Royal Caribbean International has cancelled Independence of the Seas’ ex-UK season from May 2020 and will transfer the 4,560-passenger ship to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to offer Caribbean sailings. Passengers already booked 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. Agents will keep any commission they have earned.
RCI said that the change was in response to “phenomenal demand” from North America. Guests booked on the transatlantic sailings will be offered an alternative sailing on Anthem of the Seas, which is also sailing ex-UK to Europe in summer 2020, along with onboard credit based on their stateroom category and sailing length. Non-refundable airline charges will be reimbursed, and full refunds given to those who wish to cancel.
Ben Bouldin, Associate Vice President and Managing Director, Royal Caribbean International UK & Ireland, said: “This is not a reflection on the UK market but rather a response to the phenomenal demand we are seeing in North America. Ex-UK 2020 sales have been buoyant since our ‘on sale now’ campaign back in November 2018 and we are also seeing strong demand from UK guests for sailings outside of Europe, particularly in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific regions. The UK continues to be an important market for Royal Caribbean.
“The benefit of our global business model is that we are able to reposition ships to satisfy the demand of our guests. In this case, demand is high in the Caribbean, especially for itineraries to Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, and keeping Independence of the Seas in Florida allows us to meet the demand.”