Royal Caribbean has announced it will return to San Juan November 30 and to St. Maarten December 17, making it the latest cruise line to announce a return to the destination after the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.
Freedom of the Seas will call on San Juan November 30, and Grandeur of the Seas will call on St. Maarten November 10. Jewel of the Seas will return to St. Croix starting January 8; the ship will sail from San Juan. All calls to Dominica remain canceled through June 2018; Royal Caribbean said it is closely working with the local government on a return date to the destination.
“Royal Caribbean is encouraged by the commendable progress that has been made by the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten towards the recovery of these destinations and it means a lot to us that we are heading back home. We have been part of the Caribbean community for almost 50 years, and for all of us it has been paramount that we focus on supporting our long-standing partners – who feel more like family after so many years,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, in a written release. “Supporting these destinations that are so reliant on tourism is key to the future of the islands and the best thing we – as travelers and businesses – can do for the islands.”
Royal Caribbean said it expects power and transportation to be readily available in San Juan by November 30, allowing guests to tour the city. Similarly, the return of power and water to most of St. Maarten means that a majority of shops, restaurants, bars and tour operators will be fully operational, Royal Caribbean said.
As of November 30, all scheduled calls to San Juan and St. Thomas will operate as planned, including calls by Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. St. Maarten calls will operate as planned starting December 17, except for Oasis of the Seas, which will make its first call to the destination January 1 during its New Year’s Eve cruise.
Earlier this week, Carnival Cruise Line announced its own return dates to San Juan, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. A Carnival representative told Travel Agent that the cruise line will return to San Juan starting November 30 with a call by Carnival Conquest. St. Thomas visits will resume January 9, 2018, beginning with Carnival Glory, and St. Maarten visits will resume January 15, 2018, beginning with Carnival Sunshine.
Carnival Fascination will also resume year-round weekly departures from San Juan starting February 18, 2018, after the completion of a charter by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide housing and meals to relief workers in St. Croix.