Royal Caribbean has decided to delay the restart of cruise operations for the new Odyssey of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This is due to eight crew members testing positive for COVID-19, which has resulted in all crew members onboard now being in quarantine as a precaution.
It comes as the cruise line’s newest cruise ship recently arrived in Florida to begin preparations for a return to service. Now that the ship is delayed, Royal Caribbean has sent a letter to impacted guests.
Odyssey of the Seas Inaugural Sailings Postponed
The new Royal Caribbean cruise ship has remained on hold since being delivered in March 2021. Guests will have to wait a little longer to experience the second Quantum Ultra class vessel as the cruise line has postponed the inaugural voyages.
Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley confirmed Odyssey of the Seas’ first sailing on July 3 out of Fort Lauderdale has now been pushed back to July 31, 2021. A planned simulated sailing in late June has also been delayed to a later date.
The reason for the delay comes as eight crew members have tested positive for COVID-19. Even though the positive crew members had received their second vaccination shot, it was still within the windows before the vaccine becomes fully effective. Six of the crew are asymptomatic and two are showing mild symptoms.
The eight crew members are in quarantine and being monitored by the ship’s medical staff. It also means that as a precaution, all other crew onboard are also in quarantine for 14 days to make sure there is no further spread of the virus.
There are currently 1,400 crew members on board Odyssey of the Seas, and they had all received their second shot since June 4, when the ship first arrived in the U.S. at Port Canaveral. The day the ship arrived, the cruise line quickly made sure vaccinations were done at the port. The crew will be classed as fully vaccinated on June 18, 2021.
A letter has already been sent out to those guests who were booked on the canceled sailings. Odyssey of the Seas departures from July 3 to July 25, 2021, will no longer take place and guests have a number of options from the cruise line.
Option one offers guests a 125% future cruise credit (FCC) that can be used to book a cruise by April 30, 2022 and sail on or before September 30, 2022.
The second Lift & Shift option allows guests to move the booking to a sailing in 2022. The fare will be protected, and guests can choose a six- to eight-night Caribbean sailing, in the same stateroom category, within two weeks (before or after) of the original sail date the following year. The Lift & Shift option must be chosen by June 23, 2021. if not, then guests will automatically receive the FCC.
The third option is also a Lift & Shift but for a sailing in 2021. this can be done to any sailing this year as long as the stateroom category is the same. this will also need to be chosen by June 23, 2021.
The fourth option is a full refund if a guest no longer wants to cruise with Royal Caribbean. This will need to be done by July 31, 2021 can can be completed online.
Not the Best of Starts
Hopefully, Odyssey of the Seas will finally restart cruise operations on July 31, 2021. this isn’t the first time the ship has canceled cruises. She was precisely scheduled to begin fully vaccinated sailings out of Israel at the end of May 2021.
However, due to the recent developments in the country, Royal Caribbean decided to cancel that season in the Mediterranean and bring her to the U.S. earlier than expected. Once odyssey of the Seas does finally begin sailing from Florida this summer, she will offer 6- and 8-night Caribbean cruises.