Due to detected COVID-19 close contacts onboard and testing requirements from local authorities, Royal Caribbean International has canceled the January 6, 2022 sailing of Spectrum of the Seas from Hong Kong. The January 2 sailing that is currently underway has also been altered and guests will receive compensation for the changes.
Close Contact Cases Onboard Spectrum of the Seas
In a press statement and a letter provided to guests onboard, Royal Caribbean International has confirmed that the company was notified by the Hong Kong Department of Health on January 4, 2022 that nine individuals aboard Spectrum of the Seas had been identified as close contacts of a COVID-19 positive case. Those close-contact guests were quickly isolated and PCR tested onboard the ship, and all tested negative.
The individual with the initial positive case that led to this contact tracing is not sailing on the ship. No additional cases have been reported onboard Spectrum of the Seas.
The ship departed Hong Kong on January 2, 2022 for short 4-night cruise to nowhere, and was scheduled to return to Hong Kong on January 6. Because of local testing requirements, however, the ship is returning early to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, and all guests and crew will be tested on January 5. Further testing of the crew is required on January 7, therefore the decision was made to cancel the January 6 sailing.
This decision was made in accordance with the Hong Kong authorities as well as Royal Caribbean’s health and safety protocols. The statement explained:
“Royal Caribbean has been working closely with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and continues to comply with local epidemic prevention policies and regulations, alongside our own protocols. This includes sailing with reduced capacity, implementing health checks for all guests and crew before boarding, enhanced cleaning and sanitization standards, expanded expert medical care, 100% fresh, filtered air, and our enhanced face mask policy.”
All Spectrum of the Seas guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before sailing. Negative test results must also be presented for all guests before embarkation, including young cruisers ineligible for the vaccine.
Because of the shortened cruise, guests currently aboard Spectrum of the Seas will receive a 25% refund of their cruise fare. Guests booked on the now-cancelled sailing will receive a full refund, including all taxes and fees as well as pre-cruise purchases, that will be returned to their original method of payment within 30 days.
Rough Sailing for Spectrum of the Seas
This is not the first time Spectrum of the Seas has encountered rough waters since it restarted operations from Hong Kong on October 14, 2021. The ship’s initial restart was to have been on July 30, 2021, but was delayed to October 5 because of incoming quarantine guidelines for returning crew members. Shortly before the vessel was to set sail, several additional sailings were canceled because of difficulty with travel restrictions that also impacted crew staffing on the vessel.
Just after resuming operations, the October 21, 2021 sailing was also canceled due to one positive COVID-19 test for a fully-vaccinated crew member, though subsequent tests were negative. That cancellation was further expanded to a 21-day suspension for the vessel, as per local COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Since setting sail, the Quantum-Ultra class Spectrum of the Seas has been offering 3- and 4-night cruise-to-nowhere “seacations” but is scheduled to restart international operations with a series of cruises to Japan from January 12, 2022.
Booked guests should stay in close communication with their travel agents and Royal Caribbean International in case of additional cancelations or itinerary changes that could impact their travel plans.