Royal Caribbean Cancels Cruise Due to Technical Difficulties

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Passengers on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas current voyage in the South Pacific are forced to return to port in Sydney and its March 30 voyage has been cancelled due to technical issues.

Royal Caribbean has announced compensation and itinerary adjustments for affected guests.

Brilliance of the Seas Impacted by Propulsion Issue

Royal Caribbean has announced an unexpected change to Brilliance of the Seas’ itinerary due to technical difficulties. Slated to depart on a 5-night Tasmania cruise on March 30, Royal Caribbean announced that the voyage on the 2,543-passenger Brilliance of the Seas is now cancelled.

Brilliance of the Seas experienced a technical issue on its last sailing, and we’re returning early to begin required maintenance,” said the cruise line. “Our crew has started working on restoring the system, and we’re deploying the best experts. Despite our efforts, we are unable to complete the needed repairs to be ready in time for our 30 March 2024 sailing.”

The ship is currently on an 11-night “South Pacific Cruise,” which departed Sydney on March 19, 2024. Slated to call on Lifou and Noumea, New Caledonia, and Mystery Island, Vila, and Luganville, Vanuatu, before returning to Sydney on March 30, a propulsion issue has forced the cruise to cancel March 23’s call in Noumea.

The issue is serious enough that the cruise line also cancelled all remaining port visits, leading to an increased number of sea days as the ship returns to port for maintenance.

Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

A passenger aboard the ship alerted others of the issues via Reddit, writing, “We are currently sitting in Santal Bay, New Caledonia, near the island of Lifou, while the crew attempts to repair whatever is wrong with the ship.”

The Reddit post was updated to reveal the ship was returning to Sydney and skipping its remaining five port calls.

Compensation for the Cancellations

Royal Caribbean apologized to passengers scheduled to sail to Tasmania for the cancellation, stating, “We know how much time and effort go into planning your cruise, and we’re truly sorry for this disappointing news.”

The cruise line details a full compensation plan, announcing a 100% refund of the cruise fare, along with taxes, fees, pre-paid packages, and gratuities, credited back to the original form of payment.

Compensation also will be offered for any flights or additional travel expenses booked through Royal Caribbean. Passengers who booked their flights and packages must work with those carriers and providers regarding the cancellation.

Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas (Photo Credit: Gerry H)

However, the cruise line is covering change fees for all affected passengers on domestic travel up to $250 per guest and up to $400 for international changes. It also promised reimbursement for non-refundable, pre-purchased travel fees incurred, such as hotels, train tickets, or rental cars.

Travelers who utilized a Future Cruise Credit for the sailing will also receive a refund of any new funds paid above the certificate amount, along with the reissuance of the original certificate.

In a gesture of goodwill, Royal Caribbean is offering a 50% Future Cruise Credit that can be used within one year. 

Following the announcement of the return to Sydney, the Reddit poster revealed full details on compensation for those currently onboard Brilliance of the Seas had yet to be revealed. However, passengers were initially given $200 onboard credit due to the inconvenience caused.

Read Also: One of the World’s Largest Cruise Ships Notifies Guests of Propulsion Repair

While the current disruptions on Brilliance of the Seas are substantial, they are not an isolated event. Oasis of the Seas encountered propulsion problems as recently as October 2023.

Other vessels, such as the Quantum-class Anthem of the Seas have had to adjust their itineraries over the past year due to ongoing engine maintenance. Similarly, Radiance of the Seas also faced challenges, resulting in the cancellation of two complete sailings following emergency engine repairs in Alaska last September.

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