Jan 8, 2022 - Economy & Business

Royal Caribbean cancels multiple voyages due to Omicron

he Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise ship is prepared for its next voyage as it is docked on December 24, 2021, in Bayonne, New Jersey.

The Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise ship docked on Dec. 24 in New Jersey. Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Royal Caribbean International on Friday canceled trips on four ships due to spiking rates of COVID-19, the company said in a statement.

Why it matters: The cancellations are the latest blow to the cruise industry as it responds to a surge of cases driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Driving the news: "As a result of the ongoing COVID-related circumstances around the world, and in abundance of caution, Royal Caribbean International is pausing operations" on multiple ships, the company said.

  • Those ships include Vision of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas. Symphony of the Seas is anticipated to return on Jan. 29, the earliest of all of the ships.
  • The cruise line has called for cancellations despite vaccination and testing requirements for guests and crews. Guests booked on the canceled sailings will receive compensation options, including a full refund.
  • "We regret having to cancel our guests' long-awaited vacations and appreciate their loyalty and understanding," the company said. "Our top priority is always the well-being of our guests, our crew and the communities we visit."

The big picture: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that passengers should "avoid cruise ships, regardless of vaccination status," and raised its travel health notice to the highest level.

  • This week, more than 3,000 passengers and crew members quarantined on Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas in Hong Kong following a COVID scare on board.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line also announced this week the cancellation of trips on eight ships due to "ongoing travel restrictions," per CNN.

Go deeper: Omicron brings calls to pause cruise ships again

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Royal Caribbean.

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