While the United States and Europe are slowly but surely coming back to normal, the same cannot be said about cruises in Australia and Asia. The Two continents are still and will be for the extended future, under strict quarantine regulations, while international travel seems to be recovering at a slow pace.
This has prompted Royal Caribbean to make significant changes to the itineraries for four of its ships scheduled to sail in the region. At the same time, the cruise line has implemented a compensation scheme for a long list of voyages that have been canceled due to the pandemic.
Asia & Australia Changes
When Royal Caribbean started sailing from Singapore in December of last year with Quantum of the Seas, it looked like the rest of Asia would follow suit. However, the continent is still dealing with the pandemic, and quarantine regulations have either been extended or reinstated throughout.
Voyager of the Seas had been scheduled to start sailing from Tianjin, China, at the beginning of August as part of an increase of sailings from China and Singapore. Due to the strict travel restrictions in place, Royal Caribbean has canceled these voyages between August 2021 and March 2022.
Spectrum of the Seas sailings have been postponed from Hong until October of this year. The strict quarantine regulations in Hong Kong made it impossible for the cruise line to operate here earlier, as we reported last week.
At the same time, the hugely successful cruises from Singapore onboard Quantum of the Seas, coupled with the travel restrictions in place in Australia, have prompted Royal Caribbean to cancel sailings from Brisbane from October 30, 2021, and instead keep the vessel in Singapore for another extension of her season in the city-state.
Ovation of the Seas would have been repositioning to Australia towards the beginning of September, but again, due to the Australian travel restrictions, Royal Caribbean has postponed this and decided to keep her in Alaska longer. The cruise line added four additional voyages to the originally scheduled cruises up north.
The repositioning for Serenade of the Seas after her current Alaskan itinerary has also been canceled. These sailings towards Australia on September 26 and October 7 were supposed to bring the vessel to Australia for a number of Pacific Island cruises. What the vessel will be doing instead is unclear at this time.
Compensation on Canceled Voyages
The compensation offers that Royal Caribbean is giving are available to guests that have currently been confirmed on the Return to Service (Phase 1) canceled sailings and not previously opting to take advantage of our Cruise with Confidence policy:
Lift & Shift
This option is for those guests who want to move their existing reservation to next year while keeping their original cruise fare and promotions. Guests will need to select a qualifying cruise in 2022 on the same itinerary, sailing length, embarkation port, stateroom category, and departing within +/- 2-weeks of the original cruise date.
Future Cruise Credit
Another option is to avail of a 125% Future Cruise Credit based on the total cruise fare paid per guest, automatically issued on or before July 23, 2021, if no other option is selected. Guests that had previously availed an FCC and the cruise they booked is now also canceled; the original FCC will be reinstated, plus 125% of any amount paid by the guest on the canceled reservation.
For guests that would rather get a full refund, Royal Caribbean will honor this as well.
When ships are returning to Asia outside of Singapore is unclear at the moment. Spectrum of the Seas will be sailing at the beginning of October as it looks right now, and this could kick off the Asian cruise season.
Also Read: Australia Extends Cruise Ban Even Further
For Australia, the start of cruises seems to be a long way off. Australia is still under strict quarantine rules, making it all but impossible to operate inside the country.