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How to cancel a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
28Oct2019
By: 
Matt Hochberg

While it is not something anyone wants to even think about, there may be a need to cancel a Royal Caribbean cruise. Regardless of the reason, here is what you need to know on how to cancel a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Updated: April 7, 2021

Know the cancellation policy

Before you cancel, you should be aware of the terms of cancellation you agreed to when placing that initial deposit.

Cruise Fares

There are two types of cruise fare deposits: refundable and non-refundable.  

If you booked refundable cruise fare, and have not yet made your final payment, you can cancel for a full refund of your deposit and any money paid.

If you booked a non-refundable cruise fare, and are outside of final payment, you will receive a Future Cruise Certificate in the amount of the cruise deposit, less a $100 per guest change fee.

Once you pass the final payment date, you may be subject to cancelation charges that vary depending on how close you are to your sailing. 

A traditional cruise cancellation will provide cash back, but potentially with penalties.

Cancellation Window

Once you pass the final payment date, cancellations that occur may incur a cancellation charge that depends on how close to sailing you decide not to cruise.

FOR 1 TO 4 NIGHT CRUISES
(including Holiday sailings)
IF CANCELLATION IS MADE
CANCELLATION CHARGE
75 days or more prior to the first day of the CruiseNo charge (except for Nonrefundable Deposit amounts)
74 to 61 days50% of total price
60 to 31 days75% of total price
30 days or less100% of total price (No refund)

 

FOR 5 NIGHTS OR LONGER CRUISES
(including Holiday sailings and Cruisetours)
IF CANCELLATION IS MADE
CANCELLATION CHARGE
90 days or more prior to the first day of the CruiseNo charge (except for Nonrefundable Deposit amounts)
89 to 75 days25% of total price
74 to 61 days50% of total price
60 to 31 days75% of total price
30 days or less100% of total price (No refund)

How to cancel a cruise

Once you determine you want to cancel your cruise, you need to contact whomever you booked your cruise with to make the change.

If you booked directly with Royal Caribbean via its website or on their site, you can call Royal Caribbean to cancel the reservation.

If you prefer to cancel a cruise online, you can refer to the online cancellation form that will provide the different options you have for cancellation.

If you booked the cruise with a travel agent, and/or any website other than Royal Caribbean's site, you must go through your travel provider to cancel the cruise.

Can I get a refund on my Royal Caribbean cruise?

You may be able to get a refund for your cruise, depending on how far in advance you cancel you cruise and the type of cruise deposit booked. It is critical you understand the terms and conditions of your cruise contract before booking a cruise to prevent any surprises if you decide to cancel later on.

Refer to the chart above for specific cancellation charges, but if you inform Royal Caribbean at least 90 days prior to your sailing date for 5-night or longer cruises (including Holiday sailings and Cruisetours), or 75 days for 1-4 night cruises (including Holiday sailings), you may qualify for a full or partial refund.

The type of cruise fare deposit on the reservation and timing of the decision to cancel will ultimately dictate how much of a refund you will receive.

Can I cancel my cruise because of Covid-19?

The global health crisis caused by Covid-19 has changed a lot in the cruise industry. It also introduced a great deal of uncertainty.

As a result, Royal Caribbean has introduced more flexible cancellation terms under what it calls the "Cruise with Confidence" program.

If you book a cruise while Cruise with Confidence is offered, you can cancel at any time your cruise, up until 48 hours prior to sailing, and get a 100% future cruise credit.

Cruise with Confidence covers even non-refundable deposits, which means no penalty for cancelling under Cruise with Confidence.

You should be aware if you elect to cancel your cruise under Cruise with Confidence program, a few things:

  • You cannot get a cash refund later once you take the future cruise credit.
  • If you cancel the cruise, and then Royal Caribbean later cancels the sailing, you are not eligible for whatever offers the cruise line has for people still booked.

Overall, the peace of mind Cruise with Confidence provides is well worth the tradeoffs, but it is important to be aware of the program details.

Can I cancel my Royal Caribbean cruise online?

In order to expedite the amount of requests for cancellations, Royal Caribbean has set up an online form to cancel your cruise.

You will need the Booking ID, Ship, Sail Date, and Last Name from the reservation you wish to cancel.  At that point, the website will present options available to you.

If you booked with a travel agent, I strongly advise that you speak with them first to determine your options. Moreover, an agent can handle the paperwork required for a refund; and serve as a go-between when (not if) refund delays occur.

How can I get my money back if I want to cancel?

If you are interested in getting your cash back, here are the options available to you:

Traditional cancellations will provide cash back, minus any change fees or associated penalties.  Quite often, guests run into penalties because they booked a non-refundable cruise fare and/or they are past the final payment date.

If Royal Caribbean ends up cancelling your cruise, you can take a 100% refund, regardless of if you booked a non-refundable cruise fare or final payment date penalties. This requires the cruise line to cancel, instead of you, so the choice is taken out of your hands.  Still, this is the only way to get all of your money back as cash without penalties.

What about travel insurance?

Travel insurance covers a great deal of scenarios, but cancelling your vacation because you want to cancel is usually not covered.

Refer to your travel insurance policy, but unless you have a 'Cancel For Any Reason' policy, most travel insurance does not kick in until an outside influence occurs that prevents you from going on the cruise, such as becoming ill or another covered scenario.

Non-Royal Caribbean related refunds

Of course, you may have other purchases made in conjunction with your cruise vacation that is outside of Royal Caribbean. 

Each company you work with will have different cancellation policies, with some being far more flexible than others.

The airlines have modified their cancellation terms to be more flexible, although each airline has different rules regarding travel credits, refunds, or both. One loophole to getting a refund is if the airline cancels or changes your flight time, you may be able to jump in on a refund request.

Hotels have traditionally offered flexible cancellation terms, provided you did not opt for a non-refundable deposit. 

Perhaps car rentals have the most customer-friendly cancellations available; but you will have to refer to your rental reservation. 

Regardless of which refund you are requesting, the key is to be persistent and polite about getting answers to options available to you.

Your Choice

Ultimately, the decision to cancel your Royal Caribbean cruise is a personal choice that depends on various factors unique to yourself. There is little doubt the cruise experience will change, at least temporarily, from what we are accustomed to having onboard, but the cruise line is committed to cruising remaining a fun vacation experience.

The Cruise with Confidence options that have provided a great deal of flexibility may not be around forever, so now is a great opportunity to consider all of your options.