I’m not sure, until last year, whether I had heard of the word Staycation. Is Staycation even a real word? Apparently, it is, and the travel industry didn’t just make it up during these prohibitive times. It even has a Wikipedia Page going back to 2005! However, it has undoubtedly become a more commonly used phrase in the United Kingdom during the last year. The battered and bruised cruise industry has jumped on the Staycation concept for summer 2021 in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, there is a problem, UK 2021 Staycation Cruises are overbooked.
From 19 May 2021, cruises were permitted in the United Kingdom once more. The cruise industry jumped at the opportunity to plan new adventures, and the majority of the major cruise lines were soon advertising cruises departing from the United Kingdom. However, they could only be domestic cruises, carry residents from the UK and the Common Travel Area (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, and Ireland), and are restricted to UK ports. In addition, cruises would be capped at 1,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is lower.
In the United Kingdom Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, the restrictions on capacity were due to be removed on 21st June. However, the actual guidance was reasonably clear, and the plan was that the easing of restrictions would be no earlier than the 21st of June. Either the major cruise lines were unable to read the document accurately or hadn’t realized that the future actions of the UK Government were less predictable than the winner of the Grand National. The result was many of the cruise lines had massively overbooked for their upcoming vacations.
This week we received the following email off Royal Caribbean:
The offer is relatively generous, eight nights for the price of five. Also, there was an option to cancel your cruise with no penalty. We are hoping to continue with our current sailings, and enough guests take up the opportunity. My feeling is our cruise wasn’t massively overbooked. However, there are differing reports from other cruise lines, including information that one cruise line had booked over 4000 passengers for one sailing. Also, there are rumors that some cruise lines will be canceling reservations with no form of compensation. After 12 months of no sailing, the cruise industry would be wise to avoid this bad publicity.
Royal Caribbean will not cancel our reservation with a bit of luck, and soon we will be sailing on the Anthem of the Seas. With a capacity of just 1000 guests(regular maximum capacity 4905), it will be an interesting experience.