Four months after announcing a “blockbuster” season in Australia, Royal Caribbean has bowed to the inevitable and scratched its big ship sailings Down Under.

“We regret the disappointment this will bring to our loyal fans who have supported Royal Caribbean since we suspended cruise operations in March 2020,” said the line in a statement.

“We have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to prepare for this summer’s Brisbane cruise program, however sadly we will be unable to operate the program.”

The line had promised two of its newest Quantum vessels would sail in Brisbane and Sydney this season.

“Due to ongoing uncertainty around the opening of international borders, as well as updates to our global return to service and deployment, Royal Caribbean International has been reviewing our upcoming 2021/2022 summer program in Australia,” the line said.

“We have made the decision to cancel the following sailings:

  • Quantum of the Seas sailing from Brisbane from October 2021 to April 2022 inclusive
  • Ovation of the Seas sailing from Honolulu on 28 September 2021
  • Ovation of the Seas sailing from Sydney on 16 October 2021
  • Serenade of the Seas sailing from Honolulu on 7 October 2021

Guests have been told.

“We know many of our guests look forward to a return to cruising and we are sorry for the disappointment and inconvenience these cancellations may cause.

“We are continuing to assess the remainder of our 2021/2022 season and will announce further changes as soon as possible. Our focus remains on engaging with Federal and State governments to establish a framework and pathway forward for the resumption of cruising in Australia.”

The move follows the announcements of Princess and P&O last week to cancel sailings until December.

Royal’s Australian representatives had been battling to convince the Australian government to allow some cruising from local ports and states with vaccinated crews and state-based passenger manifests.

The line’s Sydney office is headed by Gavin Smith, who also chairs Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, the operators’ group leading talks with the government to try and find a “pathway forward”.

In the end, however, the continued failure of the federal government’s health representatives to work with the lines to create a formula for safe cruising meant Royal’s American headquarters was forced to move the mighty vessels to waters where they can start earning revenue to pay off the company’s massive debts.

Royal Caribbean International today announced the extension of the Singapore season for Quantum of the Seas through February 2022. This marks the third season extension for Quantum in Singapore, which first returned to cruising in December 2020. To date, on 60-plus ocean getaways, more than 82,000 guests have safely sailed with zero occurrences of COVID-19 on board.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to extend Quantum’s ultimate ocean getaway through early next year, providing Singapore residents with more time to relax and unwind. Despite the constantly evolving circumstances, Royal Caribbean remains consistent in delivering a wonderful holiday experience. We know that with her remarkable breadth of activities, delicious meals and unparalleled views, Quantum has many fans in Singapore, and there continues to be an overwhelming demand for sailings,” said Angie Stephen, managing director, Asia-Pacific, Royal Caribbean International.

The disappointment will be felt most in Queensland where Quantum of the Seas, one of the line’s newest, was to be based at the new Luggage point terminal.

The line promised a renewed focus on Queensland. P&O and Princess was also scheduled to sail from the state.

“Quantum Class ships are in a league of their own in Australian waters — and we have two sailing in the 2022/2023 season,” Mr Smith, VP and managing director, Royal Caribbean International, Australia and New Zealand said proudly earlier this year. “This calibre of ship isn’t seen elsewhere in this region, and their technological innovation and modern hardware open up a new audience to cruising.”

Meanwhile, our loss is Singapore’s gain. Quantum of the Seas has extended through February 2022. This marks the third season extension for Quantum in Singapore, which first returned to cruising in December 2020.

To date, on 60-plus ocean getaways, more than 82,000 guests have safely sailed with zero occurrences of COVID-19 on board.

And in Hong Kong, holidaymakers will soon be able to pack their bags and board Spectrum of the Seas  for  2-4-night Ocean Getaways starting Oct. 5, 2021.

“We are excited to get back to delivering memorable family vacations in Hong Kong,” said Bert Hernandez, president, Greater China, Royal Caribbean International.

“Our strong partnership and collaboration with local governments and key stakeholders around the globe have clearly allowed cruising to become one of the safest vacation options in the world. We look forward to welcoming back the region’s premier ship, Spectrum of the Seas, to Hong Kong.” 

Meanwhile, local trade publications reported Oceania had cancelled Regatta’s local season. She was to have visited Australia, Japan, Asia and New Zealand.  Cruises cancelled have departures from 02 Oct through until 18 Feb 2022.

The itineraries included a 35-day circumnavigation of Australia on 01 Dec calling at regional ports.