Royal Caribbean halts new bookings for cruises departing through early January
Royal Caribbean International has stopped bookings temporarily for cruises through early January due to capacity limits being met.
"Sailings departing through early January 2022 are no longer open to new reservations because they’ve met the limited capacity we’ve set," Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support and service at Royal Caribbean International.
This comes on the heels of COVID-19 clusters emerging on Royal Caribbean ships.
Odyssey of the Seas was sailing in the Caribbean with 55 cases as of Thursday. And Symphony of the Seas disembarked Saturday with 48 people who tested positive. Passengers told USA TODAY that the ship's crew and medical staff seemed "overwhelmed," an assertion Royal Caribbean denies.
Passengers on Symphony of the Seas indicated the staff was overwhelmed by the COVID-19 situation onboard, an assertion the cruise line has denied.
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The sailings have been removed from Royal Caribbean's website, as the cruise line has done with other cruises earlier in the year, the cruise line said.
The limiting of capacity is part of "robust, multilayered protocols" that the line has in place including vaccination requirements, mask-wearing and testing.
Royal Caribbean also told passengers in a note Friday that it would tighten mask restrictions through Jan. 5.
"With the recent uptick of COVID-19 in the world and added omicron variant concerns, we feel it prudent to temporarily tighten our onboard health protocols to require masks indoors at all times unless actively eating or drinking," Freed said. "This new update also applies to vaccinated areas and venues."
The cruise line asked that passengers understand that health and safety come first.