TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A major cruise line is putting a pause on sailings for several cruise ships that depart from Florida ports due to a rise in COVID-19 infections.
Royal Caribbean announced Friday it is “pausing operations” on four cruise ships that sail out of Florida – including one that sails out of Tampa. According to the cruise line’s website, the four ships are the Vision of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.
Serenade of the Seas offers cruises out of Tampa and Vancouver. Royal Caribbean confirmed to 8 On Your Side the pause in operations impacts Tampa sailings from Jan. 8 through March 5.
Cruises on the Jewel of the Seas, which sails out of Miami and Port Canaveral, are paused from Jan. 9 through Feb. 12 with an anticipated return on Feb. 20. Symphony of the Seas departs from Miami and has paused sailings from Jan. 8 through Jan. 22 with an expected Jan. 29 return, according to Royal Caribbean.
The company also postponed Vision of the Seas’ return to cruising. The ship, which leaves from Fort Lauderdale, won’t return until at leach March 7.
“We regret having to cancel our guests’ long-awaited vacations and appreciate their loyalty and understanding,” the company said in a statement. “Our top priority is always the well-being of our guests, our crew and the communities we visit. Despite stringent health and safety measures, including vaccination and testing requirements for guests and crew, and extensive contingency planning, we have had to move forward with this decision.”
Guests who booked travel aboard the canceled sailings are said to receive assistance and compensation options, including a full refund.
“Our teams will continue to consider every option and resource to keep cruising safe and enjoyable as the world and the cruise industry continue to adapt,” the company added.