Royal Caribbean's rules for cancelling a cruise are about to change.
There are two types of deposits a guest can make when booking a cruise: refundable and non-refundable.
Travel agents were alerted of the new policy change regarding non-refundable deposits. There is no change for guests that book refundable deposits.
Beginning with reservations made on or after June 1, 2022, if a guest were to cancel their non-refundable fare, the full deposit amount will be withheld by the cruise line. Any additional payments made will be refunded.
If a guest elects to change their original ship and/or sail date, then a change fee of $100 per person will apply.
The Future Cruise Credit component is being discontinued and will no longer apply when canceling under this policy outside of the final payment period.
Instead, the deposit amount will be withheld in-full.
Guests booked prior to June 1, 2022 are protected under the prior policy terms. Guests who booked a non-refundable fare prior June 1, 2022 can elect to request a Future Cruise Credit in the amount of the deposit paid per guest, less the $100 fee.
Impact for suites
This policy change is especially important to note if you book a suite.
Royal Caribbean made suites non-refundable only a few years ago because of the high demand for them, especially when new sailings were announced. Prior to the non-refundable fares, suites would be booked up early by cruise fans and later decide if they would sail or not. To deter the practice of dumping suites closer to sailing, Royal Caribbean changed suite fares to non-refundable.
With this change, booking a suite well in advance comes with additional risk if you choose to cancel later, especially considering the deposit amount of suites tends to be higher than non-suite rooms.
Typically, the deposit amount for suites is double regular room fares.
Refundable vs non-refundable cruise fares
Just like non-refundable fares found with airfare, rental cars, and hotels, these rates come at a reduced rate as an incentive to lock in plans.
In short, guests get a lower price and the cruise line gets more protection against a last-minute cancellation.
Refundable cruise fares cost more, but allow more flexibility when cancelling a cruise.
The exact price difference between a refundable and non-refundable fare can vary depending on the sailing.
Best Price Guarantee change
In addition to the cruise fare changes, Royal Caribbean also tweaked the Best Price Guarantee program.
Effective immediately, the Best Price Guarantee onboard credit option value will be 100% of the price difference (previously 110%).
This change refers to the original Best Price Guarantee program and not the Cruise With Confidence program.
Read more: Do cruise prices drop?