Royal Caribbean is introducing a nonrefundable deposit and a change fee for all Grand Suites and above booked through the cruise line's onboard booking program, known as the NextCruise program.
WIth the change, suite guests who reserve their future cruise while onboard will now require a full, nonrefundable deposit. Assuming these guests commit to the original selection and do not adjust their ship or sail date in the future, there is no impact imposed by this new policy adjustment. Should guests opt to alter their cruise selection in the future, a change fee of $100 per guest will be incurred. All Suite cancellations are now subject to a nonrefundable fee in the amount of the deposit.
Here is a breakdown of the changes:
- For Guests whose NextCruise Booking is for a Grand Suite stateroom or higher, changes made during the first thirty (30) days after the NextCruise Booking was made shall not be subject to a Change Fee but will remain nonrefundable. After the expiration of that thirty day period, a Change Fee (currently $100 per person per change but subject to adjustment without notice) shall apply.
- For Guests who chose the Instant Onboard Credit offer for their NextCruise Booking (regardless of the stateroom category booked), the deposit is nonrefundable for all staterooms. Downgrades to your NextCruise booking will result in an additional charge of between $50 to $500 on your booking and in the loss of your special promotional offer.
- Downgrades include booking a shorter duration cruise or booking a lower class of staterooms. Grand Suite Staterooms and above bookings require full deposit and are only eligible for Future Onboard Credit. For Guests who choose the Future Onboard Credit offer and later Downgrade their NEXTCRUISE BOOKING, the amount of that future onboard credit shall be reduced.
The change is described as, "an effort to preserve our Suite inventory and to ensure that our committed Suite guests have abundant access to premium accommodations." The new change fee has been imposed to encourage solid business and to deter continual or late changes to the selected ship and sail date. During the first 30 days after creation, unlimited changes can be made without a change fee incurred. If a booking is cancelled within the 30 days, the deposit remains non-refundable.
If guests book a suite outside the NextCruise program, the deposit remains fully refundable until final payment. The benefit of booking onboard, however, is the advantage of the rich NextCruise Onboard Credit program, which will not apply if the reservation is not confirmed while onboard.
When asked if non-refundable deposits will become standard for Royal Caribbean, the cruise line's response via a statement was, "In recognition of the high demand onboard for our Suite inventory and the added value of the NextCruise onboard credit, non-refundable deposits are currently only applicable to onboard Suite bookings."
Any Suite bookings made prior to the policy change will not be affected by the change fees and non-refundable deposit policies.