Guests booked on the June 14, 2024 sailing of Spectrum of the Seas have been notified this week that their cruise has become a chartered sailing, and therefore their voyage is now cancelled.

Several alternative options are offered, including a full refund, different sailings on the same ship, and different sailings on other Royal Caribbean ships so guests can still plan a getaway they will enjoy.

The June 14, 2024 sailing of Spectrum of the Seas has been cancelled for a charter sailing. The original 5-night cruise was to have departed from Shanghai, China and visited two ports of call in Japan – Yatsushiro/Kumamoto City and Nagasaki – before returning to Shanghai on June 19.

While the ship will still set sail on that itinerary, because it is now a chartered cruise, booked guests must now adjust their travel plans.

“Since the Spectrum of the Seas sailing on June 14, 2024 has been chartered, your booking will be affected,” the notification email read. “We are fully aware of the time and effort you have put into this travel plan, so we are grateful to you. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

No details about why the ship has been chartered or what group has booked the vessel have been announced. Charter sailings are often arranged by large groups such as music festivals, corporations, lifestyle companies, and other organizations, though the arrangements are usually made much further in advance than just three months.

Spectrum of the Seas Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Nate Hovee)

The 169,379-gross-ton, Quantum-Ultra-class Spectrum of the Seas is currently homeported from Singapore, but will be moving to Shanghai near the end of April 2024. In early December, the ship will move to homeport from Hong Kong through the holiday, before returning to Shanghai in mid-January. The ship can welcome 4,246 guests at double occupancy or up to 4,905 travelers when fully booked.

Booked guests can choose from three options as compensation for their now-cancelled cruise: alternative sailings aboard Spectrum of the Seas, choosing any other Royal Caribbean International cruise, or a full refund.

If travelers still want to sail aboard Spectrum of the Seas, they can choose from eight alternative departure dates: May 17, May 26, May 31, June 9, June 23, June 28, August 29, or September 22.

Each of these alternative sailings is still a 5-night cruise, but the ports of call vary. Depending on the sailing date, Spectrum of the Seas will be visiting the same ports as the original itinerary, or other destinations such as Hakata/Fukuoka or Kagoshima in Japan. Of special note is that the August 29 sailing will visit Busan, South Korea.

If guests reschedule on one of the alternate Spectrum of the Seas sailings, their cruise fare is protected, though they will be responsible for any increases in port taxes or other fees. If travelers have airfare booked, their airfare will be adjusted to the new sailing date and the lowest flight price – either the original booking or the new booking – will be honored.

Photo Credit: Vladimir Arndt / Shutterstock.com

In addition, passengers who rebook aboard these Spectrum of the Seas options will also receive $100-200 (USD) per stateroom of onboard credit, with an extra $50 per person for the third and fourth travelers in multiple-occupancy staterooms, if applicable.

Guests who choose not to rebook aboard the alternative dates can opt for any other Royal Caribbean International sailing, on any ship in the fleet, without any rebooking fees, though they will need to pay for any difference in cruise fare. If the new fare is cheaper, the overpayment will be refunded to the original form of payment.

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These travelers will also receive the same onboard credit offer of $100-200 per stateroom, depending on the type of stateroom booked.

Finally, if guests prefer to cancel their cruise vacation altogether, they may do so without any fee or penalty, and a full refund will be processed within 2-5 weeks back to the original form of payment. Refunds will be processed automatically unless passengers rebook their sailing before April 1, 2024.

While it is certainly disappointing for travelers to have their vacation suddenly cancelled due to a full ship charter, these incidents do happen occasionally, though typically with more advance notice.

In December 2023, for example, Royal Caribbean notified booked guests that their April 26, 2024 sailing aboard Allure of the Seas was cancelled due to a full ship charter. Also, in December 2023, Norwegian Cruise Line notified guests that the February 6, 2025 sailing for Norwegian Joy was also cancelled for a full ship charter.

Unfortunately, the shorter notice for Spectrum of the Seas‘ cancellation may leave some travelers scrambling to make alternative plans if they are unable to rebook their sailing and they may have to take the refunds instead.

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