It makes headlines when a cruise ship is impacted by a severe storm, but what happens to guests on the very next sailing?
Royal Caribbean International had surprising options available for travelers on Voyager of the Seas after the ship experienced some flooding and water damage in a severe storm on her January 26 sailing, without sufficient time to fully mitigate the damage before the next group of passengers came on board the following day.
Voyager of the Seas Damaged by Storm
Voyager of the Seas encountered a severe storm in the Gulf of Mexico as the ship returned to Texas on a recent sailing. With severe winds, heavy rain, hail, and crashing waves, it is no surprise that the ship had some flooding in different areas, including a variety of guest staterooms as well as public areas where deck chairs were tossed about and even slot machines in the casino were tipped over.
The incident happened on Friday, January 26, on the last sea day before the ship docked in Galveston for her turnaround day – the end of one sailing and the beginning of the next, with guests both debarking and embarking on the same day.
While there were no severe injuries reported, the weather’s impact on different areas of the ship was unable to be completely cleaned up before new travelers arrived.
Options for Embarking Guests
To ensure everyone was still able to enjoy the cruise they had anticipated, Royal Caribbean International reached out to guests who would be impacted by the ongoing cleanup with a generous offer.
“As we prepare to set sail, we wanted to take a moment to address a matter that occurred on one of our previous sailings. While sailing in the Gulf of Mexico, Voyager of the Seas encountered a severe storm that resulted in some damage and flooding from the ocean and rainwater in certain areas aboard,” the email explained.
“While most of the staterooms are dry now, some have residual odors from the seawater and rain. We value transparency with you, and unfortunately, your stateroom is included in this scenario.”
The email goes on to explain that the cruise line brought aboard additional cleaning teams to work to mitigate the temporary flooding. Guests onboard the ship had also noted how quickly crew members acted immediately after the storm to clean up water and general disarray.
Travelers booked in the still-flooded cabins on the next sailing were offered two distinct options due to the lingering dampness and odors in their staterooms.
The first was to enjoy their cruise as booked, in the original stateroom, with full knowledge of its condition before they set sail. For the inconvenience, a 30% refund of the cruise fare was provided to the passengers’ onboard accounts, and any amount not used during the sailing was refunded back to the card on file for that account.
The second option was to cancel the sailing for a 100% refund, with no fees or penalties. Guests who chose this option also received a 100% future cruise credit (FCC) of the cruise fare paid for the impacted booking, which will remain valid for any alternative cruise setting sail by February 1, 2025.
Next Itinerary Not Impacted
While some guests’ staterooms were impacted and those travelers received the options for sailing with a partial refund or choosing a full refund and a full FCC for the inconvenience of losing their planned vacation, it should be noted that the overall sailing was not affected.
Voyager of the Seas set sail for her next cruise as planned on January 27, a 5-night Western Caribbean cruise that visited both Costa Maya and Cozumel before returning to Galveston on Thursday, February 1.
Furthermore, the ship has already departed on the next successive cruise, a 4-night sailing to Cozumel, Mexico, with two full days at sea to enjoy all the 137,276-gross-ton ship has to offer. It is possible that a limited number of guests may have also received similar offers for that sailing, depending on how cleanup efforts have continued.
Voyager of the Seas can welcome 3,602 guests at double occupancy, or up to 4,000 passengers when fully booked. Also onboard are 1,200 international crew members whose first priority is to ensure everyone’s safety, no matter what weather conditions the ship encounters.