Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Changes Ports Due to Diversion

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Royal Caribbean International’s Mariner of the Seas has been forced to change ports of call due to a medical emergency that caused the ship to divert earlier this week.

Now, the ship will no longer call on Labadee, Haiti, as planned, but will instead spend two days at the cruise line’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Medical Evacuation Causes Delay

The Voyager-class Mariner of the Seas is currently sailing a 5-night roundtrip “Eastern Caribbean Perfect Day” itinerary, having departed from Port Canaveral on Monday, October 24, 2022.

The itinerary was to have included a day at sea on Tuesday, a visit to Labadee, Haiti on Wednesday, another day at sea on Thursday, and a visit to CocoCay on Friday, before returning to Port Canaveral on Saturday, October 29.

Very early on Tuesday, however, the ship had to divert to Fort Lauderdale for a medical emergency. According to guests onboard, the ship’s captain announced at approximately 12:15 a.m. Tuesday morning that the ship needed to turn around for the medical evacuation.

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

To safeguard privacy related to the medical emergency, neither the name of the party nor the nature of the emergency has been disclosed.

Tracking data later show the ship docked at Port Everglades, at which time the individual would have been debarked and transferred to local medical facilities for further treatment. The cruise line has not announced whether it was a guest or crew member who required medical treatment.

As Tuesday was a day at sea on the ship’s itinerary, this did not have an appreciable impact on Tuesday’s activities, but the ship is now unable to reach Labadee in time for the scheduled port of call from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Labadee, on the northern coast of Haiti, is 660 miles (1,062 kilometers) from Port Everglades, though ships must actually travel more than 700 miles (1,127 km) between the ports to follow a safe, navigable route.

Ports of Call Changed

Instead of calling on Labadee on Wednesday, Mariner of the Seas is taking the day at sea at a leisurely pace.

To make up for the missed port, the ship will now visit CocoCay, the cruise line’s private island destination in The Bahamas, twice, docking both on Thursday and Friday. This gives guests extra time to enjoy one of the most popular ports of call for Royal Caribbean ships.

The timing of each day’s visit has not been clarified, but Friday’s port times are likely to remain the same as planned on the original itinerary – 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thursday’s time in port may be similar, or could vary depending on preparations for the extended and unexpected visit, as well as docking arrangements.

The Freedom-class Independence of the Seas is also scheduled to visit CocoCay on Thursday. It is not unusual for two Royal Caribbean ships to be at the port on the same day, and on Friday, Mariner of the Seas will share the island with the Oasis-class Symphony of the Seas.

With two ships docked on both days, the extra time at CocoCay will give guests aboard Mariner of the Seas plenty of time to take advantage of all the island has to offer, including extra shore tours that may have already been fully booked for the original visit.

Second Medical Change in Recent Months

This is the second time in recent months that Mariner of the Seas has changed itineraries due to a medical emergency.

In late August, the ship made an almost identical change on the same itinerary, also skipping Labadee and calling on CocoCay twice after a medical evacuation.

In that incident, the individual requiring medical treatment was evacuated via a rendezvous with a U.S. Coast Guard vessel, and the cruise ship did not dock at Port Everglades. Enough time was lost, however, that the resulting changes to the itinerary were nearly the same.

For the August change, Mariner of the Seas called on CocoCay twice, but not on successive days. Instead, the ship visited the private island on Wednesday and again on Friday, with a day at sea in between.

This week, the ship is taking that day at sea on Wednesday, and visiting the port on Thursday and Friday. Two other ships – Enchantment of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas are already scheduled to visit CocoCay on Wednesday.

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