Undecided Next Voyage for Royal Caribbean Ship Undergoing Repairs

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Royal Caribbean International has made contact with guests who booked the upcoming sailing of Radiance of the Seas. The guests have been notified that the status of their impending cruise is yet to be determined. However, they will receive an update by May 2, which is the day before embarkation. This could be potentially cause frustration for some passengers as they might only find out about their cruise when their travel plans are already in place.

Many cruise travelers prefer arriving at the embarkation port a day or two before setting sail in case of flight delays or other travel adversities. Some travelers also like spending time in the homeport cities preceding their cruise ship boarding.

The uncertainty of whether the cruise will proceed might lead to increased anxiety and annoyance before the vacation commences. Nevertheless, Royal Caribbean is making efforts to keep everyone informed.

“Repairs are still underway, and our teams are working diligently to address this issue. We want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to resolve it as quickly as we can,” the email notification read. “While we continue to make progress, we understand the importance of keeping you informed and will provide you with another update by May 2nd.”

The repairs are due to a technical issue that developed with the ship’s propulsion system during its April 22 cruise, a 4-night sailing repositioning from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Because the ship was unable to maintain top speeds, both ports of call – Astoria and Victoria – were cancelled in order to bring the ship to Vancouver and allow extra time for repairs.

Unfortunately, the repairs were not able to be completed as quickly as hoped. While guests embarked the ship on Friday, April 26 as planned for ‘Radiance of the Seas’ first Alaska sailing of 2024, they were informed that their departure would be delayed until Sunday, April 28.

Then, just a day after embarkation and while the ship was still in Vancouver, guests were alerted that repairs would take longer than anticipated and the April 26 (delayed until April 28) cruise had to be cancelled instead.

It remains uncertain whether the May 3 cruise – a 7-night northbound journey from Vancouver to Seward, Alaska – will proceed. If more repair time is required, the voyage may have to be shortened and certain destinations removed to increase the ship’s speed over the 1,500 miles between Vancouver and Seward.

Under the current plan, the cruise is set to stop at Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, and Skagway, and also includes a day of scenic cruising near Hubbard Glacier.

The subsequent cruise is due to leave Seward on May 10, heading southbound back to Vancouver. If the Radiance of the Seas cannot be repaired in time to reach Seward for embarkation, this cruise could also be affected, either with a delay or cancellation. Currently, there has been no official confirmation of any changes to the May 10 cruise departure.

The present propulsion problem and the sudden cruise cancellations for Radiance of the Seas bear striking resemblance to issues the ship faced in August 2023.

At that time, nearly the same series of events unfolded – ports were cancelled on the sailing when the propulsion issues developed, and the next sailing was cancelled just hours before departure.

After that, a second full cruise also needed to be cancelled as repairs were completed. At that time, guests were notified three days before departure that their sailing could not take place.

The similarity between the repairs in September 2023 and those the ship is undergoing now have guests concerned that the technical issue was not fully addressed during the first repairs. Because the exact nature of the problem has not been disclosed, however, there is no way to know if both incidents are related, or just strangely similar.

This is not the first time the same cruise ship has experienced two very similar incidents.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom, for example, had a fire that damaged her funnel in May 2022, and the sailed with a modified straight funnel for months until a new funnel was installed during dry dock in October 2023. Then, in March 2024, a possible lightning strike started another fire in the funnel, causing it to be removed for a straight funnel once more.

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