As a result of the continued escalation of the war in Israel, Royal Caribbean has canceled their 2024 cruise season in Israel.
Last week during their Q3 earnings call, Royal Caribbean Group said that the canceled 2023 sailings to Israel will negatively impact their earnings for the year by three cents a share.
"Due to the ongoing geopolitical situation in Israel, and with your safety in mind," read an email sent from Aurora Yera-Rodriguez, Associate Vice President of Guest Experience for Royal Caribbean International, "we've adjusted our itinerary."
What ships are impacted?
Jewel of the Seas was slated to be homeported in Haifa, Israel from August to October 2024, with itineraries ranging from 3- to 10-nights.
A guest onboard a sailing in October received an email that said, "Due to the ongoing geopolitical situation in Israel, we've made the decision to redeploy Jewel of the Seas from Haifa, Israel to its new homeport in Boston, Massachusetts."
"Unfortunately, this means your upcoming October 7, 2024 sailing has been cancelled."
Instead of sailing from Israel, Jewel of the Seas will now sail Northeastern itineraries. Grandeur of the Seas will be redeployed to Tampa and sail to the Western Caribbean.
Those originally booked on Grandeur of the Seas will be able to select one of three different itineraries. The first departs on September 22, 2024 and visits Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine.
The second option departs September 29, as well October 6, 20, and 27 and calls in Saint John (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Portland, Maine.
The third and final itinerary departs from Boston on October 13 and will visit Sydney, Nova Scotia; Saint John (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick; and Portland, Maine.
Voyager of the Seas was supposed to call in Jerusalem (Ashdod), Israel during three 7-night round-trip cruises from Athens (Piraeus), Greece in June and August.
An email sent to those booked on the August 19th sailing revealed that the ship will now have an overnight stay in Istanbul, Turkey, with additional stops in Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey; Santorini, Greece; and Mykonos, Greece.
Odyssey of the Seas' four Holy Land sailings in May, September, and October were impacted, too, as the ship was supposed to visit both Hafia and Jerusalem (Ashdod).
Those booked on the May 5th cruise were notified via email that they will now have an extra hour in Chania (Souda), Crete, Greece. Additionally, the ship will call in Mykonos, Greece and Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey instead of visiting Israel.
Guests booked on Jewel of the Seas may book another sailing and have any non-refundable deposit change fees waived
If guests choose to rebook, they'll be responsible for any difference in pricing for the cruise fare, taxes, fees, gratuities, and other incidentals.
For those who had their booking paid in full and decide to rebook a cruise with a cheaper fare, Royal Caribbean will provide a refund of the difference within 14 business days. Refund times may vary depending on the financial institution.
Royal Caribbean will also help reimburse non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees for flights, trains, rental cars, etc. They'll cover up to $200 USD per guest for domestic changes and up to $400 USD for international changes.
If choosing not to rebook, Royal Caribbean will provide a full refund of the paid portion of the cruise fare (including non-refundable deposits), as well as any pre-paid amenities to the original form of payment.
For those who made their Jewel of the Seas reservation with a Future Cruise Credit and opt to cancel will have their original certificate reinstated, with any new funds paid above the certificate amount refunded.
No additional compensation will be provided.
Those originally booked on Grandeur of the Seas out of Boston have a few options
Those who choose to rebook will receive their original stateroom category, as it will be price protected at the original cruise fare rate, excluding taxes, fees, gratuities. If the booking was paid in full and the rate decreases, Royal Caribbean will refund the difference.
If booked guests want to rebook another sailing on a different ship, Royal Caribbean will waive non-refundable deposit change fees; however, they'll be responsible for paying the difference in cruise fare, taxes, fees, and gratuities, if applicable.
Guests will also be reimbursed for non-refundable, pre-purchased transportation change fees. They'll cover up to $200 USD per guest for domestic changes or $400 per guest USD for international changes.
Finally, Royal Caribbean will refund any paid portion of the cruise fare, including non-refundable deposits, if they decide to cancel.
If the Grandeur of the Seas booking was made with a Future Cruise Credit and opt to cancel will have their original certificate reinstated, with any new funds paid above the certificate amount refunded.
No additional compensation will be provided.
Shore excursions will be automatically refunded
Any pre-paid Royal Caribbean International shore excursions booked for Jerusalem (Ashdod), Limassol, Alexandria, and Haifa will automatically be refunded to the original form of payment.
Royal Caribbean is not the first cruise line to cancel the 2024 season
On Wednesday, November 1, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced that they would cancel the remaining sailings in 2023 and the entire Israel season in 2024.
During their earnings call, CEO Harry Sommer said, "One of the main strengths and differentiators in our industry is our ability to reposition our assets, which is what we’ve done with the heightened tensions in the Middle East."
“The safety and well-being of our guests and crew members are without a doubt our number one priority.”