Royal Caribbean has followed other major cruise lines by extending its hold on operations out of the United States. It does now mean that cruises won’t start to resume until July 2021 at the very earliest.
It comes as pressure mounts on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention to lift its “unworkable” framework on the Conditional Sailing Order. An order which is blocking cruise lines to resume sailings safely.
Royal Caribbean Cancels U.S. Cruises
Royal Caribbean has extended its suspension out of U.S. ports through June 30, 2021, and this does now mean cruises won’t restart until July. This does impact all cruise brands owned by Royal Caribbean group, including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.
Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO, said:
“Safety is the first priority, and we know that cruising can be safe, as we have seen in Europe and Asia.”
“The rising number of Americans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, layered on top of the rigorous health and safety measures we are implementing under the Healthy Sail Panel’s guidance, enables us to create a safe environment to take a cruise. We strongly believe that President Biden’s stated goal for society to reopen in time for Independence Day is a realistic goal.”
Royal Caribbean’s previous extension was announced on March 9 with cruises canceled in the U.S. through May 31, 2021. With the CDC not budging on its Conditional Sailing Order, cruise lines are being forced to make further cancellations. In fact, Royal Caribbean has even started shifting vessels to alternative homeports outside the United States.
With another month of cancelations, many guests will be hugely disappointed and frustrated that the CDC has still not allowed sailings. Royal Caribbean is offering compensation options as part of its Cruise with Confidence policy.
Guests can take advantage of 125% Future Cruise Credit which can be used on a future sailing by September 30, 2022. The booking will need to be made by April 30, 2022. There’s a Lift & Shift option that allows the reservations to be moved to next year and having the original price or promotion protected.
A full refund can also be requested using an online form if guests have given up and no longer wish to take a Royal Caribbean cruise in the future. Do check the specifics with each cruise line owned by Royal Caribbean Group as they may be slightly different.
Not All is Lost
Royal Caribbean is leading the way with alternative cruises outside the U.S. So, not all is lost. The company has no choice with the CDC still not allowing operations to resume from U.S. ports. The latest technical instructions released on April 2, make it even more complicated for a return to service in the country.
For the summer, Royal Caribbean-owned cruise lines have come up with alternative homeports along with new UK domestic sailings, something many cruise lines are currently jumping in on.
Anthem of the Seas will begin cruises out of Southampton on July 7, Adventure of the Seas will restart cruises on June 12 out of Nassau, Vision of the Seas will start sailing from Bermuda on June 26, and Jewel of the Seas will start cruises out of Cyprus on July 10. the new Odyssey of the Seas will even debut with cruises out of Israel in June 2021.
Celebrity Cruises has also got plans for new homeports with Celebrity Apex cruising out of Athens from June 18 and Celebrity Millennium out of St. Maarten starting on June 5. Celebrity Silhouette will even offer UK domestic cruises starting on July 3, 2021.
Just days ago, rival Carnival Cruise Line also extended its suspension out of U.S. ports through June. Norwegian Cruise Line has also done the same along with new alternative ports outside the U.S.