as a reminder for guests on other cruises to stay vigilant. Regal Princess, which has already seen itinerary changes for the January 21 cruise, faces similar congestion challenges for the call to Roatan on February 21. On that date, Regal Princess is scheduled to call together with Carnival Dream, Harmony Of The Seas, and Norwegian Breakaway.
Sky Princess will be sailing the eastern and western Caribbean through March 9, 2024. After that, the ship will be sailing a 16-night transatlantic cruise with calls to the Azores; Madeira; Casablanca, Morocco; Cadiz, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and concluding in Southampton, England, on March 25.
From her summer homeport in Southampton, the 141,000 gross tons Sky Princess will be sailing a wide range of itineraries to Spain, France, Iceland, Norway, and many more countries around Europe.