Even though cruise ships are not sailing, it seems everyday something is changing in the world that affects what is happening now, and what will happen soon.
This ever changing landscape makes it difficult to keep track of what is happening with Royal Caribbean today, and what the near-future looks like for cruising.
For anyone looking to catch-up on the current state of Royal Caribbean, here is a concise primer of where Royal Caribbean is right now, and what we can expect going forward.
No cruises until at least mid-September
Since mid-March, Royal Caribbean (and all cruise lines) have suspended their global sailings due to the global health crisis, and have periodically cancelled more and more sailings.
As of right now, most Royal Caribbean cruises are cancelled through September 15, 2020, with a new target date of resuming operations on September 16, 2020 (more on that later).
There are a few exceptions to the September 15 date:
- All Canada sailings are suspended through October 31, 2020, due to the Canadian government’s extended travel ban on cruise ship travel.
- Bermuda sailings will be suspended through October 31st, 2020.
- Explorer of the Seas’ August 2020 sailings will be cancelled and the revitalization will be a technical dry dock where only routine maintenance work will take place.
- Cruise terminals will remain closed in Copenhagen, Denmark and as a result, on June 11th, 2020 these sailings were cancelled: Jewel of the Seas August 8th, 16th, and 23rd, 2020 sailings, & Brilliance of the Seas August 21st, 2020 sailing.
- Asia sailings are cancelled on Voyager of the Seas sailings through September 30th, 2020, and Spectrum of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas sailings through July 2020.
- Odyssey of the Seas sailings from November 5th, 2020 through April 17th, 2021 are cancelled due to issues at the shipyard and in the supply chain.
- Liberty of the Seas’ amplification has been postponed, and the ship will now sail to Galveston earlier than planned. Liberty replaces Jewel of the Seas during this time.
Guests on any of these cancelled sailings were given the option of getting a 100% refund, 125% future cruise credit, or even moving the reservation to next year at the same price.
While these cancellations have new dates when sailings are expected to resume, more cruise cancellations are very possible due to regulatory and legislative challenges that arise.
Why can’t cruise ships sail?
There are two primary reasons why Royal Caribbean is not offering any cruises, although there are a variety of other considerations as well.
First and foremost, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread so rapidly around the world that concern of keeping its guests and crew safe resulted in Royal Caribbean voluntarily shutting down its operations until it was safe to resume sailing.
In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a No Sail Order to the cruise lines, which means cruise lines may not resume sailings until at least the end of July.
The No Sail Order requires all cruise line operators to submit a plan to assure passenger and crew safety from COVID-19.
Many countries around the world have also banned cruise ship (and other discretionary travel), which compounds the issue of a cruise ship resuming operations.
Getting crew home
With so many ships not sailing, Royal Caribbean began to work to get its crew members home.
Not only is there little to no work for many crew to do onboard, but most crew want to be with their families, and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain has said crew repatriation is its first priority.
In order to get crew members home, Royal Caribbean had to overcome significant legal and political hurdles countries have set up that prevent crew members on a cruise ship from returning home.
Countries around the world, including the United States, have added complex new regulations and travel restrictions meant to protect its citizens at home, while making it extremely difficult for citizens abroad to return simply because they are on a cruise ship.
Currently, 95% of the crew have now been taken home, either via Royal Caribbean’s ships or be a chartered aircraft. By July 15th, 97% will be repatriated to their home.
Being able to cancel a cruise has never been easier
If you want to look for a silver lining to all of the cancellations and health issues, it has been Royal Caribbean has unveiled its most generous ability to cancel a cruise.
Known as the Cruise with Confidence program, even if Royal Caribbean has not cancelled your cruise, you have the option of cancelling your cruise up until 48 hours before you sail date with no penalty at all (even if you booked non-refundable cruise fare).
If you take the Cruise with Confidence offer, 100% of your cruise fare will be converted into a future cruise credit to be used on a future sailing.
The bottom line is any cruise booked today has a great deal of flexibility to be able to cancel later, which has alleviated many guests of concern they are not sure about booking cruises months from now.
Healthy Sail Panel
While there are no cruise ships sailing, Royal Caribbean teamed up with Norwegian Cruise Line to create the Healthy Sail Panel.
This is a blue ribbon panel of health and governmental experts who will devise a variety of health protocols aimed at making cruise ships as safe as possible in a world dealing with a global health crisis.
This group is comprised of top experts in public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The panel will spend the next few months working on a set of health protocols that encompass the entire cruise vacation, and then provide these recommendations to the public. Royal Caribbean will then take these recommendations and apply them to the cruise line, and submit it to the CDC and other regulators for approval to return to service.
Royal Caribbean says it intends to adopt the panel’s recommendations as well as the CDC standards across the global fleet.
The panel hopes to provide initial recommendations to the cruise operators by the end of August. Until then, we do not yet know what specific changes will be made, although we have gotten a few hints, such as social distancing.
When will cruises resume?
The short answer is no one definitively knows when cruises will resume because there have been different phases of cancellations and the global climate changes frequently.
Until Royal Caribbean receives the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations, gets approval from the CDC, and announces a firm plan for when cruising will resume, there is no way to know exactly when cruises will start back up again.
The current date of September 16, 2020 is a moving target, and should not be viewed as the “gospel truth” until there is a more firm announcement.
Where Royal Caribbean cruising is right now and what’s next for cruises was originally published on July 07, 2020 at 02:16PM by Matt from Royal Caribbean Blog. Far Beyond Infinity Travel Blog takes no responsibility for errors in syndicated content.