Royal Caribbean is keeping the Independence of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale for 2020, instead of Southampton as had been originally planned. The line says that the move is due to “strong booking interest” in Perfect Day at CocoCay, the cruise line's newly opened private island destination in the Caribbean. As a result, the ship’s 2020 sailings out of Southampton have been cancelled.
“Responding to strong booking interest in its exciting new Caribbean private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean International has announced a 2020 deployment change for Independence of the Seas,” a spokesperson for the cruise line tells Travel Agent. “The ship will now stay in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for summer 2020.
“Guests affected by the itinerary change will be offered full refunds and a Future Cruise Credit for use on alternative sailings. The popular Quantum Class ship, Anthem of the Seas, will return to the UK market for 2020 as planned.”
Travel agent commissions on the cancelled sailings will be protected, the cruise line said in an FAQ on its UK website. Guests affected by the cancellations will receive a full refund and a future cruise credit for use on alternative sailings, and all pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to the original form of payment within seven to 10 business days. All agents can redeem the future cruise credit, which will be valid for two years, by calling 0344 493 4005 or emailing the details to [email protected].
Guests should receive their credit by Monday, May 13, for all sailings except the May 2 and October 31 transatlantic crossings. Guests on those sailings should receive the credit around May 24.
As had been previously planned, the Anthem of the Seas will sail transatlantic, Spain and Portugal, France and Spain, Northern Europe and Italy itineraries out of Southampton during the 2020 cruise season. The cruise line said that it had decided not to automatically rebook guests on cancelled Independence of the Seas cruises on Anthem of the Seas in order to give them more options.
Perfect Day at CocoCay, the cruise line’s new, $250 million private island destination in the Bahamas, just opened this week. The first in a series of planned Perfect Day Island Collection destinations around the world, CocoCay offers a variety of attractions, including the tallest waterslide in North America, a helium balloon ride and the largest wave pool in the Caribbean. For relaxation, guests can opt for the Caribbean’s largest freshwater pool, Oasis Lagoon, or one of the island’s white sand beaches.