Coronavirus: Cruise lines cancel and change itineraries amid mounting travel restrictions

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Quantum of the Seas

Cruise lines have responded to a wave of travel and entry restrictions from countries across southeast Asia by cancelling and changing itineraries amid the coronavirus outbreak. Harry Kemble rounds up all the latest developments.

Royal Caribbean International has cancelled two Quantum of the Seas sailings departing from Singapore on February 15 and February 24.

Affected passengers have been given full refunds, the line said.

A Royal spokesperson added: “Royal Caribbean’s number one priority is ensuring the health and welfare of our guests and crew.

“We will continue to monitor conditions and will share other itinerary adjustments should they become necessary.

“The Singapore market remains of great importance to us and we look forward to returning there very soon.”

Royal Caribbean Cruises has lifted its ban on passport holders from China, Hong Kong and Macau after adopting the controversial policy last week.

A statement from Royal Caribbean Cruises, parent of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea confirmed the reversal on Tuesday.

Every passenger who has travelled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau 15 days prior to the departure date is still banned from boarding any of Royal’s vessels.

Norwegian Cruise Line has pulled its entire Asia programme for the newly refurbished ship, Norwegian Spirit.

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Norwegian Spirit with its new hull design.

All sailings between 15 and December 7 have been dropped and full refunds are being offered, along with 10% future cruise credit.

The line also said it would cover up to $300 per person for any air change fees.

“While it is always our intention to maintain original itineraries, at times, unforeseen circumstances require us to make modifications,” the line said. “We appreciate our guests’ patience during this time.”

Celebrity Cruises has cancelled Celebrity Millennium’s sailing departing from Hong Kong on February 15 and altered two Celebrity Constellation itineraries to avoid Singapore and Thailand.

Constellation will spend more time in Cochin, Goa and Mumbai, instead of calling into Phuket, Thailand.

Cunard ship Queen Mary 2 is to miss several ports in southeast Asia and will sail direct to Fremantle, Australia, during its world cruise.

The vessel had been scheduled to call into Phuket, Thailand; Pulau Penang Island and Klang in Malaysia; Singapore; and Hong Kong.

Cunard said the “various travel and entry restrictions…are increasingly impacting ship itineraries and connecting travel” across the world.

Holland America Line (HAL) ship Westerdam was stopped from docking in Laem Chabang, Thailand, a day after the ship had been diverted from Japan.

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Holland American cruise ship Westerdam who got turned away from Thailand yesterday (Tuesday)

On Tuesday, HAL said: “We are actively working on this matter and will provide an update when we are able.”

Princess Cruises on Wednesday confirmed a further 39 passengers onboard Diamond Princess tested positive for coronavirus. The total has now risen to 174 confirmed cases out of 3,700 passengers and crew on board.

The ship is the largest centre of cases outside China.

P&O Cruises is removing calls into Shanghai on March 5-6 and Hong Kong on March 9-10 as part of Arcadia’s world cruise and will announce alternative ports “as soon as possible”.

The UK line said: “We are very closely monitoring and assessing the impact of the latest developments and health advisories, as well as various travel and entry restrictions which are increasingly impacting ship itineraries and connecting travel.

“We are actively seeking to mitigate these risks to our guests and crew, and are making appropriate adjustments to our operations to protect all onboard our ships.”

Royal Caribbean International reveals the name of the second Quantum Ultra class ship

Royal Caribbean International reveals name of second Quantum Ultra class ship

Royal Caribbean International will name its second Quantum Ultra class ship Odyssey of the Seas when it launches next year.

The decision was announced as the first piece of steel was cut for the vessel at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, on Friday.

Odyssey of the Seas will sail from the United States after it launches in fall 2020. Additional details will be revealed later this year, the line said.

The first Quantum Ultra class ship, Spectrum of the Seas, is slated to launch in spring 2019.

Quantum Ultra class is only slightly larger than Quantum class.

Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, and Ovation of the Seas currently make up the Quantum class ships in the entire Royal Caribbean fleet.

Each ship is 168,666 gross tons compared to Quantum Ultra class vessels which are 168,800 gross tons.

Ovation of the Seas Drydocks in Zhoushan

Ovation of the Seas

The Ovation of the Seas is in Zhoushan, China, for an unscheduled drydock at a COSCO-run facility, prompting the cancellation of the ship’s the Sept. 21 and Sept. 26 cruises from Tianjin, China.

“We must conduct unscheduled maintenance on Ovation of the Seas,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement released to Cruise Industry News.

“Unfortunately, this means our September 21 and September 26 cruises from Beijing, China must be cancelled,” the company said. “Our booked guests will have the option to choose another sailing date on Quantum of the Seas or request a full refund of their cruise fare. The unscheduled work will help ensure guests continue to enjoy their time on board Ovation; there is no issue or concern with the seaworthiness of the ship. The decision was not taken lightly, and Royal Caribbean apologizes for the effect this adjustment will have on our guests’ vacation plans.”

In April of 2017, Royal Caribbean was also forced to cancel sailings on the ship for “maintenance on components of the ship’s propulsion system.”