Royal Caribbean Alaska Sailing Altered One Day Before Embarkation

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Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas has had a rocky start to this year’s Alaska cruise season. Propulsion issues already forced the popular cruise line to cancel its 7-night Alaska cruise scheduled for April 26, 2024, and now the subsequent sailing, embarking on May 3, 2024, has gotten an unexpected itinerary change. 

Instead of calling on Skagway, Alaska, the originally planned port for May 8, the Radiance-class vessel will visit Haines, Alaska. The rest of the itinerary is thus far unaffected and future cruises, which generally all follow the same itinerary, are still scheduled to call on Skagway.  

“We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused by this change. Nevertheless, we’re excited to visit a new port with you!”, Royal Caribbean wrote in a letter to impacted guests.

Radiance of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas (Photo Credit: Ric Jacyno / Shutterstock)

The one-way cruise will begin in Vancouver, Canada, before sailing to Alaska to visit Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, the newly added Haines, and Hubbard Glacier, before concluding in Seward on May 10. The next sailing will then begin in Seward, Alaska, also on May 10, and will conclude in Vancouver a week later, with the 2,143-passenger vessel continuing to go back and forth between the two ports throughout the Alaska season. 

The reason for the single port charge has not been confirmed. While it could potentially be due to the ship’s propulsion issues, it seems more likely that the change was made because Skagway Cruise Port is operating with one less berth than normal while it waits for a new float for its ore dock to arrive – and the relatively small port only features three distinct docks to begin with. 

With Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Encore and Holland America Line’s MS Noordam also scheduled to visit Skagway on the same day as Radiance of the Seas‘ scratched call, it’s possible there just wasn’t enough room to accommodate the Royal Caribbean ship. 

Read Also: Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas: Overview and Things to Do

Norwegian Encore and MS Noordam will each be sailing on their own 7-night Alaska cruises, both of which embark on May 5. The Norwegian ship will be sailing round-trip from Seattle, Washington, while Holland America’s vessel will be cruising round-trip from Vancouver, Canada. 

Radiance of the Seas Is Back In Business After Technical Difficulties 

On April 23, 2024, while Radiance of the Seas was in the middle of a repositioning cruise to officially begin her Alaska season, a problem with the ship’s propulsion came to light.

Due to the technical difficulty, the ship could not sail at her normal speed, forcing the crew to cut ports in order to complete the voyage from Los Angeles, California, to Vancouver, Canada, on time. 

The next sailing, which was supposed to depart from Vancouver on Friday, April 26, was impacted as well. The 894-person crew welcomed guests onboard as planned on April 26, but made arrangements for the modestly sized vessel to stay in port an extra two days to undergo repairs.

Radiance of the Seas at the Vancouver Cruise Terminal
Radiance of the Seas at the Vancouver Cruise Terminal (Photo Credit: Ric Jacyno / Shutterstock)

Passengers enjoyed the ship’s amenities during a sort of staycation. Under the new plan, the ship would embark on April 28 with a revised itinerary. But ultimately, the fix took longer than expected and this cruise was cancelled. 

Thankfully, the propulsion issue has now been fixed, with Royal Caribbean updating guests in recent days that the May 3rd sailing (and subsequent cruises after that) would be able to go ahead as planned. The news comes shortly after Radiance of the Seas was spotted sailing through the Port of Vancouver, presumably to test the propulsion capabilities. 

“We’re happy to share that our teams are finishing up the technical work onboard right on schedule and we’ll be ready to welcome you on May 3rd, as planned! Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work to get the ship into tip-top-shape for you,” the cruise line wrote in an email. 

Beyond sharing that the issue impacted the ship’s propulsion, the nature of the mechanical problem has not been released. That said, these events feel quite similar to previous problems Radiance of the Seas had with its propulsion less than a year ago in August of 2023.

Those technical challenges resulted in multiple cruises being cancelled at the last minute, leaving some to wonder if the issue has been fully addressed and if it could happen again in the future. 

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