Omicron is causing frustration for all travelers this winter, but now it’s affected the cruise industry. Royal Caribbean has canceled cruises on four ships due to “ongoing Covid-19-related circumstances around the world”.
Royal Caribbean stated the cruise line was pursuing an “abundance of caution” because of the sharp rise in cases. Although the cruise line has strict safety protocols—including vaccination and testing requirements for crew and guests—cancellation was the best move according to the company.
The cruise line will cancel/postpone voyages on four popular ships:
- The Vision of the Seas
- The Serenade of the Seas
- The Jewel of the Seas
- The Symphony of the Seas
The cruise line stated, “We regret having to cancel our guests’ long-awaited vacations and appreciate their loyalty and understanding.”
“Our top priority is always the well-being of our guests, our crew, and the communities we visit.”
Full Details Of The Cancellations
The sailings of three popular ships—Serenade of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas—have been canceled. Additionally, Royal Caribbean has paused the restart of Vision of the Seas.
- Royal Caribbean has canceled its Oasis-class Symphony of the Seas from Miami, Florida on January 8th along with two further voyages in the coming weeks. However, the cruise ship expects to be back in service from Miami, Florida, on January 29.
- Royal Caribbean is also pulling the popular Jewel of the Seas service. However, Royal Caribbean expects the service to run again on February 20 from Miami, Florida. The company has canceled its January 9 departure and all sailings until February 20.
- Royal Caribbean is also canceling the Serenade of the Seas from Tampa, Florida until April after a scheduled drydock. The ship was due to set sail on January 8.
- Royal Caribbean was due to restart the Vision of the Seas on January 24 from Port Everglades, Florida. However, Royal Caribbean won’t restart that ship until March.
Despite the mass cancellations, Royal Caribbean will give its customers a full refund or other compensation options.
What Does This Mean For Cruises From The U.S?
The mass cancellations will be a surprise to many travelers. Cruises were largely unaffected by COVID-19 in 2021 due to extremely stringent testing and vaccination requirements. However, Omicrons transmissibility—which resulted in positive cases on all U.S cruises this week—has changed everything.
The CDC reported that all 92 vessels have met the minimum threshold for investigation. And only last week, the CDC warned U.S. citizens to avoid cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. The level 4 designation makes cruise travel a ‘very high risk’ activity, according to the CDC.
Thankfully, cruise ships are extremely flexible with their cancellation policy and refunds:
Royal Caribbean Cancellation Policy
Royal Caribbean has extended its ‘Cruise With Confidence’ program for all reservations from January 31st to May 31st. The company was due to end the program on December 17, 2021, until the surge in Omicron cases. But if you cancel the cruise, they don’t allow full refunds but allow a credit.
Norwegian Cruise Line Cancellation Policy
Norwegian Cruise Line updated its cancellation policy last week because of rising cases of Omicron. Their policy states, “For new and existing bookings made by January 31, 2022, for any voyage with an embarkation date through and including May 31, 2022, guests are free to cancel up to and including January 31, 2022.
“Anyone choosing to cancel will receive a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit to be used for sailings that embark through December 31, 2022. Reservations cancelled outside of final payment will receive a full refund back to the method of payment used to book. If outside final payment and an FCC was used as payment, the original FCC will be added back to the guest’s profile.”
Cruises have responded to the Omicron and are attempting to protect their customers from uncertainty.
How To Prepare For Travel Uncertainty
Omicron is causing significant uncertainty for travelers in the coming months. However, as cases start to peak and restrictions drop in the coming months, there are ways you can protect yourself from the current financial uncertainty surrounding traveling.
HeyModno covers you for PCR test expenses, unexpected quarantine expenses, medical care coverage, and trip interruption coverage. With many countries and cruise lines requiring PCR tests before boarding, HeyMondo could save you money if you test positive before a trip, which isn’t highly unlikely at the moment.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories