Oversold Ship Leaves Cruise Guests Stranded on Embarkation Day

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Multiple families were denied boarding at the cruise port after learning their ship was oversold.

Passengers scheduled to sail on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas from Brisbane were notified that their guaranteed stateroom could not be accommodated.


Though the company offered alternatives and concessions, many felt insufficient, given the distress and inconvenience they experienced.

They were supposed to leave for an 8-night South Pacific cruise from November 28 to December 6, with stops at Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Quantum of the Seas in Brisbane, Australia
Quantum of the Seas in Brisbane, Australia (ROYAL CARIBBEAN)

Instead, the sailing was overbooked, and they were handed a letter that read, “We regret to inform you that currently we have been unable to allocate a stateroom number to your reservation.”

The same note offered them four options:

  • Wait for a stateroom to become available for any last-minute cancellations. Takers would get $100 in onboard credits. They would get a full refund plus 25% in future cruise credits if they could not be accommodated.
  • Leave on January 29, 2024, for a longer 9-night cruise with a similar itinerary at no extra charge
  • Book another 8-night cruise 
  • Cancel their cruise and get a full refund with a 25% future cruise credit.

RELATED: How to Use a Future Cruise Credit

After a few outraged guests complained on social media, the cruise operator amended their offer with more generous terms—a full refund, 100% future cruise credits, and a free beverage package on their next voyage.

Royal Caribbean later issued a statement explaining the situation. It said, “The demand for the recent November 28 cruise onboard Quantum of the Seas went beyond the rooms that were available. Unfortunately, efforts to accommodate all those who wished to sail fell short for a group of our guests, and some were unable to sail as planned.”

How many people were left behind?

ripcord skydiving flowrider surfing QUANTUM OF THE SEAS
RipCord by iFly and the FlowRider surfing simulator (ROYAL CARIBBEAN)

Royal Caribbean didn’t release any official figures. However, a passenger posted on Reddit that they were joined by 13 couples who received the same letter. The same source shared that only two couples were allowed onboard before the ship left. 

This is not the first time Royal Caribbean has overbooked sailings. Earlier this year, Wonder of the Seas was overbooked for several sailings from Central Florida.

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