Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Five Royal Caribbean projects that didn't go as planned

03 Jul 2020
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean spends a great deal of energy in planning refurbishments, upgrades, new ship construction and a lot of other initiatives, but sometimes these projects can slip behind schedule.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes delays and unexpected problems will occur in any project, including cruise ships.

With the recent news of Odyssey of the Seas encountering issues at the shipyard, I wanted to take a look back at some other Royal Caribbean projects that also dealt with their fair share of setbacks.

Empress of the Seas return to the fleet

In 2015, Royal Caribbean announced it was bringing back Empress of the Seas to the fleet, following a restructuring of sister company Pullmantur cruises.

In order to get the ship back to service, it would need to undergo an "extensive refurbishment" in Spring 2016.

Unfortunately, the additional work needed took much longer than expected in order to bring the vessel back up to Royal Caribbean's standards, and as a result, the first six sailings in 2016 were cancelled.

Then another seven more sailings were cancelled because Royal Caribbean discovered more significant infrastructure and physical improvements across the ship's multiple galleys and provisioning areas were needed.

In the end, Empress of the Seas rejoined the fleet in May 2016, following two months of cancelled sailings and $50 million in upgrades.

Navigator of the Seas Amplification

In early 2019, Navigator of the Seas had her turn for a much anticipated Royal Amplification, which would add new water slides, restaurants and experiences onboard.

The $115 million shipwide refurbishment was scheduled to be complete by February 2019, but poor weather conditions at the shipyard in the Bahamas caused delays to the progress of the ship’s outer decks.

As a result, the February 24 sailing was cancelled.

Luckily, the delay only impacted one sailing, and Navigator was able to resume service in March 2019 without any other impact.

Galveston cruise terminal delay

The global impact of the current health crisis took its toll on Royal Caribbean's plans to build a brand new cruise terminal in Galveston that could accommodate Allure of the Seas.

In December 2019, Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston signed a long-term agreement to build a $100 million 150,000-square-foot cruise terminal, which was scheduled to open in November 2021.

In March 2019, Royal Caribbean asked the Port of Galveston for a one year delay in starting construction of its new terminal.

Royal Caribbean cited the new terminal delay was caused by the closure of shipyards along with the disruption to the supply chain. Thus, the cruise line decided to postpone construction of a new terminal in an effort to cut costs.

The Galveston Wharves Board voted on the proposal a month later and approved the one year delay to begin construction of Cruise Terminal 3.

As it currently stands, Royal Caribbean has shifted Allure of the Seas' sailings from Galveston until the terminal is ready.

Oasis of the Seas crane accident

Accidents due occur from time to time, including last year when a construction crane collapsed on top of Oasis of the Seas.

The incident occurred in April 2019 while Oasis was at the Great Bahamas Shipyard near Freeport, Bahamas for scheduled maintenance work. A construction crane hit the ship, and ended up laying against the vessel.

After assessing the damage, Royal Caribbean found damage to the Aqua Theater and some suites, and was forced to cancel the next three scheduled sailings that followed in order for the ship to be fully repaired.

Perfect Day at CocoCay timeline

Perhaps no project has had as many changes to its timeline than Royal Caribbean's ambitious makeover of its private island in the Bahamas.

At a ceremony in March 2018 in New York City, Royal Caribbean announced its plans to expand its private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay

The $200 million transformation (later it increased to $250 million) originally had a multi-phase timeline, with the completion of a new pier in September 2018, and a Spring 2019 date for most of the island's experiences to be open. The final phase, Coco Beach Club was set to open November 2019.

Royal Caribbean broke ground on the new pier on April 27, 2017, and added the pier would be complete in June 2018.

The pier took much longer than anticipated, with multiple delays that lead to it eventually taking the first ship docking there in March 2019.

Luckily, the rest of the project moved forward at a better pace, with Oasis Lagoon pool and some dining venues also opening in March.  Splashaway Bay and Skipper's Grill followed in April 2019, and the Grand Opening of Perfect Day at CocoCay was held in May 2019.

The Coco Beach Club was delayed a few times, but opened in late January 2020.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

Get our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with cruise news & advice

    We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy