The launch of the world’s most technologically advanced ship was embroiled in a row today after 4,500 passengers who had waited to be among the first on board were told their cruise had been axed.
The extension of Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas season in Australia was blamed for the cancellation of the repositioning cruise from Sydney to Singapore.
The news was officially broken today in a letter from the line to passengers – and immediately, Social Media carried a stream of angry posts.
The repositioning cruise from Sydney to Singapore was to have left on January 23, 2017.
A statement announcing the Australian extension until February 20th – which gives Australians four more cruises aboard the brand new megaliner – was published today. The cancellation was given just one line at the end of the statement.
The story surfaced on Cruise Passenger’s Facebook page and many passengers have since taken to social media to express their outrage.
Passengers are complaining that they still have not been contacted by Royal Caribbean and only found out after travel sites broke the news of the Ovation’s season extension.
“OVATION OF SEAS Cruise CANCELLED to Singapore – thanks for nothing Royal Caribbean haven’t even told us yet – heard from a friend we booked travel agent, Royal Caribbean reply they will tell us in a few days whether we get a REFUND or CREDIT – NOT HAPPY RC. Waiting for MANAGER to call me back,” passenger Sue Druery wrote.
Ms Druery said when she contacted the line about the situation, Royal Caribbean staff could not tell her anything.
“I was so looking forward to it – I can’t believe that I only heard it on the grape vine and when I rang Royal Caribbean, they didn’t even know – they can’t tell us anything what a joke. It’s such an expensive cruise and I can’t believe how badly this has been handled. People would have booked flights and accommodation as it was a Sydney to Singapore cruise,” Ms Druery wrote.
Suzie Woods, who contacted her travel agent said, “My travel agent is waiting to hear & will let me know. She had no idea until I told her after seeing these posts!”
Ms Woods said she would also have to cancel her cruise as Australian schools resume at the end of January.
Donna Arthur wrote, ““My booked accommodation did not require prepayment, but I am out $1000 on non refundable airfares.”
Royal Caribbean said, “Guests who are booked on the 23 January 2017 repositioning cruise from Sydney to Singapore will be contacted directly and offered first choice of sailings to rebook, including the revised repositioning itinerary scheduled for four weeks later.”
Guests received a letter from the line which said, “This unfortunately does mean that there will be changes to the 23rd January 2017 repositioning cruise from Sydney to Singapore that you currently have reserved. Whilst we can confirm the new departure date for this repositioning cruise will be 20th February 2017, we are currently in the final stages of confirming the new itinerary and therefore we are not yet ready to make any changes to your existing booking.
We would however, like to assure you that you will have the first opportunity to move to the new repositioning cruise – or an alternate cruise of your choice. Rest assured the new and amended voyage itineraries will not be made available for general sale until you have been accommodated.
We thank you for your patience whilst we finalise the details for the extended season and we will be in contact very soon to confirm the options available to you including the revised repositioning itinerary. We understand you will want to start making changes to your air and accommodation however we recommend no changes are made until we confirm the itineraries and are in contact with you to finalise your options.”