Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests booked on the next sailing of Radiance of the Seas to let them know that the status of their upcoming cruise has not yet been determined, but they will receive an update by May 2, the day before embarkation. This may be frustrating to some passengers who might only learn about their cruise after their travel plans are already underway.

Many cruise travelers prefer to arrive at an embarkation port a day or two in ahead of setting sail, in case of flight delays or other travel difficulties. Some travelers also prefer to enjoy time in homeport cities before boarding their cruise ship.

Not knowing whether or not the cruise will move forward can cause heightened anxiety and frustration before the vacation begins, but Royal Caribbean is doing its best to keep everyone updated.

“Repairs are still underway, and our teams are working diligently to address this issue. We want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to resolve it as quickly as we can,” the email notification read. “While we continue to make progress, we understand the importance of keeping you informed and will provide you with another update by May 2nd.”

The repairs are due to a technical issue that developed with the ship’s propulsion system during its April 22 cruise, a 4-night sailing repositioning from Los Angeles to Vancouver. Because the ship was unable to maintain top speeds, both ports of call – Astoria and Victoria – were cancelled in order to bring the ship to Vancouver and allow extra time for repairs.

Radiance of the Seas at the Vancouver Cruise Terminal (Photo Credit: Ric Jacyno / Shutterstock)

Unfortunately, the repairs were not able to be completed as quickly as hoped. While guests embarked the ship on Friday, April 26 as planned for Radiance of the Seas‘ first Alaska sailing of 2024, they were informed that their departure would be delayed until Sunday, April 28.

Then, just a day after embarkation and while the ship was still in Vancouver, guests were alerted that repairs would take longer than anticipated and the April 26 (delayed until April 28) cruise had to be cancelled instead.

Now, it is not known whether the May 3 cruise – a 7-night northbound, one-way sailing from Vancouver to Seward, Alaska – will move forward. It is possible that if additional repair time is necessary, the sailing could be shortened and some ports of call dropped to allow the ship to move the 1,500 miles between Vancouver and Seward more quickly.

As scheduled, the cruise is expected to visit Juneau, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, and Skagway, as well as have a day of scenic cruising near Hubbard Glacier.

The next cruise is scheduled to depart Seward on May 10, heading southbound back to Vancouver. If repairs cannot be completed in time for Radiance of the Seas to reach Seward for embarkation, it is possible that cruise may be impacted as well either with a delay or a cancellation. At this time, there is no official confirmation of any changes to the May 10 cruise departure.

Both the propulsion issue as well as the last-minute cruise cancellations for Radiance of the Seas are eerily similar to problems the ship developed in August 2023.

At that time, nearly the same series of events unfolded – ports were cancelled on the sailing when the propulsion issues developed, and the next sailing was cancelled just hours before departure.

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: VIDEOVISTAVIEW / Shutterstock)

After that, a second full cruise also needed to be cancelled as repairs were completed. At that time, guests were notified three days before departure that their sailing could not take place.

The similarity between the repairs in September 2023 and those the ship is undergoing now have guests concerned that the technical issue was not fully addressed during the first repairs. Because the exact nature of the problem has not been disclosed, however, there is no way to know if both incidents are related, or just strangely similar.

This is not the first time the same cruise ship has experienced two very similar incidents.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom, for example, had a fire that damaged her funnel in May 2022, and the sailed with a modified straight funnel for months until a new funnel was installed during dry dock in October 2023. Then, in March 2024, a possible lightning strike started another fire in the funnel, causing it to be removed for a straight funnel once more.

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