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Royal Caribbean cancels Australia cruises due to uncertainty in travel restrictions

In:
Category: 
06Jul2021

While cruise ships are once again sailing in North America and Europe, Australia remains left out of the restart plans.

Royal Caribbean informed guests with booked sailings for the 2021-2022 season the ships scheduled to sail to and from Down Under will no longer do so.

Royal Caribbean described the current situation in Australia as "quite fluid", and announced a redeployment of ships.

Australia still has a cruise ship travel ban that runs through September 2021.

"Due to ongoing uncertainty with the re-opening of international borders, as well as subsequent changes to our global return to service scope, we’ve made a few adjustments to our upcoming itinerary offerings that we want to make you aware of. "

Quantum of the Seas will stay in Singapore, instead of sailing from Brisbane, Australia beginning October 30, 2021.

Instead, the extension of the Singapore season for Quantum of the Seas will run through February 2022. This marks the third season extension for Quantum in Singapore, which first returned to cruising in December 2020. 

To date, on 60-plus ocean getaways, more than 82,000 guests have safely sailed with zero occurrences of COVID-19 on board.

Voyager of the Seas was originally scheduled to sail from Beijing (Tianjin), China beginning in August 2021 and Singapore as of November 2021, the decision has been made to suspend Voyager’s sailings through March 2022. 

Ovation of the Seas will get 4 new sailings added to the tail end of her 2021 Alaska cruise season instead of heading to Australia in September 2021.

Serenade of the Seas has had her repositioning sailings departing September 26 and October 7, 2021 cancelled.

Guests booked on one of the cancelled cruises will have the choice of a 100% refund, 125% future cruise credit, or Lift & Shift for Ovation Sept 20 - Oct 16 only.

Royal Caribbean says it is doing what it can in the meantime to work with Australian authorities to get permission to sail again, "We also continue to engage with Federal and State governments to recommence cruising in Australia and will provide updates as and when they come to hand. "

Since March 27, 2020, no foreign-flagged cruise ships may enter Australian waters.  The Australian Health Principal Protection Committee reviews the ban regularly.

Royal Caribbean suspends final payments for Australian cruises

In:
Category: 
28Jun2021

While cruise ships are slowly returning to service in North America and Europe, when people will be able to cruise down under remains a mystery.

Australia still has a cruise ship travel ban that runs through September 2021, leaving many cruises scheduled for later this year in a state of flux.

Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt announced an extension of the legislation governing Australia's coronavirus travel ban until at least September 17.

Royal Caribbean sent an email to guests with cruises booked sailing from Australia that updates will hopefully be available soon, but in the meantime, final payment dates will be suspended until further notice for Australia cruises.

"The final payment due date will be suspended until further notice for those sail dates that reach Final Payment while we iron out the details of our next steps."

"We’re currently working through this latest government update, and it is taking a bit of time to finalize, but we are getting closer to sharing details with you very soon."

The final payment date is the when full payment for the cruise is required.  Ordinarilly, if final payment was not made, the reservation would be cancelled.

Royal Caribbean did something similar with Alaska cruises earlier this year, when they kept pushing back the final payment date until Alaska cruises got the go-ahead to sail this year.

Since March 27, 2020, no foreign-flagged cruise ships may enter Australian waters.  The Australian Health Principal Protection Committee reviews the ban regularly.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said the ongoing red light on cruises is putting 18,000 jobs at risk, and estimated it has cost the nation $6 billion since last March.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said the cruise ship ban has had a major impact on Australia's economy, "After months of discussions with government, the suspension has been extended again without any clear route from government towards a careful and responsible resumption of cruising."

"The cruise industry has done an enormous amount of work to implement extensive new health protocols globally, but Australia is now the only major cruise destination in the world where there is no progress towards their adoption."

"The cruise industry is not asking for special treatment or to simply reopen the doors to cruising."

Royal Caribbean announces its 2022-2023 Australia cruise deployment

In:
Category: 
19Mar2021

Royal Caribbean has revealed what it has in store for Australia in the 2022-2023 cruise season.

Three ships will sail down under to destinations in the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia.

The new deployments will go on sale beginning March 25, 2021.

The new season also features more weekend 2- or 3-night “sampler” cruises than ever before, so guests can get a taste for cruise life and weekend like they mean it in 2022/23.

Three ships will call Australia home, including two Quantum Class ships.

Quantum of the Seas will arrive in in Brisbane in October 2022 and offer 24 sailings ranging from 3- to 18-nights, including two transpacific journeys, to destinations in the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. 

Quantum has more South Pacific sailings falling across school holidays than ever before.

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Sydney and offer 20 sailings, ranging from 2- to 19-nights, to summer stops in New Zealand, Queensland, the South Pacific and Australia.

Radiance of the Seas is headed to Sydney as well, and will offer 22 sailings, including two transpacific voyages, ranging from 3- to 18-nights, to destinations such as New Zealand, Great Barrier Reef, South Pacific & Fiji, and Tasmania.

Royal Caribbean is also adding a new refundable fare option to provide guests with "added piece of mind". 

The refundable deposits are available for 2022/23 sailings, which allows guests to retrieve their deposit up to 70 days prior to sailing for most cruises.

Royal Caribbean wants Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products

In:
04Dec2020

Are you an Australian that has tortoiseshell products? You can do your part to save the Hawksbill Turtle by giving them up.

Royal Caribbean Australia is parterning with the WWF and Australian Museum in a new campaign that seeks to save the Hawksbill Turtle by asking Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products so vulnerable populations can be traced through extracted DNA.

The new effort is called "Surrender Your Shell", which hopes to use cutting-edge technology to extract DNA from products to track the illegal trade of tortoiseshell.

Researchers will use this DNA to trace tortoiseshell products back to the turtles’ nesting beach and develop a database or “ShellBank” for the first time in the Asia-Pacific. This information will help identify vulnerable turtle populations, so WWF-Australia can work with local communities, governments and the tourism industry to improve turtle protection.

In order to facilitate this effort, the Australian Government has introduced a six month period of leniancy where Australians can send historically purchased tortoiseshell products to WWF-Australia, along with details of where and when they were purchased, without the risk of facing prosecution.

To participate, Australians just need to track down any tortoiseshell products they’ve collected, or been gifted, over the years.

Real tortoiseshell items are brown, orange, amber and yellow in colour and feature irregular patterns.

If people suspect a product is real, they can take the following steps to support the project:

  1. Visit www.wwf.org.au/surrenderyourshell to enter your details, including when and where the item was purchased, to retrieve a unique identification number. 
  2. Attach the unique identification number to your tortoiseshell product, package appropriately and either post through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal or visit a Post Office with your surrendered tortoiseshell and post to WWF-Australia.
  3. Ensure you post your item between 1 December 2020 and 1 June 2021.

The first 100 items sent through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal will be paid for by WWF-Australia.

“We’re proud to support the crusade to save this precious species, and to raise awareness with Australians, and our guests, on the part they can play in bringing these turtles back from the brink,” says Gavin Smith, Royal Caribbean International VP and managing director, AUNZ. “The ocean is our lifeblood and we are committed to preserving it — through our own innovation, our Save the Waves programme, and through important collaborations like “Surrender Your Shell.” 

It is estimated nearly 9 million hawksbill turtles have been traded for their distinctive shells over the past 150 years, bringing the species close to extinction. The Pacific Ocean's population has declined by more than 75% and now just 4,800 breeding female hawksbills are thought to survive.

Royal Caribbean cancels January 2021 Australia and New Zealand cruises

In:
10Nov2020

Royal Caribbean announced it has cancelled its Australia and New Zealand cruises on or before January 31, 2021.

Guests on affected sailings in January have begun receiving emails to inform them of the change.

The new set of cancellations applies only to sailings out of Australia and New Zealand through January 31, 2020.

Royal Caribbean had planned to resume cruises on January 1, but announced it had to cancel the cruises to prepare for its new health protocols.

"We want to ensure we have ample time to focus on our healthy return to service initiatives and to let you make alternative holiday plans."

"Royal Caribbean International will be extending our suspension of sailings, beyond that of the Australian government’s, to include sailings departing Australia and New Zealand on or before 31 January 2021. This is to allow guests booked on January sailings to make alternative holiday arrangements."

Guests who were booked on affected sailings will receive emails with compensation offers and choices of what to do.

The email to guests also thanked them for their understanding.

"We appreciate your patience, understanding, and continued loyalty. We will all come out of this stronger than ever. Stay healthy and safe. We miss our guests, and we’ll be ready to welcome you back soon."

Guests on the now cancelled cruises have the choice of three compensation offers:

125% Future Cruise Credit

125% Future Cruise Credit to book a new cruise by December 31, 2021 for sailings on or before April 30, 2022.

The FCCs will be sent via email by by December 18, 2020.

Lift & Shift

Select next year’s sailing with the same itinerary type, sailing length, stateroom category, and within the same 4-week window of the original cruise date, and you can take your existing reservation and move it to next year.

You must decide to move to a new sailing by November 25, 2020. If not, we will automatically issue you a 125% Future Cruise Credit.

Refund

If you prefer a cash refund, you can do so by requesting this option on-or-before March 31, 2020.

You can expect their refund to the original form of payment within 45 days from the cancellation date. 

FCC Used to Purchase: If you purchased your January cruise using a Future Cruise Credit and opt for a refund, the FCC will be reinstated for future use, under its original terms.

Royal Caribbean will redeploy six cruise ships for winter 2021-2022

In:
21Oct2020

Royal Caribbean announced some new changes to its winter 2021-2022 cruise schedule for the Caribbean and Australia regions.

The changes encompass six ships, which offer new ships, as well as new itineraries, from a few different ports. Royal Caribbean says, "we’ve listened to our guests and valued travel partners, and are ready to share some Winter 2021 – 2022 deployment updates."

Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service announced the changes during a webinar with travel advisors, "We've modified our schedule to make room for some incredible new itineraries."

Royal Caribbean issued a statement that elaborated on the changes, "Our new deployment line-up provides guests with greater variety, including new itineraries in the Caribbean and Australia that will help strengthen the cruise line’s footprint globally."

These changes are in addition to five other Royal Caribbean ships that were redeployed for summer 2021.

Caribbean

Explorer of the Seas will sail 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Explorer will replace previously scheduled sailings on Freedom of the Seas.

Freedom of the Seas will offer 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay cruises from Miami, Florida.

Radiance of the Seas will offer 5- and 9-night Caribbean cruises from Miami, Florida.  Radiance will replace Explorer of the Seas.

Australia

Royal Caribbean will offer new sailings from Brisbane and Sydney, including 25 itineraries sailing from Brisbane to 18 destinations across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Sydney, Australia and offer guests a variety of sailings, including:

  • 9/12 night New Zealand cruises
  • 5/7 night Queensland cruises
  • 6/8 night Tasmania cruises

Quantum of the Seas will sail from Brisbane and offer 3-night Weekend Getaway cruises along with 7/9 night South Pacific sailings. Quantum of the Seas will be the newest and biggest ship to ever call Brisbane home

Serenade of the Seas will also sail from Sydney and offer 7-night Australia cruises.

These new itineraries are currently open and available to book immediately.

Guests who may have been booked on the previous sailings should be hearing from Royal Caribbean soon with their rebooking options.

Individual reservations will be moved to the new ship/sailing on-or-before October 30, 2020.

The re-accommodation of Groups with at least one (1) named reservation will be completed on-or-before November 18, 2020.

More helpful resources

Royal Caribbean cancels remaining 2020 Australia & New Zealand cruises

In:
14Sep2020

Royal Caribbean announced on Tuesday morning in Australia that it has cancelled all of its scheduled sailings through the end of 2020.

The new set of cancellations applies only to sailings out of Australia and New Zealand through December 31, 2020.

A statement by Royal Caribbean indicated the cruise line made the announcement now so that guests could make alternate holiday arrangements.

"The health and safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit is our top priority and we are working closely with local health and government authorities towards this shared goal. Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have extended our suspension of sailings, beyond that of the Australian government’s, to include sailings departing Australia and New Zealand on or before 31 December, 2020. This is to allow guests booked on Christmas and New Year sailings to make alternative holiday arrangements."

Guests who were booked on affected sailings will receive emails with compensation offers and choices of what to do.

Why the cruises were cancelled

The decision by Royal Caribbean International to cancel its November and December 2020 cruises comes days after the Australian government extended its ban of cruise ships entering Australian waters until mid December.

The order encompasses restrictions on overseas travel, the entry of cruise ships into Australia, the supply and sale of certain essential goods and retail stores at international airports.

At one point, Australia looked like it might be a place in the world where Royal Caribbean could start cruises again first, but that hope has quickly disappated.

Australia extends its ban on cruise ships until December

In:
03Sep2020

Australia has extended its ban on cruise ships entering Australian waters until mid December.

The ban, which includes overseas travel, was announced on Thursday by Australia's Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt.

An emergency period of the Biosecurity Act of 2016 will be extended until December 17, 2020. It was previously set to expire on September 17.

The order encompasses restrictions on overseas travel, the entry of cruise ships into Australia, the supply and sale of certain essential goods and retail stores at international airports.

"The extension of the emergency period was informed by specialist medical and epidemiological advice provided by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC)," according to a statement from Mr. Hunt.

"The AHPPC has advised that the international and domestic COVID-19 situation continues to pose an unacceptable public health risk," he said.

The announcement by the Australian government follows Royal Caribbean's decision a week ago to cancel all of its cruises departing from Australia and New Zealand on or before October 31, 2020.

Royal Caribbean will have three ships in Australia for summer 2021-2022 cruise season

In:
Category: 
10Jun2020

Royal Caribbean teased its upcoming 2021-2022 summer season in Australia, South Pacific and New Zealand to Crown and Anchor Society guests, boasting the addition of Quantum of the Seas to the mix.

The new sailings will officially open for guest bookings on June 11.

Highlights include Quantum of the Seas sailing from Australia for the first time ever, along with Ovation of the Seas in Sydney.

Radiance of the Seas will sail from Brisbane.

Royal Caribbean will offer 8-12 night vacations to the South Pacific.

Say Kia Ora to adventure in New Zealand, rediscover Australia’s beauty rich and rare, or simply embrace the island life in the South Pacific. All while sailing on state-of-the-art Royal Caribbean ships filled from bow-to-stern with unforgettable holiday experiences.

Some sailings are already appearing on Royal Caribbean's website, including a 3-night sampler cruise from Sydney on Quantum of the Seas on December 10, 2021.

Royal Caribbean announced in March that Quantum of the Seas would leave China and offer cruises to Alaska. Typically when ships that sail to Alaska are finished with the cruise season there, they transition over to Australia to offer sailings down under.

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