Royal Caribbean Ship Delayed, Shifts Sailing With No Ports

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas will not visit Cozumel as planned but guests will enjoy a unique Ocean Getaway instead.

Royal Caribbean International’s Serenade of the Seas will be unable to sail the August 31, 2023 departure as planned due to the influence of what was Hurricane Idalia and Port of Tampa’s continued closure after the storm.

Instead, the Radiance-class vessel will offer a shortened “Ocean Getaway” without any featured ports of call, departing one day later than originally scheduled.

Port Closure Delays Serenade of the Seas

Serenade of the Seas is homeported from Tampa, Florida, but due to flooding and local hazards after then-Hurricane Idalia, Port Tampa Bay remained closed for 36 hours after the storm’s closest approach to Tampa, not reopening until nearly 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 31, 2023.

Because of this, passengers on Serenade of the Sea‘s current sailing – which was to have ended on Thursday – are still onboard the ship well outside of Tampa Bay. Rather than debarking on Thursday, the guests enjoyed an unexpected extension to their cruise and an extra day at sea.

Royal Caribbean International has therefore shifted the embarkation for the next sailing to Friday, September 1, with a departure time of 4 p.m. The cruise line is contacting guests about the adjustment, which includes dropping the cruise’s only port of call.

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas
Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt / Shutterstock)

“We worked diligently to ensure the best cruise experience and a comfortable journey for you, despite the weather impact,” the notification email read. “Unfortunately, due to speed, distance, and time, we won’t have enough time to visit Cozumel – instead, we’ll enjoy a beautiful Ocean Getaway together.”

With the loss of Cozumel on the now 3-night itinerary, Serenade of the Seas will have no port visits on the sailing but will instead have two full days at sea before returning to Tampa on Monday, September 4, the same as originally scheduled.

Guests are asked to arrive at the Port Tampa Bay cruise terminal within their originally scheduled arrival window time. All guests must arrive no later than 2:30 p.m. to be properly checked in and onboard by 3 p.m.

The 90,090-gross ton cruise ship will be docking at Cruise Terminal 2 on Channelside Drive, ready to welcome as many as 2,490 guests aboard for a unique and unexpected cruise to nowhere.

Read Also: Carnival Ship to Operation Cruise to Nowhere After Storm

Compensation Offered

Because the sailing has been shortened by a day, guests will receive a one-day refund of their cruise fare, returned as onboard credit to their SeaPass accounts. The pro-rated one-day refund also applies to any package offers for beverages or internet access.

Similarly, any pre-paid Royal Caribbean excursions for Cozumel will also be refunded to guests’ onboard accounts.

All of these refunds can be used for photos, souvenirs, spa treatments, drinks, or other onboard expenses, and any remaining amount at the end of the sailing will be refunded to the original form of payment.

Serenade of the Seas in Tampa
Serenade of the Seas in Tampa

Guests will also receive the full loyalty points for the sailing as originally scheduled – a 4-night sailing – despite the actual shortened itinerary.

Finally, all guests are being offered a $50 (USD) onboard credit (per person) as a “goodwill gesture” for the sailing changes.

If travelers prefer to cancel their cruise instead, they may do so for a full refund with no penalties, including any non-refundable deposit. Refunds will be processed by the cruise line within 14 business days after the cruise ends, but may take longer to return to individual financial institutions.

All Florida Ports Now Open

Port Tampa Bay was the last of the three major cruise homeports in the Sunshine State to reopen after Hurricane Idalia. Port Canaveral, the world’s busiest cruise port, reopened first as it was furthest from the storm’s path and experienced only minimal impact.

Jaxport in Jacksonville had a more direct impact from the storm, but by the time it was closest to Jacksonville, Idalia had already weakened significantly.

Port Tampa Bay had stronger impacts and local flooding caused a longer closure for the port facilities, plus the lengthy channel took longer for appropriate inspections before the facility could be cleared to reopen safely.

CRUISE HIVE NEWSLETTER

Free expert cruise tips and news from Cruise Hive! We'll send you the latest cruise updates daily to your inbox.

Cruise Boards
124 Shares
Copy link