Royal Caribbean Ship Delayed Into Miami, Flights Adjusted

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Many cruise ships have had weather-related delays and adjustments in the past several days, and Royal Caribbean International’s Grandeur of the Seas was one impacted as she returned to PortMiami.

Guests onboard were notified with instructions about travel adjustments on Saturday, December 16, 2023, and the cruise line helped significantly with flight adjustments and making onward travel plans for impacted guests.

Grandeur of the Seas Delayed

Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, the oldest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet, was delayed returning to Miami, Florida on Sunday, December 17, 2023. The ship was finishing an 11-night Southern Caribbean sailing that had visited Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Aruba, and Curacao.

Guests onboard were kept apprised of the rough weather as they returned to Miami, and were notified on Saturday that the ship’s arrival for debarkation would be delayed.

“As previously announced by our Captain, along with our Chief Meteorologist, Craig Setzer, we’ve been monitoring inclement weather. Due to the adverse weather and high swells, we will now be arriving to Miami at 11:15 AM on Sunday, December 17th, 2023,” a letter delivered to guests’ cabins read.

Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: EWY Media / Shutterstock

The letter provided detailed instructions on how the delayed debarkation would work and what guests could do to adjust their post-cruise plans if necessary.

Passengers were asked to stick to their departure groups to keep debarkation smooth for everyone, and were reminded to have their travel documents available for customs officials when leaving the ship.

Internet Access and Flight Changes Provided

Royal Caribbean also provided free Wi-Fi internet access from 7 a.m. Sunday morning until debarkation was finished. This permitted all guests – whether they had purchased an internet package for the cruise or not – to contact friends and family members, airlines, hotels, rental cars, or other agencies as needed to provide updates or adjust post-cruise plans.

Travelers who had purchased flights through the cruise line had their flights automatically adjusted to accommodate the debarkation delay, while guests who made their own independent flight arrangements could apply for reimbursement for travel change fees.

Royal Caribbean International will cover any air change fees up to $200 (USD) per person for domestic travel, or $400 per person for international flights. Receipts and booking information for flight changes needs to be submitted via email to be reviewed before the reimbursement will be granted.

Grandeur of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: NAN728 / Shutterstock

The cruise line did recommend guests adjust flights to no earlier than 3:30 p.m. from Miami International Airport (MIA) or 4:30 p.m. from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).

The cruise port is just 8 miles (13 kilometers) from Miami International Airport and 27 miles (43 km) from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, but downtown traffic can be challenging and it is always best to permit ample travel time.

Many Ships, Many Changes

The massive weather system that has impacted the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and the Bahamas for the past few days caused delays, itinerary alterations, and port cancellations for more than a dozen ships from different cruise lines.

Just in Miami, one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, all cruise ships were delayed. Carnival Horizon, Carnival Celebration, Norwegian Encore, MSC Divina, Oasis of the Seas, and Scarlet Lady were also delayed, in addition to Grandeur of the Seas.

Cruises from Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, New York City, Port of Palm Beach, and even Charleston have all been impacted by the weather system.

Cruise travelers should always be prepared for inclement weather no matter what the season or where they are sailing. The safety of the ship, passengers, and crew will always be the most important priority, though cruise lines do work hard to maintain original itineraries and ensure guests are comfortable on their vacations.

Staying in touch with one’s cruise line as a sailing date approaches is also critical to ensure travelers remain updated about any itinerary changes, delays, or other adjustments as they prepare for their cruise.

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