Voyagers paying thousands of dollars to mingle with actress turned lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow on the high seas have had their vacation plans hampered by the coronavirus.
Paltrow partnered with Celebrity Cruises in January to launch Goop at Sea, a wellness offering for suite guests aboard the Celebrity Apex’s 11-day cruise of Spain, France and the Italian Riviera. It was scheduled to take off from Barcelona on Aug. 26, but Celebrity Cruises, a division of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., has decided to suspend all trips until mid-September due to COVID-19.
“Given ongoing global public health circumstances, Celebrity Cruises has decided to extend the suspension of most sailings through Sept. 15, 2020,” the company said in a statement posted to its web site. “We are working with our guests and travel partners to address this disruption to their vacations and are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience.”
A Goop spokeswoman added: “In light of ongoing global health concerns and travel restrictions, we have decided to reschedule the Goop at Sea sailing experience. We are working on new dates next year for the event and look forward to welcoming everyone aboard in 2021.”
As compensation, all booked guests on the cruise will automatically receive a 125 percent future cruise credit valid until Dec. 31, 2021, or a full refund, according to Celebrity Cruises’ web site.
The cancellation comes amid a global freeze in cruising, with many operators announcing this week that they would voluntarily extend a cruising suspension until Sept. 15, after an outbreak of COVID-19 on a number of ships as well as increasing travel restrictions. The original no sail order for 250-plus passenger ships, implemented by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was due to expire at the end of July. In March, another celebrity cruise — featuring former public radio host and well-known author Garrison Keillor — was canceled.
As for Goop at Sea, it was marketed as “the ultimate wellness experience at sea,” offering guests access to a mix of doctors, practitioners and so-called thought leaders during various mind and body sessions. Guests would also have had the opportunity to engage with Paltrow, Goop’s founder and chief executive officer, and Elise Loehnen, Goop’s chief content officer, via a Q&A. Tickets for the Goop element were priced at $750 — on top of the cost of the cruise — and were only available to those who booked suites.
As well as the featured speakers, guests aboard the ship, which can hold around 2,900 passengers, would have had access to a roof garden, a 14,000-square-foot spa, Peloton bikes and no less than 29 food and drink options, with vegan offerings.
When it was launched, Paltrow said in a statement: “We’ve had massive success with In Goop Health, our wellness summit that translates Goop’s content into a tangible, high-touch experience. This partnership with Celebrity Cruises allows us to bring Goop to new audiences and to meet readers where they are. Goop’s brand DNA is based in curiosity, and curiosity is an essential component of travel.”
Cruises with a celebrity on board have become popular over the last few years, with various cruise lines advertising trips with the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, DJ Khaled, Cardi B and Post Malone, William Shatner and New Kids on the Block to name just a few.
Oprah and Gayle King also rode the high seas with a group of fans last year on the so-called Girls’ Getaway Cruise, run by Holland America Line.