Guests aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas are getting a very different sailing than originally planned, thanks to post-tropical cyclone Idalia, which continues to impact Bermuda. Because of the effect of the storm, Liberty of the Seas will be sailing to Canada rather than Bermuda.
Liberty of the Seas set sail from Cape Liberty, New Jersey on Saturday, September 2, 2023, not for Bermuda as planned, but instead for a northeast and Canada sailing. Royal Caribbean International reached out to guests to notify them of the last-minute change.
“Our September 2, 2023 Liberty of the Seas sailing will depart on Saturday as planned,” the notice on Royal Caribbean’s website read. “However, to provide you with a safe and comfortable journey, we’ve had to update our itinerary and will now be sailing to Portland and Halifax instead.”
The ship was originally scheduled to enjoy a 5-night sailing with an overnight call in Bermuda. Instead, while the length of the sailing will not change, Liberty of the Seas will now visit Portland, Maine and Halifax, Nova Scotia, before returning to New Jersey on Thursday, September 7.
Guest are advised that some nationalities require a visa to visit Canada, and because of the last-minute change, not all travelers may be able to join the cruise. While US citizens do not require a visa, guests from nearly 150 countries are required to have that paperwork.
Royal Caribbean International is offering compensation to all guests because “we know this isn’t the cruise you were planning to take.”
All pre-paid cruise line shore tours for Bermuda are being refunded as onboard credit, and guests are also receive $100 (USD) per person of onboard credit as a “goodwill gesture.” Any unused credits at the end of the cruise will be refunded back to guests.
Travelers who cannot sail with the ship due to travel requirements or who simply wish to cancel because of the dramatic change in itinerary may do so for a full refund, including any non-refundable deposits.
If guests booked the cruise with a future cruise credit (FCC), new funds paid above that credit amount will be refunded, while the FCC will be reinstated.
Liberty of the Seas is a 155,900-gross ton, Freedom class vessel. She can welcome 3,798 guests aboard at double occupancy, or as many as 4,960 travelers when fully booked.
While the new cruise will offer guests the opportunity to enjoy the amazing scenery and unique history of the northeastern US and Nova Scotia, the destinations are dramatically different from one another.
For example, the average temperature in Bermuda in early September is 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), whereas in Portland, Maine, the temperature average is just 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celsius).
Furthermore, top attractions in Bermuda include snorkeling, pink sand beaches, and European colonial cultures. In Maine and Nova Scotia, guests will find stunning national parks, maritime history, and lighthouses to explore.
While both destinations are amazing to visit, guests who purposefully booked a sailing to Bermuda for the tropical ambience will be disappointed to find themselves in much cooler and very different ports of call, and may wish to cancel instead.
Formerly a hurricane while it was in the Gulf of Mexico and crossed over Florida and the southeast, Idalia is now a post-tropical cyclone centered 120 miles (193 kilometers) east of Bermuda. The storm’s rain bands and wind field continue to impact the tropical island.
Interestingly, the storm is moving east-northeast at 7 miles per hour (11 kilometers per hour), and is forecast to make a slight turn back to the west in the coming days, which may create a storm impact on Nova Scotia near the end of the week.
Liberty of the Seas is now scheduled to visit Halifax, Nova Scotia on Tuesday, well before the storm may impact the destination.
Idalia has been causing disruptions to cruises for the past week, starting with Disney Fantasy changing to an Eastern Caribbean itinerary rather than a Western Caribbean cruise on August 26, when the storm was only just forming off the eastern Yucatan Peninsula.
Three Florida homeports closed as Hurricane Idalia approached the Sunshine State, and multiple cruises implemented different changes to stay away from the storm’s track and greatest impact.
Even after the storm passed, Port Tampa Bay remained closed for longer than expected, delaying two cruise ships and forcing shortened sailings for their next cruises.
Now, even though Idalia has weakened below the threshold of a hurricane, the maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (97 kph) can still cause tumultuous ocean conditions, and cruise lines continue to monitor the storm and ensure the safety of all ships, guests, and crew members.
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