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Guide to Royal Caribbean's cancellation policy

04 Jun 2024
Calista Kiper

How can you cancel a cruise if a problem surfaces or you change your mind?

It's never ideal to cancel a vacation you were looking forward to, but there are all sorts of reasons to want to cancel.

Whether a family emergency comes up, you need to spend money elsewhere, or traveling isn't feasible anymore, life can unfortunately get in the way.

In case you need to cancel or modify a cruise booking, you should know the options Royal Caribbean offers.

Every cruise line has important policies when it comes to modifying a cruise booking and not all bookings are equal in terms of refunds.


No matter how excited you are for an upcoming cruise, it's crucial that you know the terms of the booking and cancellation policies.

Preparing yourself with this knowledge will prevent any expensive surprises later on.

This informational guide will provide an overview of Royal Caribbean's cancellation policy, ensuring that you know exactly what you're agreeing to when you book.

What if I have a nonrefundable deposit?

Cancelled flights

Refunds and penalties for cancellation depend on the type of fare purchased, the length of the cruise, and how long before the cruise you attempt to cancel.

Two different deposit types can affect your cancellation fee, and you agree to the terms of cancellation when you choose a particular deposit type.

When you book a cruise, you first make a deposit, without being required to pay the full amount right away. 

Royal Caribbean has both refundable and nonrefundable cruise fare deposits.

Some promotional and exclusive fares require a nonrefundable deposit.

This means that a booking made under this fare requires guests' full names and a paid deposit at the time of booking. 

This deposit cannot be refunded at any time but often comes at a lower price overall.

If you cancel a cruise booked with a non-refundable deposit, you'll lose the deposit amount.

Moreover, to change the sail date and/or ship, you'll incur a $100 per person fee for any change in the that aspect of the reservation.

What if I have a refundable deposit?

Mariner of the Seas

Refundable cruise fares are more flexible, promising almost a full refund when you cancel.

if you book your cruise under a refundable cruise fare, you can still receive a full refund of your deposit and any other payments made, as long as you haven't yet made the final payment.

Guests currently have up to 90 days before the sailing to make their final payment.

Ships docked at CocoCay

Once the final payment is made for a cruise, guests can be subject to cancellation fees that vary depending on how close it is to the sail date.

Typically, you will still receive a refund but with a penalty fee.

What is Royal Caribbean's cancellation fee?

Gangway to cruise ship

You will get a full refund if you notify Royal Caribbean at least 75 days before the first day of the cruise (60 days for 3 and 4-night cruises or 90 days for holiday sailings). 

For cruises lasting 1 to 4 nights (including holiday sailings), the cancellation fee is as follows:

  • 75 days or more before the first day of the cruise: No charge (except for Nonrefundable Deposit amounts)
  • 74 to 61 days: 50% of the total price
  • 60 to 31 days: 75% of the total price
  • 30 days or less: 100% of the total price (No refund)
Miami terminals

For cruises 5 nights or over (including holiday sailings and CruiseTours), the cancellation fee by days prior is:

  • 90 days or more before the first day of the cruise: No charge (except for Nonrefundable Deposit amounts)
  • 89 to 75 days: 25% of the total price
  • 74 to 61 days: 50% of the total price
  • 60 to 31 days: 75% of the total price
  • 30 days or less: 100% of the total price (No refund)

For cruises and CruiseTours, the taxes and fees will be completely refunded.

Essentially, if a guest cancels their cruise 90 or more days before the first day of the sailing, they'll receive a complete refund (excluding any nonrefundable deposits).

But if a guest cancels 30 days or less before the cruise, there is no refund.

How can I cancel a cruise?

Oceanview cabin

If you've decided you need to cancel your cruise, that can be accomplished using the same method that you booked the cruise.

If you booked the cruise directly with Royal Caribbean or on the website, you can call the cruise line to cancel your reservation.

If you used a travel agent or another type of website, you should inform and consult with your travel provider to cancel the booking. Travel agents can handle any changes, delays, or cancellations for you.

Read more: How to cancel a Royal Caribbean cruise

Does my travel insurance cover a cancellation?

travel insurance

In general, travel insurance does not usually cover a canceled cruise.

Unless it is because of an illness or another covered scenario, most travel insurance will not kick in.

However, Royal Caribbean offers a Travel Protection Program for its cruisers.

If plans change and you need to cancel your cruise vacation, this cancellation penalty waiver will allow you to waive the non-refundable cancellation portion and receive the unused value of your cruise vacation.


You also can be eligible for credit toward a future cruise, ranging up to 90% of the non-refundable, prepaid cruise fare.

A "cancel for any reason" credit can be added at an extra cost.

To be eligible for this credit, you must purchase the travel protection plan prior to making your final payment for the cruise. Also, you must notify Royal Caribbean of this cancellation before the ship departs for the cruise.

Read more: Royal Caribbean will increase price of travel insurance policy

What you need to know about Royal Caribbean's cancellation policy

Calista Kiper graduated from Wheaton College, IL, with a B.A. in English Writing. 

Growing up traveling around the world, she developed a passion for diversity and cross-cultural communication. From her first cruise on Wonder of the Seas, she has delighted in the intersection between travel, diversity, and writing in the cruising world.

Calista spends her free time reading, cooking, and researching the latest human-interest stories. 

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