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Royal Caribbean cancels remaining 2020 Australia & New Zealand cruises

14 Sep 2020

Royal Caribbean announced on Tuesday morning in Australia that it has cancelled all of its scheduled sailings through the end of 2020.

The new set of cancellations applies only to sailings out of Australia and New Zealand through December 31, 2020.

A statement by Royal Caribbean indicated the cruise line made the announcement now so that guests could make alternate holiday arrangements.

"The health and safety of our guests, crew, and the communities we visit is our top priority and we are working closely with local health and government authorities towards this shared goal. Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have extended our suspension of sailings, beyond that of the Australian government’s, to include sailings departing Australia and New Zealand on or before 31 December, 2020. This is to allow guests booked on Christmas and New Year sailings to make alternative holiday arrangements."

Guests who were booked on affected sailings will receive emails with compensation offers and choices of what to do.

Why the cruises were cancelled

The decision by Royal Caribbean International to cancel its November and December 2020 cruises comes days after the Australian government extended its ban of cruise ships entering Australian waters until mid December.

The order encompasses restrictions on overseas travel, the entry of cruise ships into Australia, the supply and sale of certain essential goods and retail stores at international airports.

At one point, Australia looked like it might be a place in the world where Royal Caribbean could start cruises again first, but that hope has quickly disappated.

New Zealand volcano erupts while Royal Caribbean ship is nearby

09 Dec 2019

A volcano in New Zealand erupted on Monday, coinciding with a nearby visit by Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas.

Ovation of the Seas was in the port of Tauranga, a coastal city about 90 km (56 miles) from White Island. White Island (or Whakaari) is one of New Zealand’s most iconic, active, volcanoes that you can visit by boat. 

Authorities report around 50 people were on White Island when the eruption took place, and CNN reports more than 30 passengers were there from Ovation of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's Australia website posted an update at 7:30pm AEDT:

During Ovation of the Seas call to Tauranga today, a shore tour was visiting White Island at the time of the volcanic eruption earlier this afternoon. We do not have any additional details to share at this time. Ovation of the Seas will remain in Tauranga overnight until we learn more about the situation. We will offer all possible assistance to our guests and local authorities. Please keep all those affected in your prayers.

AU Crisis Hotline: 1300 026 240

NZ Crisis Hotline: 0800 002 141

Royal Caribbean issued a statement about the incident:

We can confirm that a number of our guests were touring the island today. We do not have any additional details to share at this time.

Ovation of the Seas will remain overnight until we learn more about the situation. We will offer all possible assistance to our guests and local authorities.

Please keep all those affected in your prayers.


We are devastated by today’s events and our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy.

We are working together with local authorities, and we are providing all the help and care we can to our guests and their families, including offering medical resources and counseling. We are also sending staff members from both our ship and our Sydney and Auckland offices to assist family members however possible. 


Ovation of the Seas will remain in port as long as needed to assist with the situation.

Family members concerned about the status of relatives traveling aboard Ovation of the Seas may inquire by calling the following numbers:

Australia – 1-300-026-240
New Zealand – 0800-002141
USA - 800 829 4050
Germany 0800-180-0885
UK 0-800-014-8339
Mexico 01-800-681-5336
China 400-120-3534
Japan 0800-170-6282
Singapore 65-31582855

Noon update: Royal Caribbean has issued a new statement on the developing situation in New Zealand.

The news from White Island is devastating. The details that are emerging are heartbreaking.


We are working to help our guests and the authorities in the aftermath of this tragedy in any way we can.


We are communicating with our guests and their families. We’re making sure they are taken care of in terms of medical help, counseling, accommodations, and transport. Our hearts go out to them, and we want to be as supportive as we can.


Staff from our Sydney and Auckland offices office are already onsite, and we’re going to be offering all our resources while this terrible tragedy sorts out.


We are grateful for the work of all the first responders and medical personnel. We also thank the prime minister and her team, the local authorities and everyone who has reached out to help with their kind thoughts and prayers.

Royal Caribbean launches new shore excursions for Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific

27 Mar 2019

Royal Caribbean has released over 20 new shore excursions for the South Pacific, Australia & New Zealand.

These new tours are designed to accommodate all interest levels, and include tours such as deep sea diving in Vanuatu and helicopter expeditions in New Zealand, to immersive cultural experiences in local South Pacific villages.   

New Shore Excursions include:

Rewa Village Tour and Kava Ceremony
This half-day tour begins with a leisurely drive through the city of Suva by local bus, including photo opportunities of the picturesque Suva Harbour and Lathala Bay. Guests will then arrive at local village Rewa, where they will partake in a traditional Kava ceremony with the village chief and Fijian warriors.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding
The tour starts with a stunning boat ride to Aneityum, Vanuatu’s southernmost isle. Guests will explore a crystal-clear bay brimming with tropical fish on a guided 1.5 stand up paddle boarding adventure, and unwind on the beach afterwards.

Akaroa Sea Kayaking
Guests can immerse themselves in the dramatic scenery of the Akaroa Harbour on a three-hour, small group paddling adventure in a double kayak. Home to two marine reserves, guests will be on the lookout for rare seabirds, seals and the only marine animal endemic to New Zealand, Hectors Dolphins.

Royal Caribbean opens bookings for Ovation of the Seas Australia and New Zealand cruises

17 Jun 2015

Royal Caribbean opened bookings for its third Quantum-class cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas today.  Guests can now book cruises for the ship's maiden season in Australia and New Zealand.

Ovation of the Seas will arrive in Australia on December 6, 2016 when she docks in Perth.  Ovation of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship to ever be homeported in Australia.

After arriving in Australia, Ovation of the Seas will visit Adelaide and Hobart, before arriving in Sydney to begin her official Australian season.

Ovation of the Seas will offer four sailings from Sydney during her summer season starting from December 15, 2016, including:

  • A 15-night New Zealand cruise beginning with an overnight in Sydney on December 15, 2016 followed by calls at Hobart, the Milford Sounds region, Dunedin, Wellington, Picton, Tauranga and Auckland.
  • A 10-night New Year cruise around New Zealand departing December 30, 2016, with calls at the Milford Sound region, Dunedin, Wellington, Napier and Picton.
  • A 14-night cruise during the January school holidays with visits to Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington, Picton, Dunedin, and the Milford Sounds region.
  • Ovation of the Seas leaves Australia on January 23, 2017 with a 14-night Sydney to Singapore cruise visiting Brisbane, Darwin and Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang).

Royal Caribbean commercial director for Royal Caribbean Australia & South East Asia, Sea Treacy, commented on the arrival of Ovation down under, "At USD$1 billion, Ovation of the Seas represents the single largest investment in Australia and New Zealand cruising by any cruise line. This ship truly ignites the imagination about what is possible on a cruise holiday – from skydiving in the middle of the ocean, robot bartenders, to North Star, an observation capsule that transports you more than 90 metres above the sea providing stunning 360 degree views."

"Being the imaginative and adventure-loving nation that we are, it is not surprising that over 20,000 Aussies have pre-registered their interest since we first announced her local deployment. Ovation of the Seas’ first season will be historic and we can’t wait for Australians to experience the world’s most advanced ship right on our doorstep," Treacy said.

"In her first season alone, Ovation of the Seas is projected to inject more than $20million into the Australian economy with 14 total calls across the country, and almost 30,000 guests are expected to experience the new generation of cruise ship. Some of the other delights her guests can look forward to include bumper cars, a circus school, spectacular shows in the custom-built Two70 entertainment venue, 18 different dining options including Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, Broadway shows and high speed internet."

Ovation of the Seas stop in New Zealand in jeopardy

06 May 2015

The Ports of Auckland, New Zealand might be saying "no thank you" to Royal Caribbean's brand new cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas.

Earlier this week, the porth authority decided not to build a wharf extension that is necessary for a ship the size of Ovation of the Seas to dock at.  Now the Auckland Council has taken over negotiations in an effort to have the ship stop in Auckland.

Royal Caribbean still believes Ovation of the Seas could still stop in Auckland after meeting with port and council representatives yesterday.

"Absolutely, after that meeting I believe Auckland will be a possibility.  It was very positive, we put our requests and got the promise they will look at that, and come back with a final answer," Royal Caribbean port captain Nik Antalis told Radio New Zealand.

A flurry of political warnings and maneuvering began on Friday when Ports of Auckland announced the 98-metre-long Bledisloe 3 extension would not be completed and thus, Ovation of the Seas would not be able to visit.

Royal Caribbean visits to New Zealand's South Island in jeopardy

12 Feb 2015

Future calls to New Zealand's South Island are potentially in danger of being canceled due to a lack of dedicated berth at Lyttelton port due to earthquake damage.

Royal Caribbean ground handler and representative Tony Petrie said the number of Voyager class ships that visit the South Island had dwindled given the lack of a viable port to call at in Canterbury.  Royal Caribbean's ships could stop at Port Charmers in Otago but would not stop in Akaroa.

Earthquake damage to Christchurch in 2011 ruined the existing port infrastructure.

Essentially, Petrie said marketing cruises to Port Chalmers is more difficult because customers are unwilling to go on a longer cruise without a stop in Lyttelton.

Royal Caribbean had more than 30% of the overall New Zealand cruise market.

Royal Caribbean will increase total cruise passenger numbers for New Zealand

13 Aug 2013

Royal Caribbean's plans for New Zealand this summer will be in contrast to the rest of the cruise industry because it will bring more passengers to the country this year.

Royal Caribbean estimates it will carry somewhere between 80-85,000 passengers, up from around 60,000 passengers last season.

The increase for Royal Caribbean is opposite the trend for the rest of the cruise industry, which is projecting a dip in passengers to New Zealand from 211,000 last year to just 200,000 this year.

Royal Caribbean commercial director for Australia and New Zealand, Adam Armstrong, said the increase can be attributed to a longer season for megaship Voyager of the Seas as well as sister-brand Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Solstice.

Armonstrong also indicated that New Zealand is becoming a more popular cruise destination internationally and more ships were becoming available after cruising around Asia during the northern summer.

"More ships are being based in this part of the world, particularly in Asia. We benefit from that because of the seasonality - our ships migrate by following the sun," Armstrong said.

"It needs to keep doing what it's doing. What New Zealand has been good at is handling larger ships and that's what other ports elsewhere haven't been able to keep pace with, you're very fortunate to have deep-water ports for cargo that can be adapted for cruise ships."

Deal Alert: Royal Caribbean offering stateroom upgrades on Australia and New Zealand cruises

30 Jan 2013

Royal Caribbean is offering deals on its winter 2013-2014 cruises to Australia and New Zealand of free stateroom upgrades.

Guests can book inside staterooms aboard Rhapsody of the Seas and be upgraded for free to oceanview staterooms, or you can book a balcony stateroom for the cost of an oceanview stateroom aboard Radiance and Voyager of the Seas.

The offer applies to new U.S. and Canadian individual bookings made on Jan. 30 through Feb. 28, 2013 aboard Royal Caribbean International ships departing from Sept. 2013 through April 2014 on 10-night sailings or longer in Australia and New Zealand. 

For more information, please visit

Royal Caribbean adjusts 2013/2014 cruise season in Australia

07 Jan 2013

Citing "unprecedented demand", Royal Caribbean has changed its 2013/2014 cruise season in Australia and New Zealand replacing two cruises to New Zealand and Queensland with voyages to the South Pacific.

Royal Caribbean also added a "sampler cruise" to the schedule.

Royal Caribbean says the changes were made to accommodate the demand for cruises to the Pacific Ocean and for shorter itineraries.

An example of the change is a 14-night Voyager of the Seas cruise to New Zealand, due to depart on January 10, replaced with a three night ‘cruise to nowhere' followed by an 11-night trip to Fiji and New Caledonia.

An 11-night Rhapsody of the Seas voyage to Queensland, departing Sydney on February 11, has also been axed and replaced with a South Pacific sailing, calling at Noumea, Mare and Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, Luganville and Vanuatu.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia commercial director Adam Armstrong said passengers booked on the cancelled itineraries will be offered alternative voyages. 

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