Royal Caribbean International has commented on the fate of the immensely popular Ultimate World Cruise in light of rising tensions in the Red Sea that may threaten a significant part of the ship’s upcoming itinerary.
Speculation has arisen that the itinerary may be radically altered or the cruise could even be ended early to ensure the safety of the guests, crew, and ship.
The Ultimate World Cruise – Less Than Ultimate?
The Ultimate World Cruise – a 274-night adventure aboard Serenade of the Seas visiting all seven continents, 65 countries, and more than 150 ports of call – has only been sailing for five weeks, but already questions are being asked about whether or not the voyage will continue.
A woman by the name of Adita (@aditaml2759) is currently onboard Serenade of the Seas and posting regular TikTok videos of her experiences, including a discussion of rumors that the sailing may end in Los Angeles.
“I’ve been hearing a couple of rumors and I am starting to get a little worried,” Adita said. “The rumor that I’ve been hearing is that Royal Caribbean is thinking of ending the World Cruise in Los Angeles due to the problems in the Middle East and us not being able to go through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.”
Adita asks for clarity and communication from Royal Caribbean and is not confirming any itinerary changes, but only asking if there has been any official word.
“I don’t like putting rumors out there, but I think we also, the passengers that invested so much money and so much time to see the world, we deserve to know what is going on, what the plans are, what Plan B is,” she said.
Possible options that have been speculated about include the itinerary shifting to go around Cape Horn and up the west coast of Africa. Alternatively, passengers could be flown from Dubai to a destination in the Mediterranean while the ship crosses the Red Sea and Suez Canal with minimal crew complement before picking guests back up to resume sailing.
Adita’s video on these rumors has been viewed more than 85,600 times and is one of her more popular videos documenting this extreme journey. Other videos include showing weather conditions it the Drake Passage, tips for organizing and storage for such a long trip, and other tidbits that bring viewers along on the spectacular sailing.
Royal Caribbean Responds
Royal Caribbean International has responded to the rumors and confirmed that at this time, there are no changes to the planned Ultimate World Cruise itinerary.
“Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World Cruise will continue its current schedule as planned,” a cruise line spokesperson said to Business Insider. “The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. In collaboration with our Global Security team, we continuously monitor the situation in the region and make any necessary adjustments. Guests will be notified directly of any changes.”
Several cruise lines have already adjusted or cancelled cruises in the Red Sea region due to escalating geopolitical tensions. Drones and mines have been used to disrupt marine traffic, and while no cruise ships have yet been attacked, all cruise lines are closely monitoring the situation as necessary to protect their respective fleets.
Royal Caribbean stated to Cruise Hive, “The Ultimate World Cruise has given guests the opportunity to see the world in a unique way, and we have loved watching their reactions to this incredible experience. This adventure will complete its first segment in February, and we can’t wait to kick off the next part of the journey shortly after and begin exploring Asia.”
MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Cunard Line, and others are all keeping updated on the situation and will adjust itineraries if needed.
It should be noted that Serenade of the Seas is not scheduled to enter the Red Sea until mid-May. With four months to go until that portion of the Ultimate World Cruise is reached, there may yet be many factors to consider about whether or not the itinerary will proceed and the situation is evolving every day.
Meanwhile, if the speculation about the sailing ending in Los Angeles were accurate – which it is not – that would mean the cruise would end on February 11, 2024, just two months after beginning on December 10, 2023. Furthermore, this would mean the “world” cruise would only have explored one small section of its diverse and detailed itinerary.
The sailing has already had an itinerary change due to weather conditions near Antarctica, and undoubtedly there will be further itinerary adjustments in the months to come. Hopefully, tensions will ease and no such dramatic change as skipping an entire portion of the cruise route will be necessary.