(11:30 a.m. BST) -- Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, which was due to start sailing from the UK this month, could still sail a partial season, according to the cruise line.
Speaking exclusively to Cruise Critic, Ben Bouldin, Royal's VP EMEA, revealed that past the line’s cancelled sailings (to June 11), the ship is “really well booked”.
It is five years since Anthem last sailed out of the UK, and the Quantum Class ship was due to replace Independence of the Seas for this year.
In a wide-ranging interview, Bouldin said: “Anthem is really well booked for 2020 and beyond the sailings we’ve cancelled [till June 11] she still is, so it’s not like anybody’s been dropping out, so we’d love to give those guests the chance to sail from Southampton this year.
“If you’re asking me if I’d personally like to see Anthem sail this summer then I’d love her to and I’m always looking to see if there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“I do still believe there will be demand for her and I believe that demand is very strong. So don’t rule it out, but it’s very difficult to say at the moment.”
He added: “But we do have the challenge of the timing. The longer this [pandemic] rumbles on the less of the summer season exists. Certainly from Royal’s perspective, Europe is not a big winter destination for us, so that only heightens my appetite to do something late summer, but we’ll see, we’ll see how it plays out.”
Bouldin also spoke about Allure of the Seas, which was due to be refurbished in Cadiz, but due to shipyard closures is still unable to enter dry dock.
“We’re just waiting to see if we can get her into Cadiz into the shipyard. We were meant to be doing our event post the drydock and amplification programme on May 10, so clearly, we’re a long way short from where we want to be, just by nature of the fact the shipyard’s closed,” he said.
The ship was due to be completely refitted, in line with Oasis of the Seas, that received a number of new features including new drinking venues, the Ultimate Abyss dry slide, an escape room and an overhauled kids’ club. It is not clear yet when the ship will be refurbished.
Bouldin spoke about a number of other topics, including when the line might resume service and where; forward bookings vs future cruise credits and what destinations were proving popular in 2021.