Following the updated decision from the Hong Kong government to ban cruises for an additional 14 days from the city, Royal Caribbean has cancelled all cruises for Spectrum of the Seas in January. The news follows Dream Cruises which made a similar decision just days ago.
Spectrum of the Seas has been sailing on short ‘staycations’ from Hong Kong for several months now. Since beginning operations, the cruise line has been dealing with several setbacks and had previously cancelled cruises on January 6, 9, 12, 14, and 17.
On January 6, the Hong Kong government announced a ban on cruising from the city. Royal Caribbean said at the start of January it expected cruising to return on January 21. Still, an updated advisory from the local government now means that the cruise line is forced to cancel additional voyages.
Sailings scheduled for January 21, 23, 26, 28, and January 31, 2022, have now been cancelled as well.
Royal Caribbean said the following: “The sailings were canceled following an update to local COVID-19 prevention policies by local authorities on January 14, which requires a 14-day suspension of all cruise operations; details can be found on the official government website.“
“Royal Caribbean will continue to monitor the evolving situation and work closely with relevant local authorities on our return to service. We fully expect to welcome back our guests onboard Spectrum’s February 4 cruise.“
The cancellations are painful for Royal Caribbean, who have seen very few cases onboard. All cruises have been under a full vaccination mandate and included strict testing requirements for all guests and crew members onboard.
Guests who had been booked on one of the cancelled voyages are offered several alternatives by Royal Caribbean. The company says guests can choose to reschedule their voyage to any voyage from February 4 onwards, while the cruise fare will be protected in the same category.
Guests are also able to apply for a full refund of their cruise fare, including all pre-cruise purchases, taxes, and fees. This will be processed to the original payment method within 30 days.
Cruise lines operating from Hong Kong are experiencing tough times. The initial cancellation of voyages for Royal Caribbean and Asian cruise giant Dream Cruises came when an individual was tested positive with COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Department of Health notified Royal Caribbean that nine individuals aboard Spectrum of the Seas had been identified as close contacts of the COVID-19 positive case on January 4, 2022.
It caused the January 4 sailing for the vessel to be cancelled, as well as all subsequent voyages since. However, none of the close contacts had been found positive, nor were there any other cases on Spectrum of the Seas.
The Government of Hong Kong also ordered the cruise ship Genting Dream to cancel additional cruises after cruises in January had already been cancelled through January 19. The ship, which is also sailing short 2- and 3-day seacation cruises out of Hong Kong, will be sitting idle until February 2, at least.
Spectrum of the Seas is scheduled to continue operations from Hong Kong until she starts cruising roundtrip from Beijing to Japan in March of this year.