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Royal Caribbean begins dropping visits to Key West following cruise ship ban

19 Feb 2021
Matt Hochberg

Following Key West voting to ban cruise ships, scheduled stops are being cancelled.

In November 2020, Key West voted to ban large cruise ships and now Royal Caribbean is informing guests their ship will not visit the island.

An email sent to guests sailing on a Radiance of the Seas sailing on December 5, 2021 informed them that due to "recent cruise regulations", the scheduled stop in Key West has been replaced with a visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Read moreDo's & Don'ts of Perfect Day at CocoCay

Due to recent cruise regulations, we must replace our visit to Key West, Florida. Instead, we'll visit our extraordinary private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay. 

We know how much time and effort go into planning your vacation, and we're sorry for any inconvenience caused by this. 

Any pre-paid shore excursions scheduled for Key West, Florida will be refunded to the original form of payment.

The itinerary change is a result of Key West residents voted to approve a limit on cruise ship traffic to Key West.

There has been some debate within the State of Florida about the validity of such a ban, but in the meantime it appears Royal Caribbean is moving forward with changing their schedules.

The new rules for Key West that passed are as follows:

  • Limit the number of daily cruise ship visitors at 1,500
  • Prohibit cruise ships with 1,300 passengers or more from docking
  • Give docking priority to cruise lines that have the best health and environmental records

All three proposals passed with 63.34%, 60.7% and 81.19% voting yes, respectively.

None of Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are small enough in capacity to be admissable under the new Key West laws.

Key West is not a major destination for Royal Caribbean cruise ships, with a few ships making stops at the island periodically, primarily smaller or older ships, such as Brilliance of the Seas.