Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas is currently sailing a 16-night, one-way repositioning cruise after the end of the Alaska sailing season, but this one cruise has been impacted by multiple factors causing delays, port cancellations, and port time changes.
First Issue: Delayed Embarkation
The Saturday, October 7, 2023 departure of Radiance of the Seas from San Diego, California got off to a slow start as fog delayed the vessel’s arrival into the port.
Guests embarking the vessel that day were asked to shift their arrival to the cruise terminal one hour later than originally planned to accommodate the delay. Everyone was required to arrive no later than 2:30 p.m. so they could be checked-in and onboard by 3 p.m. for the ship’s 4 p.m. departure.
Fog often causes delays at some cruise ports, when low visibility makes channel navigation or docking operations unsafe. This is particularly common in San Diego, Galveston, and Tampa, though any port can have temporary delays for poor visibility.
Second Issue: Tidal Adjustments
The second issue on Radiance of the Seas‘ current sailing was a necessary adjustment for the visit to Puntarenas, Costa Rica, which is planned for Saturday, October 14.
Initially, the ship was scheduled in port from 12 p.m. (noon) until 10 p.m. but guests were notified onboard that local tidal conditions required an earlier arrival, and the ship will now be in port at 8 a.m., four hours earlier than the original schedule. The 10 p.m. departure time remains unchanged.
This does give guests more time to explore the dynamic port of call without feeling rushed or needing to cut short any time on shore. Guests who have booked a shore excursion can enjoy a morning shopping or otherwise enjoy the port of call before a tour without missing out.
Third Issue: Cancelled Port of Call
As guests set sail on the ship, they quickly learned of a third issue – a port of call cancellation due to the influence of Tropical Storm Lidia. Rough seas expected in Cabo San Lucas early in the week made it necessary to cancel Radiance of the Seas‘ visit to that Mexican destination, which had been planned as an overnight call from 11 a.m. on Monday, October 9 until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, October 10.
Instead, the ship will now be enjoying those days at sea. This means during this 16-night cruise, the first 6 full days of sailing are all at sea as Radiance of the Seas heads for Costa Rica.
Other cruise ships have also cancelled or shifted calls to Cabo San Lucas because of the storm, including Carnival Panorama‘s 8-night Mexican Riviera sailing as well as Carnival Miracle‘s 6-night Mexican Riviera cruise, both of which have implemented changes to steer clear of the storm.
Because Cabo San Lucas is a tender port that requires guests to be ferried from their cruise ships to the dock via smaller boats, rough weather can more easily impact this destination even when a storm is well south of a direct impact on the Baja Peninsula.
Rough Year for Radiance of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas has been having a tough time lately. Not only is this repositioning cruise impacted in multiple ways, but the ship’s final southbound Alaska sailing of the season, which was scheduled to depart Seward, Alaska on September 15, had to delay that departure for two days and cancel 4 out of 5 planned Alaska ports of call due to foul weather.
Previous to that, two regular Alaska sailings had to be cancelled while the ship underwent critical engine repairs in early September.
Here’s hoping that the 90,090-gross-ton Radiance of the Seas has smooth sailing through the remainder of her repositioning cruise as she transits the Panama Canal and calls on Panama City, Cartagena, and Cozumel before arriving in Tampa on Monday, October 23.
From Tampa, the ship will be offering primarily 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean cruises to Cozumel and Costa Maya with occasional Bahamas sailings or longer cruises in her schedule. In April 2024, the ship will head back to Vancouver to begin another Alaska sailing season.