While Royal Caribbean's flexible cancellation policy has come to an end, the cruise line will still allow last-minute cancellations if you or someone in your group tests positive for Covid-19.
When the Cruise with Confidence ended on March 31, a lot of cruisers were worried that you would be out of luck financially if someone caught covid before their cruise.
The good news is Royal Caribbean has a separate policy that covers passengers who test positive for covid before their cruise begins that runs for another year.
If you're wondering what happens if someone tests positive in the last few days before a cruise begins, here's a look at Royal Caribbean's policy and why there is still some flexibility in cancelling at the last minute for health reasons.
The Cruise with Confidence program allowed passengers to cancel their cruise for any reason up to 48 hours before the day a cruise began, but that program was aimed primarily at assuaging concerns of not feeling comfortable going through with a booking, rather than someone being unable to cruise.
In parallel to Cruise with Confidence, Royal Caribbean's Covid-19 assistance program covers guests who test positive for covid at no extra charge.
If you, or anyone in your traveling party, tests positive for Covid-19 within 10 days before your cruise begins (or at the cruise terminal), Royal Caribbean will refund 100% of the cruise fare to all of you. You also have the option for a future cruise credit (FCC) instead.
Royal Caribbean defines "traveling party" as your family members living with you in the same household and traveling companions assigned to your stateroom on the cruise.
This applies to cruises departing on or before March 31, 2023.
Royal Caribbean says your test result must be submitted as proof of a positive result in order to qualify for a refund, unless you tested positive from a test administered by Royal Caribbean.
If you had close contact with a positive or suspected covid-19 case within 10 days of embarkation, and Royal Caribbean deems you are unfit to travel, you, and anyone
else in your traveling party who cancels, are eligible for a refund of the cruise fare paid, or an optional FCC equal in value to the same.
Anyone effectively denied boarding in these circumstances will be entitled to a refund, or an optional FCC, for the cruise fare paid to Royal Caribbean.
You can refer to the full policy here.
Refunds during a cruise
Additionally, if your cruise is cut short for reasons related to Covid-19, Royal Caribbean will provide a pro-rated refund of the cruise fare for cruises departing on or before April 30, 2022.
If you test positive for COVID-19 during the cruise, Royal Caribbean will cover the costs of Covid-19 related medical treatment onboard, any required land-based quarantine, and travel home for you and your Traveling Party, for cruises departing on or before April 30, 2022.
There is no word yet if either of those two policies will be extended beyond April 2022.