Royal Caribbean cruise ship hijacks and cancels port call

Guests onboard Royal Caribbean International sailor of the seas will not be visiting the cruise line’s private resort destination in Labadee, Haiti, as originally planned, due to an onboard medical emergency that required the ship to make a major diversion of course. Instead, the ship will enjoy two days on a different popular private island, Perfect day at CocoCay.

Mariner of the Seas Changes

sailor of the seas diverted from its planned route in response to a medical emergency on board Monday evening, in order to meet with the Coast Guard and transfer the person concerned off the cruise ship. This hijacking occurred while the ship was en route from its home port of Port Canaveral to Labadee, Haiti.

The Voyager-class ship left Port Canaveral on Monday August 29, 2022 and Tuesday was expected to be a quiet day at sea before arriving in Labadee on Wednesday.

The medical emergency occurred on Monday evening. To protect the person’s privacy, neither the nature of the emergency nor whether the person is a passenger or a crew member has been disclosed.

Photo credit: Melissa Mayntz

The ship adjusted course south to bring the affected person closer to Port Everglades, where they were transferred to a Coast Guard vessel around 5:30 a.m. to be transported to appropriate medical facilities.

Although rare, medical emergencies do occur on cruise ships. Each ship is equipped with a well-stocked medical center to deal with most minor issues, including illnesses and injuries. However, if a medical emergency exceeds the scope of care that can be provided on board, the cruise ship will divert to bring the affected person to treatment ashore.

After the diversion, sailor of the seas turned north towards its original course, but the diversion was too long to guarantee a proper arrival at Labadee on Wednesday as planned. Instead, the ship slowed down and delayed dramatic changes until the new route was decided.

Labadee cancelled, CocoCay twice

At 9:30 a.m. Monday morning, the route change was confirmed and the ship’s captain announced that sailor of the seas would no longer call on Labadee. Instead, the ship will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay twice, on Wednesday August 31 and again on Friday September 2.

Also read: Labadee, Haiti – What you need to know

The stopover on September 2 was part of the ship’s original itinerary, as was the day at sea on Thursday, September 1.

Both destinations are owned and operated by Royal Caribbean, offering a variety of shore-based activities, beach relaxation and local flair. Labadee, however, is 550 miles (478 nautical miles) southeast of CocoCay, a much greater distance to travel and requiring more time to reach.

Royal Caribbean ship in Labadee Haiti
Photo credit: NAN728 /

While some onboard guests may be bummed about missing out on Labadee, a second day at CocoCay also opens up new opportunities to book shore tours or experiences that may have sold out for a single day tour.

Normally only one ship is scheduled to visit Cococay on any given day, ensuring a more exclusive, private and uncrowded experience.

Due to this last minute change, however, sailor of the seas can share the island with Oasis of the seas Wednesday. The destination is large, however, with plenty of space for passengers on both ships to enjoy the tour.

It is also possible that Oasis of the seas‘ the itinerary can be modified, to shift his visit to Cococay to another day. The ship is currently sailing on a 7-night round trip itinerary from New York, with stops in Port Canaveral (Orlando), Cococay and Nassau. No such route changes have been announced at this time.

sailor of the seas can accommodate up to 3,344 guests in double occupancy and up to 4,000 guests when fully booked, while Oasis of the seas is a larger vessel that can accommodate up to 5,606 passengers in double occupancy and up to 6,699 guests when fully booked.

Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas cruise ship