Royal Caribbean Cancels 4 Sailings Amid Omicron Spread — What to Know
Royal Caribbean has canceled sailings on four of its ships, becoming the latest cruise line to scrap voyages amid the spread of the omicron variant.
The cruise company canceled trips on its Serenade of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas, and Jewel of the Seas ships starting this past weekend, according to the cruise line. The three affected ships are expected to return to sailing on April 26, Jan. 29, and Feb. 20, respectively.
Additionally, Royal Caribbean has postponed the return to cruising for its Vision of the Seas ship until March 7.
"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," the company wrote in its advisory, adding the trips were being canceled "As a result of the ongoing COVID-related circumstances around the world, and in an abundance of caution."
Last month, Royal Caribbean 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 line has also updated its mask protocols, requiring face coverings be worn "indoors at all times unless actively eating or drinking." Royal Caribbean requires guests 12 and older to be vaccinated to board.
The decision to cancel sailings comes as the omicron variant continues to spread, sparking several outbreaks on board ships. As of Monday in the United States, every single ship sailing with passengers had experienced cases of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency has advised people against boarding a cruise, regardless of their vaccination status.
Last week, 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. The cruise company pointed to "ongoing travel restrictions" and COVID-19 as reasons for the cancellations.
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.