The ongoing tensions in the Red Sea region have continued to impact cruises, and Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests booked aboard Anthem of the Seas for fall sailings to let them know that one voyage is now cancelled and another shortened to accommodate the ship’s repositioning needs as she leaves Europe for a season in Asia.

Guests booked on the October 14, 2024 departure of Anthem of the Seas have been informed that their cruise must be cancelled. While this does provide guests with six months’ notice of the change, the news will undoubtedly be disappointing to many travelers.

“We have all been closely monitoring the unrest in the Red Sea and were hopeful everything would settle down,” the email notification explained. “Unfortunately, due to security risks and with the safety of our guests and crew top of mind, we’ve made the difficult decision that Anthem of the Seas will instead have to transit around the southern tip of Africa.”

The original itinerary had the ship sailing from Southampton to Rome (Civitavecchia), and guests might question why this leg of the voyage must be cancelled as it does not come close to the Red Sea. In fact, Civitavecchia is approximately 1,400 miles from the Suez Canal and the start of the Red Sea.

If this voyage were to move forward, however, Anthem of the Seas would need to backtrack significantly to transit around Africa – at least 1,500 miles. This would be a massive investment of time and fuel in order to move the vessel.

Photo Credit: LD Media UK / Shutterstock

Instead, by cancelling the voyage altogether, Anthem of the Seas can move directly from Southampton down the western coast of Africa, ultimately a more fuel efficient and faster way to move the ship from Southampton to Dubai.

Read Also: The Impact of Red Sea Tensions on Cruising

Undoubtedly, the ship’s October 23 departure – from Civitavecchia to Dubai, through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea – is likewise cancelled, and impacted guests will be contacted with details and options as necessary.

At this time, there are no alternate Africa-oriented sailings planned for Anthem of the Seas. Instead, it is most likely that the ship will sail from Southampton to Dubai (or Singapore, if the cruise line opts to also cancel the Dubai-to-Singapore sailing on November 7) without passengers aboard.

Given the tremendous increase in distance, Anthem of the Seas will need to sail at top speed to make her schedule and have as little impact as possible on future itineraries.

Photo Credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

For comparison, the original combined routes from Southampton to Dubai total roughly 7,900 miles when moving through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. From Southampton to Dubai via the coast of western Africa and around the tip of South Africa, however, is roughly 12,800 miles – approximately 62% longer.

This means there would be little or no time for possible port visits en route. Instead, the ship will move with all possible speed in order to reach Dubai (or the next planned embarkation port) on time to preserve future itineraries.

To facilitate the repositioning and ensure Anthem of the Seas has enough time to traverse the route, guests on the previous cruise have also been informed that their sailing is now shortened.

The October 2, 2024 departure was originally planned as a 12-night “Discover the Canaries” cruise but has now been shortened to an 8-night sailing. While the ship will still be returning to Southampton, this will give the vessel four extra days to make up the extra distance as she moves around Africa.

Anthem of the Seas Open Deck (Photo Credit: Go My Media / Shutterstock)

Guests on that now-shortened sailing are being contacted with their options, including an offer of onboard credit for the inconvenience and the choice to move to alternative sailings if preferred.

Guests booked on upcoming sailings of Anthem of the Seas may be rightfully concerned whether or not their future cruise could also be shortened, cancelled, or rerouted, but such additional changes – while certainly possible – are unlikely.

Changing these three voyages – October 2, October 14, and October 23 – will then see the ship positioned in Dubai, ready for her sailing to Singapore. At the moment, the November 7 departure from Dubai to Singapore, remains on sale and available for booking.

The 168,666-gross-ton, Quantum-class Anthem of the Seas will remain homeported from Singapore through mid-April 2025, offering a range of Vietnam, Thailand, and Southeast Asia itineraries. In spring 2025, the ship will be moving to Seattle to offer Alaska cruises for summer 2025, and her future deployments beyond that date have not yet been determined.

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