Royal Caribbean Ship Delayed, Impacts Homeport Turnaround

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Ovation of the Seas, which was due to arrive in Vancouver, Canada, on the morning of May 9, 2024, has been delayed. The 4,905-guest ship had to go off course in order to evacuate a sick guest in need of urgent medical attention during a sea day on May 7, 2024. 

“This morning, we deviated from our expected course toward San Francisco, California, and safely evacuated our guest. As a result, we will not arrive in Vancouver, British Columbia, at 2:00 pm on Thursday, May 9th, 2024,” read a letter from Royal Caribbean, which was sent to guests currently onboard Ovation of the Seas. 

The 168,666-gross ton vessel was originally expected to arrive in Vancouver at approximately 3:00 am local time, meaning the ship will be delayed by about 11 hours – impacting both the current sailing’s debarkation and the next cruise’s embarkation.

Ovation of the Seas Alaska Cruise
Ovation of the Seas Alaska Cruise (Photo Credit: EQRoy)

Guests onboard the current cruise, which is a repositioning sailing that embarked from Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 30, were informed that their departure groups had changed in accordance with the later arrival time. 

The 9-night sailing included an overnight visit to Kailua Kona, Hawaii, but otherwise consisted of sea days – so no other port calls were impacted by the delay. 

But obviously, this change has a big impact on guests’ post-cruise travel plans, especially for those with early flights. With this in mind, the cruise line is offering free internet service to make new arrangements beginning on May 7 at 12:00 pm local time.

“We’re very sorry for this last-minute change and truly appreciate your understanding during this situation, knowing we’d do the same for you or a loved one with a medical emergency,” continued the cruise line.

Royal Caribbean will automatically adjust flights and transfers that were booked directly through the cruise line and is reimbursing travel change fees up to $200 USD per person for domestic travel and $400 per person for international guests. 

Additionally, the cruise company will also reimburse up to $200 USD for hotel costs, as well as $50 in transportation fees per stateroom to help guests travel from the ship to their hotel or the airport. Guests were asked to submit their receipts to the guest relations team via email in order to be reimbursed. 

Next Sailing For Ovation of the Seas Also Delayed

Ovation of the Seas’ next sailing, which happens to be her first Alaska cruise of the season, will also be delayed by the events of the current voyage. 

The 8-night Alaska cruise will still set sail on May 9, 2024, as planned, but embarkation will be delayed by several hours due to the domino effect of the previous sailing disembarking late.

Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas (Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky)

The boarding process will now take place between the hours of 5:30 pm and 10 pm, with guests asked to arrive at their new assigned time and no later than 9:00 pm. In an act of good faith, Royal Caribbean is compensating the impacted guests with onboard credits. 

“To make up for this last-minute change, we will provide a $30 USD Onboard Credit, per person, to offset the cost of the lunch you would have had onboard. Additionally, we’re providing a half-day refund of any pre-paid internet, beverage, and other daily packages,” the cruise line wrote in an email. 

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As of the time of publication, no changes have been made to the itinerary, even with the delayed embarkation. 

The largest of the Quantum-class ships is still expected to call on Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm/Endicott, and Ketchikan in Alaska, before concluding in Seattle, Washington, on May 17.

Ovation of the Seas will then spend the remainder of the Alaska season offering 7-night, round-trip cruises from Seattle, before returning to Hawaii in October. 

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