San Juan

Oasis class cruise ships coming to Puerto Rico in 2014


The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC) has signed a deal with Royal Caribbean that will bring Oasis class cruise ships to the island of Puerto Rico in 2014, according to Caribbean Business.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis class cruise ships are the largest in the world and bring 5,400 passengers.   PRTC Executive Director Luis Gerardo Rivera Marín did not indicate weather Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas would visit the island, but Marín did say the ship would dock at Pier 3 in Old San Juan.  Furthermore, naval architects have been at the pier to verify pier compliance.

Friday Soundoff: Did Royal Caribbean make amends for San Juan incident?


You've likely heard about the incident in Puerto Rico last week where Royal Caribbean stranded 140 passengers when Hurricane Irene forced the Serenade of the Seas to leave port earlier than expected.  There was a lot of outrage targeted at Royal Caribbean for not doing more to notify the passengers and/or compensate them for missing their cruise.  Yesterday Royal Caribbean announced it was offering those who missed the ship compensation.

So today's soundoff topic is: Did Royal Caribbean rectify the situation in your eyes?

Did Royal Caribbean do enough to make the situation better?  Or do you think that since the cruise contract every passengers enters into stipulating Royal Caribbean owes them nothing means the compensation is more than adequate?  

Share your thoughts in our comments for this post!

Royal Caribbean decides to compensate stranded passengers from San Juan debacle


After an avalanche of negative comments concerning Royal Caribbean's decision last week to strand over 100 of its passengers in San Juan without any compensation, Royal Caribbean has decided to offer those who didn't make the ship a compensation package.

The incident occurred when Hurricane Irene threatened San Juan, Puerto Rico where Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas was docked.  Port officials needed to have the ship leave early, so Serenade was forced to leave a few hours early and subsequently left 145 passengers and refused to offer them any compensation.

Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez confirmed that a compensation package was indeed being offered but declined to provide specifics.

The aftermath of the incident spilled over when people heard of what happened and were upset over Royal Caribbean's indifference to the plight of those left behind.  Despite earlier saying the cruise giant would not offer anything (they claimed they were within their rights to do what they did), Royal Caribbean is hoping to reverse the negative perception that has taken hold in the court of public opinion.

UPDATE: Here is a statement from Royal Caribbean:

 “As a gesture of goodwill, and in recognition of the time they missed on board Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean provided each guest who was not able to arrive to the ship before it departed San Juan but met the ship later, with a future cruise certificate for 30% of the cruise fare paid for their sailing.

“We are in the process of contacting those guests who were not able to sail with us at all to inform them of their compensation, and would prefer that the impacted guests learn of the amount directly from the line before it is disclosed publicly.

“We are compensating these passengers because we understand that this was an unusual situation, and we want to provide our guests with another opportunity to sail with Royal Caribbean International in the near future.” 

Royal Caribbean denies stranding passengers in San Juan due to Hurricane Irene


We first told you about passengers who missed their Royal Caribbean cruise earlier this week when Royal Caribbean was forced to depart San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than scheduled due to the impending threat of Hurricane Irene.  

Today, Royal Caribbean has denied any responsibility for leaving 145 passengers at port to get Serenade of the Seas of the way of the storm three hours early.  Royal Caribbean contends that port officials began to limit harbor traffic at 12:30 pm on Sunday, forcing the ship to depart early.

Of the passengers left behind, 15 had purchased their airfare through Royal Caribbean and were subsequently given a hotel stay for two nights and flown to Aruba to join the cruise on the rest of its voyage.  The other 130 passengers, however, were on their own.  The reasoning, according to Royal Caribbean is, "Independent guests were advised of hotel availability in the area, but the expense was on them given that it was a weather-related event."

Furthermore, Royal Caribbean says there was simply no way of contacting the passengers in time to alert them to the change, “There was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our guests, but this decision was made by the Port of San Juan to ensure the safe transit of all guests and crew through the port.”

It turns out Royal Caribbean isn't alone in this.  Another 300 passengers missed their Carnival Cruise when Hurricane Irene prompted the Carnival Victory to leave port four hours early.

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas leaves San Juan early and strands passengers


Due to fear of Hurricane Irene impacting Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean decided to leave San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier than the scheduled 8:30pm time.  The earlier departure time may have gotten the ship out of the path of the storm, but it stranded some Royal Caribbean passengers in San Juan after they claim they weren't made aware of the schedule change.

Passenger Nicole Washington of Baltimore, MD arrived at the docks Sunday shortly after 5, she found the gates locked and the ship gone.

“There was nobody there,” she said. “Everybody was gone and there was nobody there to tell me where the ship was.”

In a statement, Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez explained the change, "On Sunday, due to the projected path of Hurricane Irene, and the weather forecast to reach San Juan, Puerto Rico that evening, authorities at the Port of San Juan limited traffic in and out of the port.  As a result, Serenade of the Seas was required to depart earlier than our originally scheduled time of 8:30 p.m.”

Washington did admit that she never checked into the cruise so according to Royal Caribbean, the line had no idea she was even in San Juan.

Martinez went on to say, “There was no way to notify our guests of this change in departure time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our guests, but this decision was made by the Port of San Juan to ensure the safe transit of all guests and crew through the port.”

Puerto Rico remains confident Royal Caribbean's fleet distribution not a problem for the island


Royal Caribbean had decided to move its Serenade and Adventure of the Seas ships out from San Juan, Puerto Rico in favor of Europe as part of a business decision to chase higher revenue and that move has some in Puerto Rico worried about the relevance of the cruise industry to the island.

The executive director of the Tourism Company, Mario Gonzalez Lafuente, said that Puerto Rico remains a major cruise port and denied that the relocation of two ships represents a crisis for the industry in the country.

He said that the information circulated earlier this week and Tourism had advance. "It's a business decision that has taken the company Royal Caribbean to do this next year."

He said that both ships will return to Puerto Rico for the high tourist season in the winter of that year, which covers the months of November to May.

He added that other Royal Caribbean ships, which he identified as the Freedom of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas will continue their regular visits to San Juan and are not affected by the above decision.

According to Gonzalez, returning or coming for the first time to Puerto Rico the following cruise ships: · Carnival Dream, · Celebrity Silhoette, MSC Poesia, Norweigan Sun, P & O Artemis, Grand Princess, Azamara Journey, Freedom of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas the Disney Fantasy, which is scheduled to start their visits in late 2012.

According to statistics from the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association, last year 2010, nearly 15 million passengers took cruises in the Caribbean, an activity that generated over $ 2.200 billion in revenue for the region.