Royal Caribbean International has reached out to guests booked aboard the May 21, 2023 sailing of Explorer of the Seas to notify them of an emergency embarkation change due to flooding that has caused safety concerns at the original embarkation port.
Instead of Ravenna, guests for this sailing will instead be embarking from Trieste, but Royal Caribbean is facilitating with transfers.
Embarkation Port Changed This Weekend
The Sunday, May 21, 2023 departure of Explorer of the Seas will not be leaving from Ravenna as originally planned, due to heavy flooding in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, which includes the northeastern Italy homeport. Royal Caribbean has reached out to booked guests via email to notify them of the change.
“As a result of the flooding, Ravenna will not be prepared to safely embark guests on May 21st, 2023 and instead, we’ll now conduct our check-in at the Venezia Terminal Passegrei and departe from Trieste, Italy at 9:30 PM,” the email explained.
All guests are asked to arrive at the Venezia Terminal Passegrei during their original check-in windows, and no later than 4:30 p.m. The last transfer to Trieste will leave at 5:15 p.m.
The Venezia Terminal Passegrei is the cruise passenger terminal in Venice, which guests can reach via shuttle (water or land) from the Venice airport. As many guests plan to arrive early for cruises from Ravenna and often spend a day or two in Venice prior to setting sail, this can be a convenient option.
Trieste is located approximately 100 miles (160 kilometers) driving distance from Venice, or 75 miles (120 kilometers) via boat from the Venetian lagoon to the Gulf of Trieste. While both modes of transportation could be possible, it is unlikely that guests will be transported via boat due to luggage and additional safety concerns.
The email to guests does note that a luggage truck will be used to transport passengers’ luggage from Venice to Trieste, but that travelers should keep a carry-on or personal item with them to hold valuables, medications, travel documents, and a change of clothes for dinner if necessary.
“We’re terribly sorry for the unexpected change,” the email reads. “Your safety is always our highest priority.”
The impacted cruise is a 7-night roundtrip sailing from Ravenna (now Trieste) to Croatia and Greece. At this time, there is no information about whether or not the ship will return to Ravenna or Trieste at the end of the cruise.
Flooding in Northern Italy
The Emilia-Romagna region has been inundated with catastrophically heavy rain in the past few days, with more than 20 rivers having overflowed. More than 280 landslides have been recorded, and at least 13 people have died.
Authorities estimate that in a 36-hour period, as much as 8-20 inches (20-50 centimeters) of rain has fallen on the region. That amount of rain is typically common over a six-month period, not in a matter of hours.
The torrential rain has led to many local emergencies, daring rescues, evacuations, and more. Local events, including the popular Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola race, which was to have been held on Sunday, have been cancelled.
This is not the first time ports in Italy have been impacted by severe flooding. In November 2019, heavy flooding in Venice forced several cruise ships to find alternative ports of call.
Other Cruises May Be Impacted
While the Voyager-class Explorer of the Seas is the only vessel scheduled to embark from Ravenna this weekend, Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Constellation is due for an overnight port of call visit with embarkations and debarkations on Thursday and Friday, May 25-26.
Explorer of the Seas is due back in Ravenna on Sunday, May 28, while Enchantment of the Seas is scheduled to arrive on Monday, May 29.
At this time, there are no itinerary or port changes for additional vessels, but guests booked on upcoming sailings that visit or embark/debark from Ravenna should stay in close contact with their cruise line to be promptly notified of any adjustments.
Cruise Hive’s thoughts are with everyone devastated by the flooding, including the Italian officers and crew members who have families in the impacted region.