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Where are Royal Caribbean's ships right now? December 2020

In:
11Dec2020
By: 
Matt Hochberg

During this period where nearly all Royal Caribbean cruise ships are not operating, many cruise fans are curious where the fleet of ships are located.

Royal Caribbean has dispersed its fleet around the world in order to keep ships strategically located near resupply ports that are friendly to cruise ships coming in and out for provisions.

Most of the time, Royal Caribbean's ships are stationed off shore in a particular region, and come into port periodically for new supplies, crew member pick up/drop off, etc.

Throughout the shutdown, the fleet has mostly stayed in place, but a few ships have moved around.

This information was gathered, and accurate, as of December 11, 2020.

Map courtesy of cruisemapper.com

CocoCay

  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas (en route from Southampton to CocoCay)
  • Harmony of the Seas (enroute from Barbados to Miami)

St. Maarten

  • Independence of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas

St. Kitts

  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas

Barbados

  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Serenade of the Seas

Southampton, England

  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas

Crete - Anchored off the coast

  • Empress of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas

Papenburg, Germany

  • Odyssey of the Seas

Singapore

  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Spectrum of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas (enroute from Philippines)

What are the cruise ships doing during the shutdown?

Aside from Quantum of the Seas, the fleet of cruise ships are in a state of "warm lay up", which means they are at reduced crew levels with no guests onboard and essentially keeping the ship operational.

The purpose of keeping ships in warm lay up is it allows them to potentially return to service very quickly.  If they were to go into "cold lay-up", it would reduce short term costs but make restarting operations more difficult.

Periodically, Royal Caribbean has shuffled some vessels around between ports, but they fleet has remained mostly in-place for the last few months.

Every so often, a ship will dock in a nearby port to receive new supplies and unload waste. In the United States, PortMiami has been the most commonly used destination for ships nearby to resupply.

When will Royal Caribbean ships sail again?

In the short term, only two ships have plans for a restart.

Quantum of the Seas has already begun sailing from Singapore, where she is offering 3- and 4-night "cruises to nowhere" that are open only to Singapore residents.

Unlike the rest of the fleet, Royal Caribbean did not cancel Spectrum of the Seas sailings from Shanghai, which points to the chance that ship could restart in January 2021. 

The rest of the fleet is shutdown through the end of February 2021.  Royal Caribbean has a new goal of restarting on March 1, 2021, but that is anything but a certainty.

All cruise lines are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to receive permission to restart sailings.  The CDC has laid out a framework for cruise lines to demonstrate they can operate in a safe manner through a variety of new protocols.

Thus far, there has been no indication on what, if any, progress has been made with regard to attaining permission to sail again.

The reality is no one really know when exactly cruises will start, and that means Royal Caribbean's ships will remain idle around the world until the company is ready to start operations up.

When they do start cruising again, do not expect all 26 ships to resume sailings immediately. Royal Caribbean has said repeatedly it expects to start with a few ships that can sail to its private destinations first, and then expand operations from there.

Royal Caribbean Group Chief Financial Officer shared restart plans during the company's last earnings call with investors, "We are currently planning for a very limited initial return and a gradual ramp up during the first half of 2021."

Mr. Liberty emphasized that the first cruises back will be focused on short sailings, "Deployment of spring is expected to be highly focused on short sailings from key drive markets in both the U.S. and Asia-Pacific regions."

Typically, "key drive markets" references cruises that depart from ports where most of the customers can drive to the cruise ship, as opposed to guests who fly to their cruise ship.

This boils down to a handful of ships beginning at first, with a phased approach to bringing the entire fleet back.