Empress of the Seas which is operated by Royal Caribbean didn’t have much luck while tendering at Virgin Gorda.
Empress of the Seas Diverts
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship had a scheduled call to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands and arrived as normal this morning, January 7. However, what was not expected were the strong winds and swells under the stunning blue skies.
According to a passenger who got in touch with us, in the early stages of tendering one of the boats hit a reef while trying to get to the dock. Only two tenders apparently made it to the island when it was decided tender operations were too dangerous.
The passenger on the current 8-day sailing informed Cruise Hive “We started sending tenders in. I was onboard one of the boats and we hit a reef trying to get to the dock. The waves were swelling and the wind was very strong even though there was blue sky. Only two tenders got people onto the island before we stood there waiting.”
“It was then told to us by Royal Caribbean officers that the port of Virgin Gorda has been closed and for our safety, we had to be tendered back to our ship.”
Just before 11:00 AM, Empress of the Seas was heading towards the alternative port of call in Tortola which is a distance of around 25 KM away to the west. She arrived in Tortola at 12:00 PM and will remain there until 7:00 PM which was the original departure for Virgin Gorda.
Guests have been very happy how Royal Caribbean dealt with the situation and the deciding to cancel Virgin Gorda was made in less than half an hour. Some guests even received a free bottle of wine and an apology from the cruise line. All shore excursions which were pre-booked through the cruise line are being refunded to the onboard account.
Empress of the Seas is currently on an 8-day Eastern Caribbean cruise which departed Miami, Florida on January 3. the ship is scheduled to call at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday and arrive back at PortMiami on January 11 as normal. The ship is over 48,000 gross tons with a guest capacity of over 1,500 at double occupancy.