Royal Caribbean cancels Independence's 2020 UK season

Independence of the Seas instead will sail from Florida's Port Everglades Independence of the Seas instead will sail from Florida's Port Everglades PHOTO: SBW-Photo for Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International had planned its largest UK season in 2020, with Anthem of the Seas and Independence of the Seas sailing from Southampton. No more.

Demand for CocoCay

Instead, the cruise line is keeping Independence stateside next summer, to operate from Port Everglades.

Royal Caribbean cited 'strong booking interest' in Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Brexit uncertainty

There was no mention of any impact on demand from Brexit, however during Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s first quarter earnings call on May 1, CFO Jason Liberty stated: 'We believe uncertainty around Brexit has softened demand from the UK.'

During the same call, management said yields for cruises that include Perfect Day at CocoCay pre-booked experiences were up double-digits versus the same sailings a year ago.

Passengers will get a full refund and a future cruise credit for use on alternative sailings.

In 2020, Independence had been scheduled for seven- to 14-night cruises to the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and North Africa, Scandinavia/Russia and Italian Mediterranean, including new destinations Agadir, Morocco, and Ponta Delgada in Portugal's Azores archipelago. A first for a Freedom-class ship was to have been the 14-night Baltic itinerary with an overnight in Copenhagen and two nights in St. Petersburg.

Independence — the first ship to be undergo a 'Royal Amplified' refurbishment, just prior to the start of its 2018 UK season — is operating from Southampton this summer along with the Voyager-class Explorer of the Seas.

Anthem of the Seas

Longtime New York area (Cape Liberty) resident Anthem of the Seas will return to the UK in 2020, for the first time in five years. Anthem is set to visit the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Canary Islands, on eight- to 14-night itineraries.

Posted 13 May 2019

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review