February 23, 2020
(Updated, 4:49 p.m. EST) – Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is sending two of its vessels -- one from Royal Caribbean and one from Celebrity -- on a series of humanitarian voyages in Australia and the United States, along with the donation of one million masks to China to aid in efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas will redeploy to Australia in late February 2020, offering complimentary cruises to the region's volunteer first responder community who have been instrumental in handling the recent brushfire crisis in the country.
Spectrum of the Seas’ first free four-night cruise will set sail from Sydney on February 29, followed by a second cruise departing March 7, accommodating a combined total of 7,000 first responders and their families. The line is working with volunteer agencies to encourage eligible people to register.
“We are in a fortunate position to give back to the brave and dedicated members of our community and their families by presenting them with the chance to join us for a few days to relax, unwind and enjoy our hospitality,” said Gavin Smith, managing director for Royal Caribbean International Australia and New Zealand.
Celebrity Cruises also announced that it intends to deploy Celebrity Millennium on a series of three-, four-, and five-night Pacific Coastal sailings from Los Angeles prior to the start of its 2020 Alaska season from Vancouver. The line will also be hosting a number of "Cruising for Heroes" sailings in March and April in support of California's firefighters, first responders, and veterans.
"The women and men of Celebrity were keen to have this opportunity to give back, even though this repositioning presented a challenging timeline," Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said. "We know the hard work and sacrifice of those who have been keeping Californians safe, and it feels good to be able to say 'thank you.'"
Full itinerary and charity details are expected to be announced next week. Bayley noted that Royal Caribbean also plans to send a ship to China to provide complimentary cruises for first responders there who have aided in the efforts to fight the outbreak of coronavirus.
Separately, Norwegian Cruise Line announced the redeployment of its newly-refurbished Norwegian Spirit, which will be homeported in Piraeus, Greece for the first time beginning in April 2020 following the cancellation of the ship's previously-scheduled Asia voyages due to coronavirus fears. The new itineraries go on sale on February 15, 2020.