Due to the impact of Hurricane Ian on cruise ports in Florida, two Royal Caribbean International cruise ships will now operate shorter sailings out of Port Canaveral.
The next upcoming cruises of Mariner of the Seas and Independence of the Seas will be departing Saturday, October 1, rather than their original scheduled departure dates.
Departure Changes for Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
Cruise ships continue to be impacted by Hurricane Ian as the storm rips through central Florida and causes widespread damage. Royal Caribbean International has released a further update on two of its ships that are based out of Port Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast, east of Orlando.
Mariner of the Seas and Independence of the Seas are both impacted, though not canceled. However, guests will have to take shorter cruise vacations than originally scheduled. This is to allow Port Canaveral adequate time to assess any potential damage after Hurricane Ian passes.
On both ships, guests should note that their embarkation times will remain the same as previously selected, despite now being on different days.
Mariner of the Seas
Mariner of the Seas‘ September 29 four-night Bahamas cruise has been shortened. The vessel will now instead be departing on Saturday, October 1, making it much shorter than expected – two nights rather than four.
Royal Caribbean said, “Along with our Chief Meteorologist, we’ve continued monitoring inclement weather related to Hurricane Ian. While we had hoped to sail Friday, Port Canaveral needs some time to conduct their inspections and surveys to ensure it is safe to resume regular operations.”
The new itinerary will only include a call to the cruise line’s private island Perfect Day at CocoCay, with the call in Nassau canceled, and Mariner of the Seas will still return to Port Canaveral as originally scheduled on October 3.
As compensation for the shortened voyage, guests setting sail will receive refundable onboard credit valued at three days’ proration of their cruise fare, though the cruise is only shortened by two days.
This means guests are getting a refund for the non-existent days, and if they do not spend the credit on board, any remaining portion will be returned to them via the credit card associated with their shipboard account.
The prorated refund also applies to any onboard extras, such as drink and internet packages and RoyalUp. Similarly, prepaid shore excursions for Nassau will also be refunded as onboard credit, with any remaining balance returned after the cruise.
If guests no longer want to go ahead with the now-shortened cruise, they can request a full refund by contacting the cruise line by October 1, 2022. Refunds will be returned to the original form of payment within 14 days.
Independence of the Seas
Independence of the Seas will not be setting sail as planned from Port Canaveral on Friday, September 30. Instead, like Mariner of the Seas, the ship will now depart on Saturday, October 1, and return on Monday, October 3, as per the original schedule.
Due to the shortened itinerary, Independence of the Seas will be unable to visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, but will be visiting Nassau on Sunday, October 2 as planned.
All guests choosing to sail will receive a refundable onboard credit valued at 2 days’ worth of their fare paid (though the cruise is only shortened by one day), with any unspent monies at the end of the cruise refunded back to the card associated with each guests’ onboard account.
Onboard prepaid purchases will be prorated as well, and shore tours for the now canceled call at CocoCay will be refunded as onboard credit and unused credit returned after the cruise.
Guests who wish to cancel for a full refund must contact the cruise line by October 1, 2022.
“We’re truly sorry for the weather’s impact on your vacation,” Royal Caribbean said in communications to guests about both cruises. “Thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation during this unexpected circumstance.”
Hurricane Ian Status
Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday afternoon as a strong Category 4 hurricane in southwest Florida, just south of Punta Gorda and approximately 75 miles (120 kilometers) south-southeast of Tampa.
As of 8 p.m. Wednesday evening, the storm has weakened slightly to a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour (185 kilometers per hour), and is moving north-northeast across the Florida peninsula at 8 miles per hour (13 kph).
Widespread flooding, power outages, and other damage have been reported from eyewitness accounts along the southwestern coast of Florida in the wake of the storm.
Hurricane Ian is expected to continue moving northeast across the Florida peninsula through Wednesday night, exiting into the Atlantic Ocean near Port Orange, 55 miles (89 km) north of Port Canaveral most likely on Thursday afternoon, September 29.
Tune in to Cruise Hive’s comprehensive Hurricane Ian coverage, including itinerary alterations, port conditions, cruise cancelations, and more.