The pause in bookings is to assist in social distancing on ships.
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Royal Caribbean will not be accepting new bookings on cruises departing in the next few weeks, the cruise line confirmed to Travel + Leisure on Thursday.

"Cruises departing through early January 2022 are unavailable to new reservations because our ships will continue sailing with a limited capacity to accommodate physical distancing," the cruise line said in a statement to T+L. "These sailings were removed from our website as we've done with previous cruises in 2021."

The earliest departure date available on the Royal Caribbean website is Jan. 10, , Royal Caribbean shared on Twitter. Customers who already have bookings between now and then will still be able to make upgrades and room changes.

"Additional layers of our measures include vaccination requirements for our guests and crew, a facemask policy, pre-cruise testing for all guests, and weekly testing for every crew member," Royal Caribbean also noted.

Royal Caribbean - 10 night Hawaii Cruise, Vancouver to Oahu
Credit: Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

The cruise line's temporary pause on new bookings comes as the omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world. A few of the company's ships have had to alter their itineraries due to positive test results on board.

Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas was not allowed to dock in Curacao or Aruba this week and will spend several additional days at sea after dozens of COVID-19 cases were reported onboard, the Miami Herald reported. The ship, which can accommodate around 5,500 guests and an additional 1,663 crew members, is set to return to Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 26.

Dozens of people also have also tested positive for COVID-19 onboard the Symphony of the Seas — the largest cruise ship in the world. Those positive cases account for less than .8 percent of the nearly 6,100 people on board, CNN reported. noting nearly 95% of those on board had been vaccinated.

Face masks also are required in all indoor spaces once again as a result of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases around the world.

Royal Caribbean requires COVID-19 vaccinations from all passengers over 12 and requires guests to test negative prior to boarding. Crew members also must be vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19 weekly.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a travel writer loves discovering historic sights and wandering new streets. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, or at the airport, or subscribe to her newsletter.