Royal Caribbean Cancels Sailing Due to Propulsion Issue

Guests on Radiance of the Seas have had their cruise cancelled on embarkation day. What is next, and what compensation is offered?

Royal Caribbean International has been forced to cancel the current sailing for Radiance of the Seas due to a propulsion issue.

The problem started on the ship’s previous cruise, but repairs could not be completed, resulting in the cancellation of the following voyage.

Radiance of the Seas Propulsion Issues

The 90,090-gross ton Radiance of the Seas has developed significant propulsion issues that are unable to be easily corrected, and as a result, Royal Caribbean International has opted to cancel the ship’s September 1, 2023 departure and help make arrangements for guests to return home.

The now-cancelled sailing was to have been a 7-night one-way southbound sailing from Seward, Alaska with calls to Juneau, Skagway, Haines, Icy Strait Point, and Ketchikan, along with scenic cruising in the famed Glacier Bay, before arriving in Vancouver, Canada on Friday, September 8.

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

Guests onboard for the September 1 departure have been notified of the cancellation and are being accommodated with last-minute arrangements.

“We’re truly sorry for this disappointing news,” the notification letter said. “Rest assured, we are going to take care of you can help you make your way back home.”

To begin, the cruise ship will remain docked in Seward, Alaska and be available for guests to use as a hotel through noon on Sunday, September 3, to accommodate onward travel plans.

Compensation for Impacted Guests

Because the sailing has been cancelled, all guests will receive a 100% refund of their cruise fare, taxes, fees, pre-paid gratuities, shore tours, and any flights purchased through Royal Caribbean, excluding any pre-cruise Cruisetours that have already been completed.

If guests used a future cruise credit (FCC) to pay for the cruise, any extra funds paid above the FCC amount will be refunded, and the credit will be reinstated for future use.

Furthermore, all guests will receive a 100% future cruise credit for a future sailing of their choice, though that future sailing must depart within one year. The new FCC will be available by September 22, 2023.

Radiance of the Seas in Alaska
Photo Credit: VIDEOVISTAVIEW / Shutterstock

Royal Caribbean International will also cover up to $600 (USD) of change fees for flights or other transportation adjustments. If guests booked airfare through the cruise line’s Air2Sea program, their flights will be automatically changed.

The Guest Services team is on hand to assist other guests with making arrangements for flights home, even if they did not book airfare through the cruise line.

Finally, while guests remain onboard Radiance of the Seas awaiting their return travel home, complimentary internet is being provided, and all wine by the glass, beer, and other drinks – including other alcoholic beverages – are complimentary.

When guests are ready to leave the ship, a free shuttle is available take travelers into Seward.

“Thank you for your cooperation and understanding,” the letter concludes. “And again, we apologize for this cancellation.”

At this time, there have been no details released about the exact mechanical problem on the ship, other than the “propulsion system experienced a technical issue which impact’s the ship’s speed.”

Similarly, there is no notification as yet whether or not additional sailings may be impacted, but guests booked on Radiance of the Seas cruises in the next few weeks should stay in close communication with Royal Caribbean in case of adjustments or cancellations.

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas (Photo Credit: meunierd / Shutterstock)

Radiance of the Seas is scheduled to offer just one more set of northbound and southbound Alaska sailings this year, with the ship’s last Alaska sailing departing Friday, September 22 as a roundtrip voyage from Vancouver.

After that cruise, Radiance of the Seas will reposition to Tampa, Florida via an 8-night Pacific Coastal cruise to San Diego, followed by a 16-night Panama Canal cruise. From Tampa, the ship will offer different Caribbean and Bahamas sailings through early April before returning to Vancouver for the 2024 Alaska sailing season.

Not the First Time for Radiance of the Seas

This is not the first time Radiance of the Seas has experienced propulsion issues. In April 2018, the ship required essential repairs on its Azipod propulsion system, which necessitated cancelling an 11-night sailing. At the time, the ship was offering cruises in Australia.

While engine problems are not frequent concerns aboard cruises, these types of issues do happen occasionally.

In July, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Pride suffered from a propulsion issue that resulted in missed ports and a shortening of the next cruise.

In March, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas had propulsion issues that caused slight delays in port arrival times, and Grandeur of the Seas also had engine issues in January.

While engine issues do impact sailings and cruising speed dramatically, it is important to note that the ship’s safety features, as well as hotel and restaurant operations, are not affected.

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