“Harmony of the Seas” berthed at Port St. Maarten on Thursday. (John Halley photo)
PORT–Royal Caribbean rerouted one of the world’s largest cruise ships away from Puerto Rico, its scheduled port of call, to St. Maarten on Thursday.
Harmony of the Seas, which sails seven-night itineraries out of Port Canaveral in Florida, was slated to stop at San Juan, but passengers instead got to experience St. Maarten. Harmony was the lone cruise ship in port. Had it not been for the diversion, Thursday would have been a no-ship day in St. Maarten, a stark remainder of the low tourism season and the ongoing annual hurricane season that is marked by low- or no-ship days.
“Due to the ongoing civil unrest in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we have cancelled Harmony of the Seas’ call to San Juan,” said Royal Caribbean spokesperson Owen Torres. “Concern for the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew members is our top priority.”
The unrest in the U.S. territory stems from fallout over the content of a leaked 889-page chat among Governor Ricardo Rosselló and members of his administration that involved profanity and derisive comments about members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer (LGBTQ) community, celebrities and political figures as well as what many deemed insensitive statements about the victims of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017.
Protests in the capital city have many calling for the governor’s resignation.
Harmony of the Seas, one of four Oasis-class ships in the fleet and the four largest cruise ships in the world, could bring 6,687 passengers to the island at full capacity.
Royal Caribbean had already diverted Empress of the Seas from calling on San Juan on Tuesday. Allure of the Seas, which sails out of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, is slated to call on the island on Thursday. That stop and future itineraries involving San Juan are still on schedule.