Miami, FL

Royal Caribbean Cancels Sailings for Four Ships Amid COVID Surge

Bobby Laurie
Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the SeasRoyal Caribbean International

In an email sent to travel agents, Miami-based Royal Caribbean announced on Friday they’re suspending operations for select ships “as a result of the on-going COVID related circumstances around the world and in an abundance of caution.”

The cruise line has announced Vision of the Seas will not return to service until March 7, 2022. Additionally, Jewel of the Seas, which is currently sailing with passengers on board, will cease all operations once the passengers disembark and won't return to sailing until February 20, 2022, taking a one and a half month hiatus. One of Royal Caribbean's largest ships, Symphony of the Seas, is also looking at a schedule change and won't take on passengers until January 29, 2022.

Rounding out the four schedule adjustments is Serenade of the Seas. The ship embarked last Sunday on a “cruise to nowhere," Royal Caribbean’s answer to setting sail from Hong Kong without an increased risk for contracting COVID-19, by spending three days at sea and not calling on any ports, but had to return a day early after passengers started showing signs of the Omicron variant.

The cruise-ship cluster is said to be tied to a group of Cathay Pacific flight attendants who violated isolation regulations and went out partying in Hong Kong after flying in from the United States. A 28-year-old flight attendant who tested positive for COVID-19 and then was identified as having the Omicron variant, danced with a soon-to-be Royal Caribbean passenger at a nightclub that later boarded the Sunday departure. Another member’s of the passenger’s household separately tested positive for the virus, according to the South China Morning Post. The passenger and eight others with whom he spent time on the cruise are in isolation waiting for PCR tests.

In response to the outbreak, Royal Caribbean has canceled all remaining sailings for the ship leading up to its scheduled dry dock for refurbishments and announced it won't resume passenger sailings until April 26, 2022.

News of the adjustments was also conveyed to passengers currently onboard Jewel of the Seas. A few were seen posting to social media stating the Captain had informed all passengers that the ship would be suspending operations following their sailing.

In a statement sent to me, Royal Caribbean said: “Our teams will continue to consider every option and resource to keep cruising safe and enjoyable as the world and the cruise industry continue to adapt.”

According to Royal Caribbean, guests affected by these cancelations will be notified shortly and presented with options to consider provided they did not already cancel under the Cruise with Confidence policy.

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As a travel expert with actual, hands-on experience, I serve as co-host of the national TV travel & lifestyle show “The Jet Set” and as a Traffic Reporter in Washington, D.C. I have been seen on The TODAY Show, Dr. Oz, Inside Edition, MSNBC and Good Morning America.

Washington, DC

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