Royal Caribbean notified guests booked on an upcoming South Pacific cruise that one port of call will be replaced due to storm damage from a recent weather event on the island. The announcement came just days before the March 27 departure of the Quantum of the Seas, which is home-ported in Brisbane this season.
Cyclone Damaged Port Vila
Royal Caribbean’s 4,180-guest Quantum of the Seas altered her 8-day South Pacific itinerary, departing Brisbane on March 27, after Cyclone Judy hit Efate Island, Vanuatu, on March 1. The ship was to call at Port Vila, on Efate Island, with an overnight stay on day 5 of the voyage.
The cyclone, a Category 4 storm, brought gale-force winds and heavy rain to the region. According to news reports from Australian Broadcasting Corporation, some sections of the island were evacuated and its airport was temporarily shut down.
Royal Caribbean’s message to guests said, “Port Vila is still recovering from recent tropical weather systems, so we’ve swapped our visit with a sea day. We’ve also added extra time in Noumea, so you can make the most of your visit there! We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused by this.”
The notification clarified that any pre-paid Royal Caribbean International shore excursions booked for Port Vila would automatically be refunded to the guests’ original form of payment.
Sea Day, Port Call Added
Quantum of the Seas’ original itinerary called for two cruising days after her departure from Brisbane, followed by a call to Noumea, New Caledonia. Port Vila was to be visited the next day, followed by two more sea days before returning to Brisbane.
Under the new itinerary, two sea days will follow the departure from Brisbane, while on day 4, the ship calls at Mystery Island, Vanuatu. Day 5 will be at sea before Quantum of the Seas visits Noumea on an extended call from 8 AM to 8 PM. Two cruising days follow that call before the ship returns to Brisbane.
Mystery Island is a small uninhabited islet near the island of Aneityum in Vanuatu. There are no roads or electricity on the island, which can be explored on foot in less than an hour. Guests can swim and snorkel on the deserted island from 7 AM to 5 PM during the call.
Noumea, where the ship will dock for a 12-hour call, is the capital city of New Caledonia and offers museums and marketplaces along with the Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, the Noumea Cathedral and the Michel Corbasson Zoological and Forest Park, among other attractions.
Quantum of the Seas made headlines in late February when a magician was tackled on stage by a cruise guest. The incident, which happened on the February 26, 2023, cruise from Brisbane, was caught on video by other guests.
Magician Ben Murphy was performing a trick on stage with a cruise guest when another passenger rushed on stage and tackled him. There were no injuries reported, and Murphy continued his show following the incident.
Quantum of the Seas is one of two Royal Caribbean ships deployed to the Australian market this season. The 4,180-guest Ovation of the Seas is home-ported in Sydney and sailing a series of 4 to 10-night voyages to New Zealand and Tasmania.