The big cruise story this week was the totally unexpected news from Royal Caribbean. Despite the fact that lots of customers had already made their bookings for 2020, Royal made the surprising decision to pull Independence of the Seas out of Southampton and relocate her to Fort Lauderdale.
The official reason given is that it is due to a “phenomenal demand” from North America, however, the company had felt nervous due to the uncertainty caused by the ongoing fiasco that is Brexit.
Another factor is the high demand for the Caribbean, especially for itineraries to Royals private resort, Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas.
If you are booked on Independence for next summer, what happens now? Here is what Ben Bouldin, associate vice president and managing director, Royal Caribbean International UK & Ireland has to say: “guests affected by the itinerary change will be offered full refunds and a ‘Future Cruise Credit’ for use on alternative sailings – valued at 25% of the cruise fare paid on their cancelled sailing.”
Independence of the Seas is a favourite of the UK passengers so I hope that Royal Caribbean does not end up regretting their decision.
So this now leaves only the bigger and newer Anthem of the Seas as the sole representative sailing from Southampton.
Anthem, a Quantum-class ship, was introduced to the fleet in 2015. Costing a mind-blowing $940m, she boasts 16 passenger decks containing 2090 cabins.
Royal Caribbean claims that the UK market is still very important to them however their actions may have left a bad taste in the mouth of some of their customers. Especially for those who booked with a complimentary drinks package, which is not included with any new bookings.
So what do you think of this news?
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