Royal Caribbean Temporarily Suspends Blue Lagoon Excursions

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At least one cruise line has cancelled all shore excursions to Blue Lagoon Island in the Bahamas following the sinking of a ferry boat and the death of a cruise passenger on Tuesday, November 14.

Royal Caribbean International has temporarily suspended all tours to the island at least through Thursday, November 23, 2023.

Royal Caribbean Cancels Shore Tours

Royal Caribbean has sent notices to all guests with pre-booked shore excursions for Blue Lagoon Island for the next week that their tours have now been cancelled. This includes tours such as beach breaks, dolphin swims, stingray encounters, and similar excursions.

“We’re currently working with authorities to evaluate a boat incident that took place during a shore excursion,” the notification to guests read. “In light of this incident, we have decided to cancel all Blue Lagoon tours through November 23.”

Read Also: Cruise Guest Dies After Tour Boat Sinks in the Bahamas

During the next week, Royal Caribbean has 11 ship calls scheduled for Nassau, and guests booked on all those vessels will have their Blue Lagoon Island excursions cancelled and fully refunded. No other shore tours are affected.

Cruise Passengers on Sinking Boat in Nassau, Bahamas
Cruise Passengers on Sinking Boat in Nassau, Bahamas

The impacted ships include the cruise line’s Symphony, Mariner, Liberty, Allure, Adventure, Independence, Vision, Freedom, and Anthem “of the Seas” ships.

Two vessels – Allure of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas – both have two visits to Nassau in that time period – on Saturday, November 18 and Wednesday, November 22 for Allure of the Seas, and on Saturday, November 18 and Thursday, November 23 for Liberty of the Seas.

“We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused by this. Please know your safety is our top priority,” the notification concludes.

While the suspension is only through November 23 at this time, it is possible the cancellations will be extended further and additional cruises will be impacted, depending on how long the incident investigation takes and what its conclusions may be.

Renewed safety inspections of Blue Lagoon ferries or updated certifications may also be necessary before the cruise line will resume offering the tours.

Will Other Cruise Lines Cancel as Well?

It is likely that other cruise lines may similarly cancel Blue Lagoon Island excursions for the time being, depending on their own tour offerings and safety considerations. How long such excursions may be cancelled will be up to each individual cruise line.

Through the end of the month, ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line are all scheduled to visit Nassau and may have their shore tour options impacted.

Cruise Ship IN Nassau, Bahamas
Photo Credit: YULIYAPHOTO / Shutterstock

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson has confirmed that the 74-year-old female cruise guest who died in the incident was a guest aboard Independence of the Seas, the only Royal Caribbean ship visiting Nassau the day of the accident.

Tour companies, which are independent contractors and not affiliated with any cruise line, often combine tour offerings from multiple vessels, particularly for transportation to tour sites. It is possible that guests from different cruise lines were also aboard the stricken boat.

According to guests on the ship as well as video of the incident, large waves hit the double-decker ferry which then began taking on water. The boat listed severely and eventually sank in the relatively shallow water close to Blue Lagoon Island, eventually stabilizing with the top deck still above water.

Cruise lines occasionally cancel shore excursions due to bad weather or other reasons, such as lack of adequate transportation or staffing on the part of the tour company to accommodate all interested guests.

In the meantime, guests can enjoy a wide range of great activities when visiting Nassau, including visiting the Atlantis resort and waterpark, snorkeling, the famous “swimming with the pigs” tours, beach breaks at different local resorts, jeep adventures, cooking classes, historical tours, the dancing flamingos of Ardastra Gardens, glass bottom boat tours, and more.

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