Cruise schedules are created by cruise lines man months and often years in advance. However, that doesn’t mean every cruise ship sails to the intended ports 100% of the time.

Guests sailing onboard Regal Princess on the January 21, 2024, cruise out of Galveston, will be missing out on one port that most of them were looking forward to the most.

While unfortunate, cruise lines may alter itineraries for a variety of reasons, and one of them is port congestion. In other words, too many vessels are booked at a port on the same day.

Princess Cruises has made an alteration to a Regal Princess cruise sailing on January 21 out of Galveston, Texas. Instead of sailing to the tropical island paradise of Roatan, Honduras, guests will spend the day at Belize City, Belize instead. 

The change in itinerary was made by Princess Cruises in light of congestion in Roatan. The small island has a limited number of berths and can only accommodate three cruise ships at the same time.

With Carnival Celebration and its 6500 guests also in port on January 25, together with Norwegian Epic, and Viking Mars, the port has run out of berths and anchorage spots.

In a statement sent to guests booked onboard, Princess Cruises states the following: “Itinerary Change, please be advised that due to cruise ship congestion in Roatan, Honduras, Regal Princess will no longer call on Roatan on Thursday, Janary 25, 2024. Instead, we will now visit Belize City, Belize from 7:00AM to 5:00PM on the same day.”

Regal Princess Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Ruth Peterkin)

Sailing out of Galveston on January 21, Regal Princess will have two days at sea before arriving at Costa Maya, Mexico, on January 24. January 25 will now be spent at Belize City, where Regal Princess will be at anchorage and guests will need to tender into town. The cruise concludes with a visit to Cozumel and another day at sea. The ship is due back in Galveston on January 28.

While it is unfortunate for guests booked onboard Regal Princess that Roatan has been taken off the itinerary, there isn’t much that they can do. Cruise lines have always been fully in their rights to make changes to itineraries for a wide variety of reasons. 

This can include port congestion, as is the case with Regal Princess, but also adverse weather conditions, and even to make an itinerary more fuel effective, with different ports allowing for lower fuel consumption.

Regal Princess Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: picture.factory / Shutterstock)

However, the number of itinerary changes has been on the increase, especially during peak seasons such as between November and April, when the vast majority of cruise ships head to the Caribbean. 

The number of ports is limited, and smaller cruise ships will often be forced to either anchor outside, or need to make alternative plans to allow larger, and more profitable vessels to dock. 

For now, Regal Princess seems to have found a good alternative port for the January 25 call. The cruise ship is scheduled to call to Roatan a further eight times before she sets sail to Europe on April 5, 2024. Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Regal Princess will sail to Southampton for a summer season of cruises around the British Isles through October 6, 2024.

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