The cancellations continue for Royal Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas.
After six cancellations last month due to delays in the ship’s renovation, Empress of the Seas was due to start sailing again next week. But now that voyage and six others have been canceled, too. That brings the cancellation count to 13.
Travelers on seven sailings leaving from PortMiami — April 25, April 30, May 5, May 9, May 14, May 19 and May 23 — will have to make alternate plans.
The reason: Renovations of the former Pullmantur Cruises ship, one of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ brands, are proving more complicated than expected.
“As work has progressed, we learned that more significant infrastructure and physical improvements across the ship’s multiple galleys and provisioning areas were needed to meet our high standards,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement. “We decided that instead of simply repairing the five galleys, we would completely rebuild them, starting from scratch with entirely new infrastructure and all new equipment, at a cost of $10 million.”
Thirteen total sailings have been canceled in the last two months: March 30, April 4, April 7, April 11, April 16, April 21, April 25, April 30, May 5, May 9, May 14, May 19 and May 23.
Empress’ renovation to upgrade the vessel, built in 1990, to current standards began in February. When renovations are complete, the 1,840-passenger ship will have some of the features of Royal Caribbean’s newer ships, including a rock climbing wall, VOOM high-speed Internet and steakhouse Chops Grille.
Guests affected by the cancellations can rebook for the same cruise fare on Majesty of the Seas or Enchantment of the Seas through June 27 or on a cruise with Empress of the Seas from June 1 to July 23. Guests who rebook will receive onboard credit.
Travelers who don’t rebook will get a refund.
Additionally, guests scheduled to sail on the April 25 and 30 sailings will also receive a future cruise credit of 50 percent of the cruise fare they paid. Those slated originally to sail on one of the initial cancellation dates in late March and early April who then rescheduled to the newly canceled voyages will get a cruise credit equal to the full cost of their cruise fare.