"Captain Stig said that Royal Caribbean is not gonna take us anywhere that is unsafe," passenger and tiktoker @drjennytravels shared
The captain of the Ultimate World Cruise shared an update with passengers about the potential for major changes to their itinerary.
Captain Stig, who guided the Royal Caribbean ship on it's first leg, said during his send off ceremony on Wednesday an announcement will be made Feb. 16.
Rumors that the cruise would be rerouted, or even end early, began to spread among passengers in January amid military action and reports of piracy near the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
The Serenade of the Seas is due to pass through the region in May per the original itinerary.
Royal Caribbean will address any potential rerouting amid unrest in the Red Sea after the captain revealed itinerary changes are coming.
During a sendoff for Captain Stig, who's been steering the ship through it's first leg around South America, he seemingly addressed the rumors that the voyage could reroute or end early due to safety concerns in the Red Sea and Suez Canal, which the boat is meant to pass through in May.
According to a popular tiktoker on board, drjennytravels, "Captain Stig said that Royal Caribbean is not gonna take us anywhere that is unsafe . . . And he told us that they will be releasing an announcement on February 16 regarding the situation of the Red Sea."
She also notes there was no mention of Africa, referring to the earlier hypothesis of some on board that the ship could go around the continent in order to avoid dangerous conflicts.
Passengers have been speculating about what it will mean for their 9-month journey if they need to circumnavigate the area and the captain's statement has sparked new rumors on board.
Another Tiktoker, Abby Cooper, whose mother is on the ship (and who will be joining the cruise herself in the near future) claimed in a video on the app that the captain said in the send off that they are "not going through the Red Sea. They are not going through the Suez Canal. And their itinerary is going to be drastically changed."
A video dispatch from her mom included in the same Tiktok elaborates further. She mentions the civil unrest in Ecuador and Peru, and military activity and piracy in the Red Sea are all concerns for the passengers.
"What that means for us is there's going to be itinerary changes. We now know that we are probably not going to go around Africa. The itinerary has not yet been decided or announced for us," she says.
She adds, "Yes, there's going to be missed ports and our cruise is going to be changed."
Rumors initially spread among passengers in January about the trip ending prematurely. Royal Caribbean issued a statement to PEOPLE at the time confirming that it would finish its tour of the Americas in February and embark on the second leg to Asia as planned.
“The Ultimate World Cruise has given guests the opportunity to see the world in a unique way, and we have loved watching their reactions to this incredible experience,” Royal Caribbean’s statement said. “This adventure will complete its first segment in February, and we can’t wait to kick off the next part of the journey shortly after and begin exploring Asia.”
The statement does not mention the third leg of the trip, which includes the Middle East and Mediterranean. That portion is intended to kick off in May.
The Ultimate World Cruise's Serenade of the Seas, would not be the first ship to change plans due to issues in the region.
In January, In light of pirate attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, Silversea — a luxury cruise line under Royal Caribbean — shortened one of its boat’s schedules, per Travel Weekly. The conflict between Israel and Palestine, issues in the Suez Canal, as well as U.S. military activity in Yemen also continue.
PEOPLE spoke to cruise passenger and podcaster Brandee Lake in early January, who shared that the Serenade had already made changes to its itinerary because of global conflicts. Royal Caribbean "added a couple places" and "moved some things around," she shared, noting that its original lineup included Russia, Ukraine and Israel, all of which were removed. Each time there was an alteration, she says passengers received an official update from the cruise company with alternative destinations and ports.
The Ultimate World Cruise is divided into four segments with 160 total destinations, the cruise departed from Miami on Dec. 10, 2023, to weave through the Caribbean and sail down the east coast of South America. Winding around Cape Horn and braving the tempestuous Drake Passage near Antarctica, it then made its way up the Americas’ west coast and will conclude its first segment in Los Angeles on Feb. 11. The Asia portion starts the same day and ends on May 9.
If everything goes to plan, the journey will finish in exactly nine months on Sept. 10, 2024, after visiting more than 60 countries. Pricing for the full nine-month experience began at $53,999 per person and went up to $117,599.
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Read the original article on People.