Alongside word that Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain is optimistic that CDC permission to resume sailing in U.S. waters is “coming shortly,” as reported in Cruise Industry News, comes news that Royal Caribbean International is walking back plans to homeport offshore in the Caribbean to kickstart cruising this summer.
Sailings from Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard were schedule to commences as soon as 28JUN on 7-night itineraries that would include a visit to the cruise line’s private island beach resort Perfect Day at CocoCay (pictured).
In a statement Friday, the cruise line said, “the likelihood of cruises setting sail from the U.S. this summer is greater each day, and with that, U.S. travelers are increasingly showing a preference for more direct access to ports of departure. Regrettably, the decision has been made to cancel Vision of the Seas’ summer season from Bermuda.
“While we are no longer homeporting from Bermuda, we still look forward to visiting the beautiful island nation with several ships across the Royal Caribbean fleet as we have for many years.”
The statement makes clear that it has been harder for cruise lines like Royal Caribbean to fill their mega-ships without a large drive-market pool of travellers.
Offshore cruising was an ‘any port in a storm’ solution to not cruising this summer at all. Royal would be unlikely to give it up if it had been able to sell all of its sailings or if it wasn’t all but certain that it could soon meet the CDC’s conditions to resume sailing from U.S. homeports at much greater volume than a Bermuda homeport season.
Cruise travel observers may soon see other – especially the mega-ship – cruise lines follow suit and reverting to drive-market homeports where the pool of cruise guests is much larger and the logistics already established, with American workers whose current lack of employment is part of what’s putting the pressure on the CDC to ‘play ball’ with the cruise industry.
It’s not certain whether smaller, luxury lines would do the same, as their clientele are generally more air-mobile, and happy to travel to more remote and exclusive ports of embarkation as part of their cruise vacation.