Guests aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas will not be visiting the only port of call scheduled for their cruise vacation.
Due to a poor weather forecast, the ship will be unable to visit CocoCay as planned, and instead is heading for Freeport as an alternative destination in the Bahamas.
Anthem of the Seas Itinerary Change
Because of poor weather at CocoCay, Anthem of the Seas will not be able to visit the private island destination on her very first sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, her new winter homeport.
The Quantum-class ship departed New Jersey on Monday, October 30, 2023, for a 6-night Bahamas sailing. The only port of call on the itinerary was to have been Perfect Day at CocoCay, but now satellite tracking data as well as passengers onboard report the ship headed for Freeport, instead.
The first two days of the sailing are days at sea while Anthem of the Seas makes her way to the Bahamas, 1,000 miles (1,610 kilometers) away. Thursday, November 2 was to have been the visit to CocoCay, followed by two more days at sea as the ship returned to her new seasonal homeport.
Instead, however, the ship is aimed at Freeport – 70 miles (113 km) northwest of CocoCay. Anthem of the Seas is showing an estimated arrival time of 10:30 a.m. on November 2, though rough weather along the way may influence the final arrival time.
It should be noted that the 168,666-gross-ton Anthem of the Seas has also had engine difficulty in recent months that has meant cancelled ports of call and adjusted itineraries as the ship modifies her maximum cruising speed. The change on this sailing, however, does not appear to be due to engine or propulsion issues.
Anthem of the Seas can welcome 4,180 guests at double occupancy, and up to 4,905 travelers when fully booked. The ship will remain homeported from New Jersey until late April 2024, offering 7-night Bahamas itineraries.
On April 28, 2024, the vessel will depart for the last time on a transatlantic cruise to Southampton and the beginning of her next season in Europe, after which she will be deployed to Singapore and will not return to North America at least until Summer 2025.
Poor Weather Forecast for the Bahamas
On Thursday, when Anthem of the Seas will be in the Bahamas, weather forecasts are predicting a mostly cloudy but very windy day, with winds expected from 20-30 miles per hour (32-48 kilometers per hour), and even stronger gusts likely.
While the weather will be similar at both Freeport and CocoCay, the difference is in the docking facilities. At the Freeport cruise terminal, the harbor is somewhat protected and therefore strong winds are blunted and it is safer for guests to get on and off the ship.
In contrast, the pier at CocoCay is open and exposed, and while this makes for great photos of the island and easy access for ships, the pier can be subject to very rough waves that make it unsafe to walk across. Similarly, winds pushing on a docked ship cause movement that may make it necessary to close the gangways at times, even if the ship is docked.
These types of itinerary changes are not uncommon, particularly later in the year when the end of hurricane season generates storm systems that, while not full-blown hurricanes, still have high winds and rain that can disrupt cruise ship calls.
Guests setting sail at this time of year should always remain flexible with their travel plans and expectations, ready to enjoy an amazing cruise vacation no matter where they may visit.