Tropical Cyclone Jasper, now strengthened to a severe Category 3 storm, is forcing more changes for Royal Caribbean ships sailing in Australian waters.
First it was changes for Quantum of the Seas, and now Brilliance of the Seas is dramatically changing its December 8, 2023 sailing to steer clear of the dangerous storm.
Brilliance of the Seas Itinerary Change
Brilliance of the Seas will not be sailing her planned 11-night Great Barrier Reef cruise departing Sydney, Australia on Friday, December 8. Because of the influence of Severe Tropical Cyclone Jasper, the ship will instead be heading south to completely different Australian and Tasmanian ports of call.
This is similar to the complete change of itinerary already announced for Quantum of the Seas, sailing from Brisbane. Guests were notified of the change the day before departure, with a completely updated itinerary.
“We’ve been monitoring adverse weather along our intended path caused by Tropical Cyclone Jasper. To ensure a safe and comfortable sailing, and after exploring all options, we’ve decided to change up our itinerary,” the notification read.
The ship was originally scheduled to spend two days at sea, then enjoy Airlie Beach on Monday, December 11 and Cairns on Tuesday, December 12. Another day at sea was to follow, then a stop in Port Douglas on Thursday, December 14 and Willis Island on Friday, December 15. After two more days at sea, Eden would be the last stop on Monday, December 18 before the ship returned to Sydney on Tuesday, December 19.
Now, Eden is the only port of call remaining from the original itinerary. The ship will spend the first day at sea before visiting Eden on Sunday, December 10. Days at sea are interspersed throughout the new itinerary, with full, 10-hour visits to Adelaide on Tuesday, December 12 and Melbourne on Thursday, December 14.
An overnight call in Hobart, Tasmania is the last port of call and will stretch from 8 a.m. on Saturday, December 16 until 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 17. The cruise will still conclude as planned in Sydney on Tuesday, December 19.
“We’re terribly sorry for the last minute change caused by the weather – your safety is our top priority,” the email concludes.
Guests who have made independent tour arrangements in ports of call will want to contact their tour operators as soon as possible for cancellation and refund options. Pre-paid tours booked through Royal Caribbean International should be fully refunded.
Brilliance of the Seas began her Australian season on October 22, and the ship is scheduled to spend six months offering diverse sailings Down Under.
The 90,090-gross-ton ship can welcome 2,142 guests at double occupancy, or as many as 2,543 guests when fully booked. Also onboard are approximately 850 international crew members to ensure that everyone has a brilliant cruise, no matter what ports of call they visit.
Update on Severe Tropical Storm Jasper
According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM), Severe Tropical Storm Jasper is currently spinning 1,100 miles (1,767 kilometers) north-northeast of Brisbane, and moving slowly south-southwest.
The storm is predicted to strengthen over the next day or two, potentially as high as a Category 5 storm with winds over 123 miles per hour (198 kilometers per hour), though it may weaken somewhat over the weekend.
The storm is expected to make a turn toward the west in the coming days, which will bring it to the Queensland coast for landfall early or mid-next week.
Any travelers with South Pacific or Australia cruises in the next few days will want to stay in touch with their cruise line about possible itinerary changes and updates.