Royal Caribbean Cancels Cruise Ship Arrivals in San Juan

Nov 26, 2019

Several News Outlets in Puerto Rico report of numerous cancelations of cruise ship arrivals in San Juan scheduled for the season 2020 and 2021. According to El Nuevo Dia the Director of the Authority for Public-Private Partnership (AAPP) Fermin Fontanez, confirmed this morning that Royal Caribbean has canceled as many as 90 cruise ship stops in the port of San Juan. With these cancelations, the tourist industry will lose 360,000 guests and an impact of about $ 44 million to the economy of Puerto Rico.

"Unfortunately on Friday cancellation of dozens of visits and departures of cruise ships from Puerto Rico has been confirmed, affecting thousands of direct and indirect jobs throughout the island," said the spokesman of the Popular Democratic Party in the Tourism Commission of the House of Representatives, Ángel Matos García,

In addition to the canceled transit cruise ships, around 30 base departures (home porting) are being canceled report local medias, which decreases the options for Puerto Rican families who are employed in this sector and affect the profitability of accommodations before and after the tourists traveling to the country by cruise ship. One of the ships affected by this decision is the Freedom of the Seas, which is so very popular on the island,

Other cruise ships that announced cancellation to the island are the Allure of the Seas and Symphony or the Seas, with a capacity of over 6,000 passengers.

Authorities say that major cruise lines such as Carnival have not announced any cancelations yet,  but if they follow this steps the effect of cancellations can reach 500,000 passengers and the damages to the economy can exceed $ 100 million.

According to Matos García the cancelations comes as a result of the public-private alliance (PPP), which the Puerto Rico government insisted on, to privatize the operations on the docks of San Juan and Ponce, knowing the opposition of the cruise industry.

The Governor of Puerto Rico, Wanda Vázquez, said on Tuesday she was “surprised” after information about the “mass cancellation” of cruise ship arrivals to San Juan.

The news was released yesterday, however, local media stress that this action is no surprise, since in a recent meeting of the sector held in San Juan the heads of Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line have met with the Governor about their concerns of privatization of San Juan docks. The Cruise Companies also offered the Government financial support to renew the docks if necessary, in exchange for preferential use on the days they dock, while when they are not in port they could be used by other vessels.

Update: According to the popular Royal Caribbean Blog, The cruise line issued a statement to travel agents that reads:

“The rumors regarding cancellations of sailings departing between April 2020 – March 2021 from San Juan are incorrect. We have not cancelled any of our ships visiting or homeporting in San Juan.”

However, Royal Caribbean also added that even they didn’t announced full deployments for the season 2021-2022 yet, they expect fewer calls from San Juan.