By Julia Thompson
SAN JUAN--Royal Caribbean International has cancelled a planned call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, amid protests against the embattled governor in the capital of the U.S. territory.
"In light of current unrest in San Juan, Puerto Rico, we have cancelled today’s call to San Juan," Owen Torres, spokesman for Royal Caribbean, said in a statement to USA TODAY. "We continue to monitor the situation closely and will make adjustments as necessary to ensure the safety and security of our guests and crew."
Empress of the Seas, which was slated to stop in San Juan Tuesday, has been rerouted to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, Torres said, and guests will receive refunds for prepaid shore excursions. Tortola was already on the itinerary as a planned Wednesday stop, according to cruise-tracking site, CruiseMapper.com.
The ship left Miami Saturday on an eight-day Caribbean journey with stops planned for the Royal Caribbean's private island, CocoCay, in the Bahamas; San Juan; Tortola; and Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Thousands of protesters marched in San Juan to call for Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's resignation. Police tried to disperse the marchers with pepper spray in front of the Fortaleza governor’s residence, which was protected by barricades.
Nearly two years ago, Hurricane Maria exposed the raw dysfunction of Puerto Rico, collapsing long-neglected infrastructure and leaving several thousand dead on Rosselló’s watch.
Last week, two of his top former officials were arrested by the FBI on corruption charges.
But the scandal that is threatening to buckle the 40-year-old governor centres on a profanity-laced and, at times, misogynistic online chat with nine other male members of his administration. The leak of at least 889 pages of the private chat has sunk Rosselló into the deepest crisis of his career.
Torres noted future stops in San Juan have not been cancelled but that Royal Caribbean is "monitoring the situation and will make adjustments if necessary."