Guests booked on additional Mediterranean sailings aboard Explorer of the Seas have been notified of drastic itinerary changes for their different voyages, with shifts in the ship’s embarkation port and departure dates.
These changes can create severe complications for guests’ pre- and post-cruise travel plans, but Royal Caribbean International is offering several alternative options for passengers to choose from.
The new itinerary changes follow the already announced shift for the ship’s October 19 departure date.
Multiple Itinerary Changes for Explorer of the Seas
Explorer of the Seas is due to spend the summer months offering Greek Isles cruises in the eastern Mediterranean, but some booked guests are now being notified of fairly severe itinerary changes for their scheduled sailings.
Both the October 12 and October 26, 2024 departure dates are impacted, with changes not only to the ship’s overall itinerary, but shifts in the embarkation dates (now October 11 and October 27, respectively), as well as changes to departure ports.
Now, both cruises will be departing from Athens, Greece, rather than Ravenna, Italy, as originally planned. This would mean guests have to dramatically shift their travel plans to reach the cruise port, taking into account the shift in departure dates as well.
Why the Changes?
There has been no explanation offered for the dramatic itinerary changes, other than “an adjustment in itinerary planning.” This could be due to port congestion, charter arrangements, changes in port fees that are not sustainable for the cruise line, or other itinerary shifts across the fleet that must be compensated for with changes to Explorer of the Seas‘ sailings.
The popularity of particular itineraries can also impact ship scheduling. Because these cruises are eight months away, there is still time for travelers to adjust their plans or make other arrangements as they prefer, and the cruises can still be successfully sold to other interested travelers.
The changes to these itineraries follow the already confirmed changes to the ship’s October 19 sailing, which is similarly impacted, also without significant explanation.
“We understand this is not an ideal situation, and we’re truly sorry for the impact this has on your vacation plans,” the notification email for all three itinerary changes reads.
Multiple Options Provided
Guests on either the October 12 or October 27 sailing date have several options to choose from for their travel plans.
They can opt to remain on the cruise with the new sailing date and change in embarkation port, with their same stateroom and their fare adjusted or prorated as necessary to the lesser fare for the cruise. Passengers who choose this option will also receive onboard credit from $50-200 (USD) per person, depending on the stateroom category and how many people are booked in the cabin.
Compensation will also be provided as reimbursement for non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees, with appropriate receipts. The cruise line will consider up to $200 for domestic travel fees, or $400 for international changes.
Guests can also rebook on comparable sailings aboard Explorer of the Seas, with a variety of departure dates in September and October 2024. These offers will provide price protection for the original stateroom category, as well as onboard credit and the same transportation reimbursement.
A third option is to rebook on any other Royal Caribbean International sailing, aboard any ship from any homeport. No change fees will be assessed, but guests will be responsible for any difference in pricing should the new booking cost more than the original. If the new cruise is a lower price and the original cruise was already paid in full, the difference in fares will be refunded.
Finally, guests may choose to simply cancel their cruise altogether and a full refund will be provided, including any non-refundable deposits or pre-paid amenities such as gratuities, drink packages, specialty dining, shore tours, or other add-ons. Refunds will be processed back to the original form of payment, and no further compensation will be provided.
While no further itineraries appear to be impacted for the 138,194-gross-ton, Voyager-class ship, guests booked on additional Explorer of the Seas sailings will want to stay alert in case their own cruises undergo similar changes.