Empress of the Seas

(1:30 p.m. EST) -- In a surprise move, Royal Caribbean is redeploying several ships from itineraries that have long been announced and open for bookings. While a one- or two-ship swap is not unheard of, changing more than that is unusual. Though unconfirmed by the line, it appears from the changes that Royal Caribbean might have been offered more entries into Cuba and has had to move ships around in order to take advantage of the opportunity.

For some cruisers the redeployments simply results in being moved from one ship to another, but for other cruisers their cruises have been canceled; they can either rebook on another ship or get a full refund.

The changes are as follows:

  • Empress of the Seas will extend its Miami season rather than returning to Tampa in May 2018. Havana, Cuba, will be a stop on all Empress sailings starting March 26, 2018. Passengers on the previously scheduled Empress sailings will be moved to Majesty of the Seas, which is taking over those cruises. 
  • Majesty of the Seas will move from Port Canaveral to Tampa in May 2018 to take over the itineraries previously scheduled for Empress. Passengers already booked on Majesty sailings will be moved to Enchantment of the Seas, which is taking over those cruises. 
  • Enchantment of the Seas will no longer homeport in Galveston. Instead it will move to Port Canaveral beginning June 2018. Enchantment sailings between June 23, 2018, and March 13, 2019, as well as the April 19, 2019, sailing have been canceled as a result.
  • Vision of the Seas will stop sailing from New Orleans in March 2019, moving instead to Galveston for the winter season. Sailings previously scheduled on Vision between March 9, 2019, and April 13, 2019, have been canceled.

Passengers on canceled sailings can rebook on any another Royal Caribbean ship and sail date and receive an onboard credit ($100 per person for inside, ocean-view and balcony rooms, $200 for suites, plus an additional $50 for each additional passenger sharing the cabin) and be reimbursed for non-refundable airline charges with receipts (up to $200 for domestic flights and up to $300 for international). Alternatively, affected passengers can cancel their cruise without rebooking and get a full refund of the cruise, including any non-refundable deposit, plus a reimbursement of airline charges as indicated above.

Due to system maintenance caused by the redeployments, all bookings on these ships, including canceled cruises, will be unavailable to access until November 21, 2017.

--By Dori Saltzman, Senior Editor