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Royal Caribbean will start West Coast cruises earlier than planned, beginning in November 2021

In:
06Apr2021

Royal Caribbean will start its West Coast cruises earlier than expected.

The first Navigator of the Seas sailings will begin sailing year-round from Los Angeles, California as of November 2021. 

When Royal Caribbean announced its return to the West Coast, initially the cruise planned to start sailing in June 2022, but will sailing now significantly easier.

Travel agents were notified of the change, which may explain why were there was a delay in the sailings going on sale last week.

These new itineraries will open for sale the week of April 12, 2021. 

Royal Caribbean will offer 3-, 4- and 5-night itineraries to Catalina Island, California and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – plus, select winter holiday 7-night sailings.

Navigator of the Seas will depart from Los Angeles' World Cruise Center in San Pedro.

The announcement that Navigator will begin cruises in November 2021 confirms the dates that were originally posted on the Port of Los Angeles website prior to Royal Caribbean's announcement.

In March 2021, the Port of Los Angeles website had sailings listed in November and December 2021.

After posting the information on this blog, the listings were removed shortly thereafter.

Returning after a decade

Royal Caribbean's announcement that it will cruise from Los Angeles regularly after more than a decade is significant, as industry insiders have speculated about its West Coast return for years.

While other cruise lines returned, Royal Caribbean stayed away, claiming it was able to make more money elsewhere.

 

In 2015, Freed pointed out the low rates competitor cruise lines were getting. "We always look at the West Coast. But we continue to look at the rates that the other cruise lines are getting, and we offer an experience that we can't afford to be selling at those low rates.

"If and when we see the rates start to bounce back, and we feel we can get paid for what we offer for our product, then we’ll be back there. But right now, unfortunately, it's a bath out there. They're selling four-day cruises at $199 per person, and we’re not just talking Carnival.

"We spend more on food, more on entertainment and more on our overall onboard experience [than other lines], and so we cannot be the low-price leader out in any market."

The line also cited the logistical challenges of returning its ships to the West Coast, much of which had to do with the rise of cruise popularity in other areas of the world, such as Europe and China. Sending ships to those locations meant fewer ships to go to other ports. (The West Coast has always been a seasonal market for ships repositioning from other regions.)

Royal Caribbean will cruise from California for the first time in a decade

In:
17Mar2021

Royal Caribbean will base a cruise ship in California after a 10-year-long hiatus.

At a webinar on Wednesday, the line announced that recently refurbished Navigator of the Seas will homeport in Los Angeles, beginning next year, offering a series of Mexico sailings.

The voyages will vary in length, featuring three- and four-nighters with calls on Ensenada and Catalina Island; five-night cruises visiting Cabo San Lucas; and seven-night sailings with stops at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.

"We are going back to the West Coast," said Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's senior vice president of sales and trade support & service. "Los Angeles, here we come...."

This will be the first time the line has based a ship in the Golden State since Mariner of the Seas left Los Angeles back in 2011 due to violence in Mexico and dwindling profits.

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean Blog speculated that the move was coming after spotting the ship listed on the Port of Los Angeles' website. Navigator of the Seas was also blatantly missing from Royal Caribbean's list of upcoming itinerary offerings.

Oddly, the port's website lists Navigator of the Seas' sailings beginning as early as September 2021, but Royal Caribbean has said they will run from summer 2022 through spring of 2023.

"California was calling us home once again, and what better way to reintroduce Royal Caribbean than to bring our next-level cruise vacations to the City of Angels and make it a year-round adventure starting just in time for summer," Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement.

Read moreNavigator of the Seas Tips & Best Things To Do

The ship, which received $115 million in enhancements in 2019 as part of the Royal Amplified program, boasts a refreshed pool deck, featuring a tropical theme with three pools and two new water slides: Blaster, the longest at sea, which offers one- and two-person rafts; and Riptide, the only headfirst mat racing slide at sea, which includes a see-through section for added thrills.

The vessel has also seen the addition of Playmakers sports bar, complete with drinks, pub grub and plenty of TVs; the Lime & Coconut bar, which serves up signature cocktails and rises three decks, comprising lounge seating and a rooftop sun deck; and Hooked, an intimate New England-style raw bar seafood restaurant.

Hooked first debuted on Symphony of the Seas, and Navigator of the Seas is now the only other ship in the fleet on which it's located.

Bookings for Navigator of the Seas sailings, which will depart from Los Angeles' World Cruise Center in San Pedro, are scheduled to open at the end of March 2021.

Read moreTop 10 Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas hidden secrets

Returning after a decade

Royal Caribbean's announcement that it will cruise from Los Angeles regularly after more than a decade is significant, as industry insiders have speculated about its West Coast return for years.

While other cruise lines returned, Royal Caribbean stayed away, claiming it was able to make more money elsewhere.

 

In 2015, Freed pointed out the low rates competitor cruise lines were getting. "We always look at the West Coast. But we continue to look at the rates that the other cruise lines are getting, and we offer an experience that we can't afford to be selling at those low rates.

"If and when we see the rates start to bounce back, and we feel we can get paid for what we offer for our product, then we’ll be back there. But right now, unfortunately, it's a bath out there. They're selling four-day cruises at $199 per person, and we’re not just talking Carnival.

"We spend more on food, more on entertainment and more on our overall onboard experience [than other lines], and so we cannot be the low-price leader out in any market."

The line also cited the logistical challenges of returning its ships to the West Coast, much of which had to do with the rise of cruise popularity in other areas of the world, such as Europe and China. Sending ships to those locations meant fewer ships to go to other ports. (The West Coast has always been a seasonal market for ships repositioning from other regions.)

This was the big announcement?

The day before Royal Caribbean revealed its plans to return to Los Angeles, Freed told travel agents to expect a big announcement, referring to it as "the news we've all been waiting for."

While cruises from the West Coast are significant, many readers were disappointed the news was not worthy of the hype preceding it.

Because several travel agents reported being told by Royal Caribbean that the big announcement was being delayed or canceled, we suspect that larger news was originally on the docket.

During a question and answer session, listeners specifically asked about test cruises, Alaska sailings and whether the line's restart date will be pushed back further.

Freed and her team said that there is currently no date set for test voyages, but the line continues to work with the CDC. There has been no change to indicate that Alaska cruises from Seattle will happen, but officials remain hopeful. As for the resumption of sailings from the U.S., the line maintains that it has no plans to push cancellations into June at this time.

Spotted: Royal Caribbean ship scheduled to sail from Los Angeles, California in 2021

In:
08Mar2021

If you are among the many that dream of Royal Caribbean returning to the West Coast of the United States, there is a brand new juicy rumor perfect for you.

The Port of Los Angeles website shows regular sailings for Navigator of the Seas in November and December 2021.

Mostly three and four night sailings are listed (with at least one 7-nighter in late November), with sailings beginning October 29, 2021 and going through the end of December 2021.

The Port of Los Angeles schedule does not have the 2022 schedule online yet.

Royal Caribbean has not made any announcement about returning to Los Angeles, but the schedule might shed light onto what could be coming.

Furthermore, Navigator of the Seas has been conspicuously absent from any of the new 2022-2023 itineraries that Royal Caribbean has released thus far.

Want more circumstantial evidence?

Royal Caribbean tweeted out a photo on March 1 of El Arco de Cabo San Lucas, on Mexico's west coast.

It has been 10 years since Royal Caribbean offered regular sailings out of Los Angeles. Mariner of the Seas was the last Royal Caribbean cruise ship to be based in Los Angeles, and she was repositioned in 2011 due to bigger profits elsewhere and violence in Mexico.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, this is not the first time the Port of Los Angeles website has shown a Royal Caribbean ship on the schedule.

Back in January 2020, Voyager of the Seas appeared on the schedule beginning in June 2021 and running through December 2021.  Those sailings have since been pulled down, and Royal Caribbean never confirmed plans for Voyager to call Los Angeles home.

Why isn't Royal Caribbean cruising from the West Coast?

It has been 10 years since Royal Caribbean offered regular cruises from somewhere in California, so why is that?

There are a few reasons, but it mostly has to do with logistics and profits.

During the 2017 Royal Caribbean's President Cruise, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley answered this exact question about returning to California.

He talked about the challenges of offering cruises from the west coast.

"When you look at, for example, consumer research on how people view some of that, some of these destinations, which we do, then there's a little bit of concern over going to some of the destinations that we can go to if we sailed out of L.A."

"To move the ship through the canal around South America, leaving it in California to sail out of, say San Francisco going north, we don't think there's enough demand for that."

"We think it would work for one or two cruises. But you've got to move the ship back. And, you know, we've got big ships. So they believe the costs of operating these ships is phenomenal."

Spotted: Royal Caribbean ship scheduled to sail from Los Angeles, California in 2021

In:
23Jan2020

Readers living on the West Coast of the United States should probably sit down before reading this post, but the Port of Los Angeles cruise schedule lists regular sailings for Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas in 2021.

Beginning in June 2021, Voyager of the Seas is listed as offering regular 3- and 4-night sailings. Regular sailings extend through December 31, 2021. The Port of Los Angeles schedule does not have the 2022 schedule online yet.

Royal Caribbean has not made any announcement about returning to Los Angeles, but in the past port schedules have been good indicators of what Royal Caribbean intends to do.

Royal Caribbean's website currently has no sailings available to book on Voyager of the Seas past April 2021.

The return of Royal Caribbean to offer regular sailings from Los Angeles, or anywhere in California, has been highly anticipated for many years.

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas left Los Angeles back in 2011 due to violence in Mexico as well as to find bigger profits.

Royal Caribbean talks about possibility of returning to west coast

In:
03Nov2015

For many years, Royal Caribbean has been absent from offering cruises on the west coast of the United States and that has many fans wondering when that would change.

Royal Caribbean senior vice president, sales, trade support and service, Vicki Freed, spoke with Travel Agent Central about the possibility of Royal Caribbean returning to the west coast.

Freed pointed at the fiscal situation of offering cruises on the west coast, "We always look at the West Coast. But we continue to look at the rates that the other cruise lines are getting, and we offer an experience that we can't afford to be selling at those low rates."

"If when we see the rates start to bounce back, and we feel we can get paid for what we offer for our product, then we’ll be back there. But right now, unfortunately, it's a bath out there. They're selling four-day cruises at $199 per person and we’re not just talking Carnival."

"We spend more on food, more on entertainment and more on our overall onboard experience [than other lines] and so we cannot be the low-price leader out in any market."

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas left Los Angeles back in 2011 due to violence in Mexico as well as to find bigger profits.

Royal Caribbean offering California residents extra savings

In:
Category: 
03Apr2015

If you're a resident of California, then Royal Caribbean has an extra good deal for you.

In addition to the regular BOGO50 promotion Royal Caribbean is offering to everyone, California residents can save an additional $100.

Eligbile sailings will receive

  • Buy One Guest, Get Second Guest 50% off
  • Buy One Premium drink package, get one 50% off (Promo code BOGOBEV)
  • 50% reduced deposit
  • PLUS $100 savings per stateroom (all categories)

California residents that book any 5-night or longer cruise to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermida or roundtrip European sailings that depart between May 15 and December 31, 2015 are eligible.  Cruises must be booked between April 1 and April 30, 2015.

Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas are excluded from this offer.