The largest cruise company in the world on Thursday, May 20, canceled the entire series of summer sailings from Bermuda that it announced nearly 2 months ago. The 7-night cruises to the Bahamas from Royal Naval Dockyard (King's Wharf cruise port) had to start on June 26.
RCI announced the new Bermuda cruises on March 23 as part of its strategy to get liners back in the water in North America by the summer months. At the time, the prospects for a summer restart of operations out of U.S. ports were unclear, because of regulatory issues, and cruises from Bermuda and other non-U.S. ports looked like an alternative. However, in recent weeks, cruise lines' executives have grown optimistic that cruising from U.S. ports could restart by July.
There are growing discussions between cruise companies and the USA's CDC agency (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about such a restart. The Centers has been blocking cruise ships that carry 250+ people from sailing in the USA waters since March 2020 due to worries about the potential spread of COVID. Now, as Coronavirus case counts in parts of North America come down and vaccination rates go up, the agency has shown willingness to reopen U.S. waters.
The canceled ex-Bermuda voyages would have been the line’s first cruises from Bermuda in its 52-year history. The cancellations come just days after RCI canceled similar “comeback sailings” that it intended to launch in the coming weeks from Haifa, Israel. Royal Caribbean also pushed back the start date for comeback sailings it had scheduled from China.
The changes mean that RCI has canceled / delayed voyages on 4 of the 8 ships that have been at the core of its comeback plans.
Around the same time that RCI announced the Bermuda-Bahamas schedule, it also launched new summer sailings to Mexico and the Bahamas with homeporting in Nassau - starting on June 12.