Royal Caribbean is pushing back the debut of its Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship until April 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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"In the wake of COVID-19, our initial global suspension and its subsequent extensions, we understand the uneasiness all of this has caused both for you as a travel advisor and, of course, your clients whose vacations have been regrettably disrupted," the company said in a blog post. "The health crisis has unfortunately also impacted shipyard operations, as well as our supply chain."
According to the cruise line, all Odyssey of the Seas sailings between Nov. 5, 2020, and April 17, 2021, have been canceled.
"We are saddened to share this news," the company added. "There's nothing we wanted more than to launch this revolutionary ship this fall--but trust us when we say that Odyssey will be well worth the wait!"
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Royal Caribbean is offering multiple compensation options for affected customers, including its Lift & Shift program, through July 17, where customers can move their existing reservation to next year with the same itinerary, sailing length, stateroom category and four-week window of the original cruise date.
Customers will also be given the option to switch to another seven-night Caribbean sailing that departs within one week before or after their original sail date.
The original cruise fare will either be price protected at the original rate or reduced to the current rate of the new reservation, excluding taxes, fees, gratuities and other noncruise fare items. Those who paid in full will receive a refund within 45 days of the price change for any difference in pricing and Royal Caribbean will waive any nonrefundable deposit change fees.
Holiday sailings are excluded for customers not previously booked during the timeframe.
Eligible customers can also opt for a 125 percent Future Cruise Credit redeemable through Dec. 31, 2021, for Odyssey sailings through April 2022. The credit will be sent via email by Aug. 7, 2020.
Those who prefer a cash refund can request one by Dec. 31, 2020, and will receive the refund within 45 to 60 days from the cancellation date.
In addition, interested guests can convert their pre-cruise purchases into an onboard credit through July 17, including shore excursions, specialty dining, beverage package and other add-ons. The credit will be valued at 125 percent of the original amount paid.
Odyssey of the Seas was originally scheduled to debut in November 2020 but instead will debut in Europe next summer with sailings scheduled from Rome. The ship, which has a passenger capacity of 4,200, will debut in the United States in November 2021 when Caribbean cruises will sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
When the Odyssey finally sets sail, it will no longer feature a trapeze school as part of its SeaPlex indoor activity venue, and guests using the ship's Sky Pad virtual trampoline will now be required to be at least 7 years old to jump and 13 years old to jump with a virtual reality headset.
The Odyssey of the Seas was already expected to be delayed due to a fire that broke out on one of its ships at a construction site in Germany over the weekend.
Royal Caribbean has currently all cruise operations in the United States through Sept. 15, 2020.