Cruise

Royal Caribbean extends cruise suspension, announces US$40m funding pool for agents

Royal Caribbean Group has expanded its suspension of cruising on certain trips, with some unable to return to sailing until May.

The group has been busy building strong health and safety procedures for its ships alongside the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government authorities around the world.

Celebrity Cruises sailings through 30 April, including the 1 May transatlantic cruise on Celebrity Apex, have been suspended, along with the cruise line’s Europe and transatlantic cruises on Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Constellation in May through October 2021.

Royal Caribbean International sailings have been suspended through 30 April, including Spectrum of the Seas from 16 February through 28 February. However, the cruise line’s sailing suspension excludes Quantum of the Seas.

Silversea Cruises sailings have been suspended through 1 April, and Azamara sailings have been suspended through 30 April.

After an unprecedented nine months without sailing, the group has announced plans to launch a US$40 million pool of funds to help qualifying travel agents rebuild their businesses.

‘Pay it Forward’ is the second phase of Royal Caribbean’s RCL CARES program, and is designed to support agents as they bounce back from a challenging 2o2o.

Agents can apply for three-year, interest-free loans of up to US$250,000 to keep their businesses focused on a return to growth at a time when the pandemic shows increasing prospects for coming under control.

“We know our travel advisor friends are suffering, too, and we will get through this tough period together, just as we always have,” said Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

“Our travel partners have stood strong beside us for more than 50 years, and we are determined to be there for them now. We’re going to get to the other side of this challenging time together.”

The company said details about the application process for the program would be shared directly with travel advisors in January.

In other Royal Caribbean news, the group has appointed Amy McPherson to its board of directors.

McPherson spent more than 30 years in leadership roles at Marriott International, including 10 years of service as the company’s president and managing director for Europe, until her retirement in 2019.


Featured image source: iStock/jimfeng

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