Royal Caribbean Provides Update on Damage and Next Cruise

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Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests booked aboard multiple sailings in 2023 of Radiance of the Seas with an interim update on the ship’s repair progress and the likelihood of setting sail for the next cruise.

This update follows the cancellation of the September 1 sailing just hours before departure and understandably has guests booked on the next cruise nervous about their vacation plans.

Radiance of the Seas Being Repaired

The 90,090-gross ton Radiance of the Seas developed “propulsion issues” late on the ship’s August 25 sailing, a northbound Alaska cruise from Vancouver, Canada to Seward, Alaska. The ship’s top speed was impacted, and the following cruise – scheduled to depart on Friday, September 1 – was cancelled on embarkation day so repairs could be made.

This has naturally caused concern for guests booked on upcoming sailings for the ship, in case the essential repairs are not completed in time for additional cruises to move forward as planned and more sailings must be cancelled or shortened.

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests booked on the September departures, including the September 8th and 15th cruises, however, to assure them that they are aware of the concerns and will keep travelers updated.

“Repairs are underway and we are progressing to resolve the issue,” the notification said. “At this time, we intend to sail as planned on September 8th. And we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way.”

A further update will be sent to booked guests by Tuesday evening, September 5, with more information.

What Happened to the Ship?

No details have been confirmed about the nature of the technical problems with the ship’s engines, but guests onboard the last sailing have noted loud noises and speculation is that one of the ship’s azipod engines may have impacted some submerged ice.

Such an impact could have caused bent propeller blades or other physical damage which makes the engine inoperable. Other parts of the engine could also be affected, causing the need for reduced sailing speeds.

It is also possible that the repairs are due to an internal malfunction or part failure and not related to any external factors at all.

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas (Photo Credit: meunierd / Shutterstock)

While the onboard engineering team can implement repairs, specialized parts or equipment may need to be brought in to do so. Shipping or manufacturing times could affect how long it takes to fully repair the ship so she can set sail again.

It is important to note that the onboard hotel, restaurant, and safety systems are not impacted and all services remain operable.

Because the September 8, 2023 cruise departs from Vancouver, Canada as a northbound sailing, the ship will need to leave Seward and make its way back to Vancouver for passengers to embark as planned. The cruise is scheduled to visit Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, and Skagway, along with scenic cruising at Hubbard Glacier.

Radiance of the Seas in Alaska
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean International

It is conceivable, however, that the cruise line might consider travel arrangements to bring guests to Seward for embarkation instead, and operate the next sailing as a southbound itinerary, perhaps with adjusted port visits.

At this time, no such plans are confirmed, but Royal Caribbean will be providing updates to impacted travelers in the coming days. Anyone booked aboard the next few sailings for Radiance of the Seas should stay in close communication with the cruise line for updated information.

It is not impossible that several upcoming cruises could be impacted, as happened with Carnival Pride in July when that ship developed engine issues.

Similar issues have happened with other cruise ships and cruise lines at different times, and each incident is adapted differently based on the circumstances and available alternatives.

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