Developing Storm Forces Royal Caribbean to Cancel Entire Cruise

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Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests booked aboard the September 23, 2023 sailing of Vision of the Seas to notify them that, due to forecasted poor weather in the region, it will not be possible to set sail after all and the cruise is now cancelled.

Significant compensation is being offered, though travelers will undoubtedly be disappointed by the short notice and loss of their cruise vacation.

Vision of the Seas Cruise Cancelled

Guests ready to set sail on their cruise vacation on Saturday, September 23, 2023 aboard Vision of the Seas will not be cruising after all, as the sailing has been cancelled at the last minute.

Royal Caribbean International notified guests late on September 21 with the unfortunate news, owing to a developing tropical storm that is forecast to dramatically impact the area over the weekend and early next week.

“Unfortunately, the weather will prevent us from safely conducting our upcoming cruise on Vision of the Seas, and we’ll have to cancel our September 23rd, 2023 sailing,” the notification read.

Vision of the Seas is homeported from Baltimore, Maryland, and the September 23 sailing was to have been a 5-night cruise to Bermuda, with no other ports of call available.

“While these circumstances are beyond our control, we understand that this change impacts your vacation, and we’re truly sorry,” the cruise line apologized.

The 78,340-gross ton ship can welcome 2,050 guests at double occupancy, or as many as 2,514 travelers when fully booked. Also onboard are more than 700 international crew members.

Generous Compensation Offered

While the cancellation is unavoidable, Royal Caribbean is being generous with the compensation offered to make up for the change.

All guests will receive a 100% refund not only of the cruise fare, taxes, and fees, but also on any pre-paid tours, gratuities, shore excursions, and onboard expenses such as drink packages or Wi-Fi connectivity. Flights purchased through Royal Caribbean International as well as any royal Caribbean Travel Protection will also be fully refunded.

Refunds will be processed within 14 business days, but guests should note that the exact time to receive the refund may vary depending on different financial institution policies.

Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas (Photo Credit: Stefan Lambauer / Shutterstock)

If travelers used a future cruise credit (FCC) to book this sailing, that credit will be reinstated and any additional funds paid above the FCC amount will be refunded.

All guests will also receive another FCC worth 50% of their cruise fare to be used toward any future Royal Caribbean cruise. The new cruise must be booked no later than December 31, 2023, and is applicable for any available sailings by that date.

Potential Tropical Storm Developing

The rough weather impacting Vision of the Seas is currently classified as a “potential tropical cyclone” in that it has not yet developed full rotation or a discernable eye, but is likely to do so sometime on Friday.

The center of the storm is currently positioned 620 miles (998 kilometers) east of Bermuda, moving north at 14 miles per hour (23 kilometers per hour). The maximum sustained winds are reported at 50 mph (80 kph), and expected to strengthen somewhat in the next day.

The storm’s track indicates strong impact on the Atlantic coast, from North Carolina as far north as New Jersey. This puts Vision of the Seas‘ homeport, Baltimore, right in the middle of the storm’s track. Tropical storm warnings are already in effect for the potential impact area, including inside Chesapeake Bay.

Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen
Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen

While the center of the storm will not reach the Baltimore area until Sunday afternoon, the broad wind field of the system could be having impacts on the area 24 hours before or even sooner – just when Vision of the Seas would be maneuvering through the bay.

The safety of the ship, guests, and crew members is the most important consideration, and while it is never ideal to completely cancel a sailing, the decision is the best one possible to keep everyone safe.

Read Also: How a Hurricane Could Affect Your Cruise

At this time, there is no indication if the ship’s next sailing – a 9-night Canada & New England cruise departing Baltimore on Thursday, September 28 – will be affected.

By Thursday, the storm should be either fully dissipated or will have moved far out of the area. Guests booked on that next sailing, however, will want to stay in close contact with Royal Caribbean in case of any updates.

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