In a letter presented to guests on board, Odyssey of the Seas has announced multiple changes to its current sailing. Instead of calling at St. Thomas as planned on December 29, the ship had a day at sea, and the December 30 call at Puerto Rico has been replaced with the Dominican Republic. The ship is also lengthening its planned visit to Nassau on Saturday, January 1.
St. Thomas Visit Canceled
Odyssey of the Seas is currently sailing a 7-night Eastern Caribbean “Perfect Day” holiday cruise that departed Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, December 26. While the first three days of the voyage went as planned with the ship’s departure, Monday spent at Perfect Day at CocoCay, and a day at sea on Tuesday, the ship had been scheduled to visit Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas on Wednesday.
The captain, however, announced Tuesday evening that the call to St. Thomas would not be happening, and instead the ship spent Wednesday at sea. To compensate for the missed port of call, the letter guests received later that evening stated:
“We’re sorry for the last-minute change. To make it up to you, we’re providing you with a pro-rated refund for the missed day as an Onboard Credit to your SeaPass Account, along with any taxes and fees for this port. These credits can be used anywhere onboard and any remaining funds at the end of the cruise will be refunded to the card registered to your SeaPass Account.”
On a positive note, the extra day at sea has given guests more time to explore all the thrilling features of Odyssey of the Seas, including the North Star observation pod, activities in the SeaPlex, the rock wall, FlowRider, Sky Pad, Ripcord by iFly, and more.
Whenever a port of call is canceled, additional onboard activities are often offered as well, though that can be challenging if crew members are in isolation due to positive COVID-19 test results or contact tracing procedures.
Puerto Rico Visit Replaced
The second change to the ship’s itinerary is that Thursday’s scheduled visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico has been switched to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, with the ship docked from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
While not officially stated in the letter, it is likely that the decision to remove Puerto Rico from the ship’s itinerary is due to the local authorities recently tightening COVID-19 testing requirements, with cruise passengers and crew hoping to disembark for any reason now required to present a negative test result taken no more than 48 hours before arrival.
The new rule in Puerto Rico was implemented just days ago, with another Royal Caribbean ship, Symphony of the Seas, the first vessel to be denied entry for failure to meet the testing requirement. Since the change was made, several additional cruises have changed itineraries to remove Puerto Rico from current and upcoming sailings.
Any booked shore tours for either St. Thomas or San Juan have also been refunded to Odyssey of the Seas‘ guests as onboard credit.
Nassau Visit Lengthened
As further adjustment for the altered ports of call, Odyssey of the Seas has been able to lengthen its visit to Nassau, planned for Saturday, January 1. The ship was originally scheduled to be in port from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but now will spend two extra hours in Nassau, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
These extra hours give passengers more time to explore Nassau, and additional shore tours may be able to be offered. According to the notification letter, the onboard Shore Excursions team has automatically begun rescheduling pre-booked Nassau tours to compensate for the altered schedule.
Be Prepared for Changes
All these itinerary changes on Odyssey of the Seas come just as other cruise ships and cruise lines are also altering plans en route to adjust to new port requirements or reacting to onboard cases of COVID-19. This is a very fluid situation for cruise travel, and passengers should be flexible with their expectations for any cruise in the coming weeks.