Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises cancel port stops in Puerto Rico ahead of planned protests

Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises cancel port stops in Puerto Rico ahead of planned protests


Several cruise lines have canceled port stops in San Juan ahead of planned protests Monday in Puerto Rico, aimed at forcing the governor to resign.

“Due to the planned protests scheduled for today in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we have cancelled Celebrity Equinox’s call (a charter cruise) to San Juan,” Royal Caribbean spokesman Owen Torres told USA TODAY in a statement. “Equinox will now sail to St. Thomas, her next scheduled port of call. Concern for the safety and wellbeing of our guests and crew members is our top priority.” This follows a previous Royal Caribbean port stop cancellation as a result of protests last week, and reportedly canceled a second stop as well, according to NBC News and Travel Weekly.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Company, a government agency, said in a statement that the MSC Cruises ship MSC Seaside would also not be stopping in the port.

What’s going on?: Puerto Rico Gov. Rosselló says he won’t run again as protests grow

The agency says that the MSC Seaside would’ve generated an economic impact of $439,000, and the Celebrity Equinox would’ve generated $311,000. Cruise lines have made stops there as recently as Sunday, including Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas and Carnival’s Carnival Fascination. 

People take to the Las Americas Highway in San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 22, 2019 on day 9th of continuous protests demanding the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. (Photo: ERIC ROJAS, AFP/Getty Images)

“No cancellations have yet been reported for transit stops scheduled for the rest of the week,” Carla Campos, the executive director of the tourism company, said in the statement. “The (tourism company) keeps in constant contact with the lines evaluating case by case and trying to safeguard all aspects related to the visitor’s experience.”

The agency added in the statement that they have given cruise lines alternative ways to enter the island, like via the Pan-American Wharf or docking in the port of Ponce, though not all are possible for each cruise.

Anger seething in Puerto Rico is expected to draw thousands to San Juan’s cobble-stoned streets again Monday in an unrelenting push to force the U.S. territory’s governor to step down.

The planned major demonstration follows a week of protests and outrage targeting Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who is embroiled in a scandal over hundreds of pages of leaked text messages that contained misogynistic and homophobic language.  

While he has admitted writing the messages and asked for forgiveness, Rosselló has refused to resign, though he did announce Sunday via a brief Facebook video that he would not seek reelection. He also said he would step down as head of his pro-statehood party.

The people of Puerto Rico are angry: Here is what’s fueling a major protest planned for Monday

Good to know: 31 secrets the cruise lines don’t tell you, for first-time and experienced cruisers

Contributing: Susan Miller, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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