Agents say they are ‘shocked’ and ‘disgusted’ at Royal Caribbean’s decision to close its kids club and family activities on an Anthem of the Seas half-term cruise from Southampton.
Royal Caribbean gave families booked on today’s departure just 48 hours’ notice that the clubs and the iFLY wouldn’t be available for the duration of the cruise.
Instead, it offered families $50 per child onboard credit or the option to cancel with a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC).
A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Travel Gossip that the closures were due to staff isolating following close contact with a positive COVID case. “We have therefore had to reduce the staffing for our Adventure Ocean program and as a result we will be unable to offer our children’s program for the current sailing. Additionally, the iFLY by Ripcord will be unavailable. We are truly sorry to our guests for this inconvenience,” they added.
However, agents said the last-minute notification didn’t give families enough time to rearrange their half-term holidays.
Parents who have since boarded Anthem are reportedly ‘in uproar’ over the closure of the kids club, according to agents who have joined the cruise with their own children. They say there a ‘lots of unhappy guests’ and that the atmosphere is ‘extremely hostile’.
In an email to guests, Royal Caribbean blamed the closure on its new ‘Healthy Sail’ protocols which meant it had to reduce the staffing of its Adventure Ocean programme.
It said: “We are truly sorry for this inconvenience and understand the impact this may have on your time with us.” The cruise line went on to offer $50 per child onboard credit or free cancellation.
One agent said that as a result of the kids’ club closures they were ‘struggling to find things to do’ onboad, especially as guests are reportedly limited to a maximum of 10 minutes each in the pool and the North Star observation pod is also closed.
Another agent who joined the cruise last week said: “Honestly it’s hard to find something for the kids to do. They are bored. I just want to get off now. It’s been a hard five days entertaining them. I want at a minimum my kids’ cruise fares refunded or given as FCC.”
However, another agent said their 13-year-old had been ‘very happy’ on the bumper cars.
There are unconfirmed reports that the reason for the closure of the kids club and iFLY was due to a child on an earlier cruise contracting COVID.