Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises Cancel Cruises — What to Know If You're Scheduled to Sail
Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have canceled more sailings, becoming the latest cruise lines to be impacted by the recent omicron-led surge of COVID-19 cases.
Celebrity Cruises, which is part of the Royal Caribbean Group, has delayed the return to service of its Celebrity Eclipse ship so the cruise line can "focus on our ships currently sailing in the Caribbean and our brand-new ship launching in April," a company spokeswoman, confirmed to Travel + Leisure on Tuesday. The Celebrity Eclipse was initially scheduled to launch at the end of March. The cancellation also impacts four previously scheduled Pacific Coast sailings.
Affected guests can choose to either receive a full refund or rebook on a different, comparable Pacific Coast sailing this year.
Celebrity currently requires all guests who are eligible to be vaccinated as well as show proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken within two days of embarkation, according to the cruise line.
Royal Caribbean has canceled the Jan. 22 sailing on its Independence of the Seas ship, due to "the ongoing COVID-related circumstances around the world," according to the company. The cancellation follows Royal Caribbean's previous decision to pause sailings on four of its other ships: the Serenade of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas.
"An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people gather," the company wrote in its advisory. "Due to evolving health protocols, certain onboard and destination experiences, offerings, features, or itineraries may not be available during your voyage, may vary by ship and destination, and may be subject to change without notice."
A spokesman for Royal Caribbean did not immediately respond to a request for comment from T+L.
In addition to pausing some of its sailings, Royal Caribbean recently updated its mask protocols, requiring face coverings to be worn indoors. The company also requires guests 12 and older to be vaccinated to board. Last month, the company also chose to temporarily pause new bookings on cruises departing through early January "because our ships will continue sailing with a limited capacity to accommodate physical distancing."
The cruise lines became the latest to be impacted by the omicron variant. Earlier this month, Norwegian Cruise Line also canceled cruises on eight of its ships, including on a ship that was forced to return to port after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases on board.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.