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Warning - Royal Changing Ships Without Notice


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I always try to stay positive but Royal has implemented an unprecedented change that should be a cause for concern for everyone.  They are changing a ship, swapping an Oasis class ship to a Freedom class ship and arbitrarily moving guests into new cabins with no recourse, no refund and few options.

This is unprecedented and it should be a cause for concern for anyone booking a Royal Caribbean cruise.  The ship and cabin or cabin category you book may not be what you find yourself sailing. 

Without notice or communication your ship and cabin can be substituted to something else. 

We all know that the cruise contract allows Royal to make certain changes when they are required to do so.  Historically that has resulted in itinerary changes that substitute different ports of call.  That's different than swapping in an entirely different ship.   Historically when Royal redeploys a ship the future cruises on the impacted ship are cancelled and they have typically offer some sort of compensation in the form of a small on board credit.  That's not happening now.

In the case of Allure of the Seas from Galveston Royal Caribbean has decided to postpone building the new terminal there which means that Allure can't sail from Galveston as they had planned.  

This morning I have discovered that rather than cancelling Allure bookings Royal has substituted Liberty of the Seas in her place and arbitrarily changed cabins to a different cabin category downgrading in the process.

The options they have offered - accept their change or lose the deposit.   

Imagine booking an international flight in First Class that includes lie flat seats, complimentary meal and beverage service and everything else that goes with First Class only to discover the airline has swapped in a smaller plane and placed you in another seat that doesn't include any First Class benefits.  That is what Royal Caribbean is now doing on future cruises without changing the fare paid or offering any compensation.

This change is unprecedented. 

Why Should This Matter To You

The cruise you book can and will be changed by Royal Caribbean to anything they want without notice or compensation.  They aren't just changing some ports on an itinerary, they are now changing the entire ship and cabin category.  

Let's say you booked Oasis of the Seas.  You may find that ship has been redeployed due to the pandemic and now your cruise is moved to another ship.  Maybe even a smaller ship that doesn't offer your type of cabin or any of the features and activities for the ship you booked.

I can understand why they need to do this.  Cancelling thousands of bookings at a time when there is no income is a recipe for bankruptcy.  However for us, the cruising public on the receiving end of these unprecedented changes, it represents a whole new level of risk when booking a cruise.  

This pandemic has created unprecedented changes at so many levels.  This move by Royal Caribbean represents a new twist to vacation planning on a level we've never experienced before.

I've long said I don't care where the cruise goes, just get me on the ship.  The problem now when booking a cruise is I don't know what ship I will actually be sailing on.

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I always try to stay positive but Royal has implemented an unprecedented change that should be a cause for concern for everyone.  They are changing a ship, swapping an Oasis class ship to a Freedom cl

The other things that bothers me in this NRD conversation is why should that be a factor when Royal is cancelling the cruise? They cancelled the cruise.  I didn't.  I still want to sail Allu

I have called out Royal before when they make a mistake and that is what I've done here in the thread.  However don't confuse that an overall or new found disdain for the company.     No company

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20 minutes ago, twangster said:

Imagine booking an international flight in First Class that includes lie flat seats, complimentary meal and beverage service and everything else that goes with First Class only to discover the airline has swapped in a smaller plane and placed you in another seat that doesn't include any First Class benefits.  That is what Royal Caribbean is now doing on future cruises without changing the fare paid or offering any compensation.

Even the airlines who are famous for doing the wrong thing will let you cancel when downgauging happens. 

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1 minute ago, rjac said:

Is Royal going to notify booked cruisers when this change happens in advance of the cruise date? This really sucks!☹️

Oh man, can you imagine being uninformed of what the differences really are and showing up to find a ship not nearly as well appointed. 
I sometimes forget normal people don’t read this blog and watch YouTube ship tours. 

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18 minutes ago, rjac said:

Is Royal going to notify booked cruisers when this change happens in advance of the cruise date? This really sucks!☹️

I found out by looking at my future cruises on the website. 

They removed me from Star Class that would have included a Genie, prepaid gratuity, Voom, deluxe beverage package and the dining package among other benefits and now those are all lost since Liberty doesn't offer Star Class.  No change in fare, no compensation, no refund option.  Can't Lift & Shift a fall 2021 cruise and CWC doesn't apply as I've only paid a deposit.   Sail Liberty or walk away from my deposit.  

For my party including family members sailing with me, adding gratuity, Voom, deluxe beverage and the dining package adds nearly $4k to the cruise cost.  

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This clearly looks like a cash grab as otherwise they wouldn’t be able to sell rooms on Liberty as quickly as they would have sold on Allure. If we figure 2,000 less people per sailing at an average of 1,000 per person it’s 2 million less a week in revenue just for cruise fare. 
I don’t comprehend why they didn’t offer these people the ability to keep their room on Allure out of Florida. 

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1 minute ago, Andrew72681 said:

This clearly looks like a cash grab as otherwise they wouldn’t be able to sell rooms on Liberty as quickly as they would have sold on Allure. If we figure 2,000 less people per sailing at an average of 1,000 per person it’s 2 million less a week in revenue just for cruise fare. 
I don’t comprehend why they didn’t offer these people the ability to keep their room on Allure out of Florida. 

They have confirmed bookings they can simply move to Liberty.  They were almost certainly not sold out so while they had Allure with an average of something like 30% sold now they have those folks on Liberty at something like 60% sold out since it's a much smaller ship.  Next step is make Allure available in FL for a whole new set of cruisers to book.  

I always hate it when someone declares "bait & switch" when the majority of the time it isn't.  I have a hard time seeing this any anything but bait and switch.  Alure people to book Allure (pun intended) then move them to Liberty while offering Allure to whole new set of unsuspecting guppies.  

On another note, it's possibly a red flag.  Bankruptcy may be closer than many of us would like to admit.  They can't cancel Allure bookings - the refunds would sink the company.  

22 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

It’s been a hot garbage fire especially for suites. There was a person who was in a 2 bedroom Aquatheater suite and they told her the only option was to move to a Junior Suite on Liberty. No compensation at all for the lost inclusions (dining, beverage, etc)

We didn't get stuffed into a JS, but probably only because the number of us in our two bedroom ATS wouldn't fit in a JS.

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You know, with everything going on and all the uncertainty in the air...I think we are just going to cancel our upcoming cruise and stay at home.  Maybe one day they will get all this sorted but I really don't feel like giving my hard earned money to someone to be restricted and have them make changes to our vacation because its better for the cruise line.  

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This happens a LOT with airlines.  They will cancel a route completely.  Put you on different Aircraft, different connections,  move your seats  but the BIG difference is any time this happens with an airline you have the option for full cancel and full refund due to the changes which are NOT what you agreed to in your contract with them.  

RCL is digging itself a bigger hole than this pandemic has already handed out.

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1 hour ago, Andrew72681 said:

It’s been a hot garbage fire especially for suites. There was a person who was in a 2 bedroom Aquatheater suite and they told her the only option was to move to a Junior Suite on Liberty. No compensation at all for the lost inclusions (dining, beverage, etc)

I know someone else that this also happened to !

😉😉

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I have a cruise this November aboard the Oasis and was seriously considering booking another cruise for next year, but after reading this, I may just hold off for cruising next year and do something different. To many changes and reactions by RCI. I will have to wait and see how this sailing goes (if it goes) this November. I really hope RCI thinks about what they may do to themselves long term vs short term.

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I have a relatively cheap cruise in September, waiting to see what happens with that before committing to anymore.

Smallish deposit down on the Blog cruise for next Thanksgiving ..

And a floating credit on NCL that i cant find anything to use it on ...

Ok, so i have more in play still than i thought.

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Ugh.  I'm pretty sure my Empress sailing in August will be canceled, as it's the only one on the schedule between now and late October when she is due in Miami.  We've been wondering why they didn't just cancel it with all the other cancellations for Canadian sailings - this was the only one to Bermuda on Empress's schedule past August 1.  All the rest were to Canada. 

Now you have me thinking they may send another ship in her place, which means we will not be docking in Hamilton and St. Georges but back over at the Royal Dockyard.  The whole appeal of this sailing (besides all the friends on it) was to dock where no other ship can.  We docked in those two small ports in 1997 on Song of America.  Sighhhhh...

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When they replaced the Indy from us in the UK last year I’m sure they gave full refunds? This does not sound like RC they are usually good at things like this..🤷🏻‍♂️
I hope they Reconsider otherwise lots of cruisers will be gone for good over something so small, I don’t really see a issue with refunds  because most will have only paid a deposit this far out..! 

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@twangster you might want to try your luck.  Someone in another group lost her ATS on Allure and they moved her to a JS on Liberty.  She fought it and now today they moved her to an ATS on Symphony, she had to move her sail date but they kept her pricing the same.  YMMV

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Now I'm getting more concerned about the following email.  I only have a central park balcony at stake so I'm not too worried.

Dear Guest,

We hope that amidst this situation, you have remained healthy, safe, and optimistic that each day that passes, is another day closer to a more regular day-to-day.

Given the closure of shipyards along with the disruption to the supply chain caused by this pandemic, the amplification of Allure of the Seas, which included renovations and new signature attractions, has been moved to a later date. Currently, Allure is in Cadiz, Spain receiving a routine technical dry dock to ensure she is ready for your cruise. We know how much time and effort go into planning your cruise and apologize for this delay in our construction plans. But don't worry, Allure won't disappoint - she will still have next level thrills on every deck. Our adventure seekers can surf the waves on the FlowRider, catch views of the Boardwalk from a vantage point unlike any other on the zipline, or discover new heights as you rock climb at sea. If relaxing is number one on your to-do list, we also have you covered. Enjoy live music as you sip a cocktail, experience world-class entertainment at live production show, or grab a bite to eat at one of our specialty dining venues.

This change does mean that we'll need to make a few updates to some of our stateroom categories in our internal systems. So, over the next few weeks, your stateroom category name for your sailing will show as a guarantee. Once we've completed our work behind-the-scenes, your stateroom category name will be different than what you originally booked. However, please know, your stateroom location, dimensions, and number will all remain the same. The only change will be the name of your stateroom category name.

While we do hope you choose to stay booked on our Allure of the Seas November 1, 2020 sailing, we understand the impact this change has caused on your vacation. Should you choose not to sail, you are welcome to take advantage of our Cruise with Confidence policy. This provides you with the flexibility to cancel your reservation up to 48 hours prior to departure for sailings that depart before April 30th, 2022 and receive a Future Cruise Credit. To learn more about this program, please visit https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-with-confidence. If you decide you'd like to cancel your upcoming cruise and receive a credit and you don't want to wait on the phone, please click here to get the process started.

And, should you have any questions or concerns, we are here to assist. Please contact your Travel Advisor or call us at (888) 281-9344 and know, hold times may be a bit longer than usual due to this unparalleled situation.

We appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation during this situation, and know that together, we will all come out of this stronger than ever. In the meantime, please stay safe. We can't wait to welcome you onboard for an amazing cruise vacation!

Sincerely,

Royal Caribbean International

Brand

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24 minutes ago, Jason12 said:

When they replaced the Indy from us in the UK last year I’m sure they gave full refunds?

Yes, that is correct. However, when we priced up the equivalent itinerary and cabin on Anthem to match our cancelled Independence sailing, it was a lot more expensive! No additional compensation was available.

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Wow, I was afraid this was going to happen and probably happen quite a bit. I don't think this will be the last bait and switch. Seems like they will only be able to sail out of Florida and Texas this year so they need hedge their bets. You would think they would at least price the cruises relative to the ship.

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1 hour ago, marti314 said:

This happens a LOT with airlines.  They will cancel a route completely.  Put you on different Aircraft, different connections,  move your seats  but the BIG difference is any time this happens with an airline you have the option for full cancel and full refund due to the changes which are NOT what you agreed to in your contract with them.  

RCL is digging itself a bigger hole than this pandemic has already handed out.

United told me my direct flights that were changed to layovers and slight time difference didn't qualify for cash refund because it was less than 12 hours. I recall reading they changed that. Luckily one flight was points (redeposited) the other was just under $400 which was converted to a voucher. Paid upgrades refunded to credit card (with a pretty lengthy explanation and documents to support my request - if I sat tight, I would have lost over $600...)

This entire thread makes me nervous for my upcoming final payment on the Oasis of the Seas given the state of NY/NJ.

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48 minutes ago, Dad2Cue said:

Now I'm getting more concerned about the following email.  I only have a central park balcony at stake so I'm not too worried.

Dear Guest,

We hope that amidst this situation, you have remained healthy, safe, and optimistic that each day that passes, is another day closer to a more regular day-to-day.

Given the closure of shipyards along with the disruption to the supply chain caused by this pandemic, the amplification of Allure of the Seas, which included renovations and new signature attractions, has been moved to a later date. Currently, Allure is in Cadiz, Spain receiving a routine technical dry dock to ensure she is ready for your cruise. We know how much time and effort go into planning your cruise and apologize for this delay in our construction plans. But don't worry, Allure won't disappoint - she will still have next level thrills on every deck. Our adventure seekers can surf the waves on the FlowRider, catch views of the Boardwalk from a vantage point unlike any other on the zipline, or discover new heights as you rock climb at sea. If relaxing is number one on your to-do list, we also have you covered. Enjoy live music as you sip a cocktail, experience world-class entertainment at live production show, or grab a bite to eat at one of our specialty dining venues.

This change does mean that we'll need to make a few updates to some of our stateroom categories in our internal systems. So, over the next few weeks, your stateroom category name for your sailing will show as a guarantee. Once we've completed our work behind-the-scenes, your stateroom category name will be different than what you originally booked. However, please know, your stateroom location, dimensions, and number will all remain the same. The only change will be the name of your stateroom category name.

While we do hope you choose to stay booked on our Allure of the Seas November 1, 2020 sailing, we understand the impact this change has caused on your vacation. Should you choose not to sail, you are welcome to take advantage of our Cruise with Confidence policy. This provides you with the flexibility to cancel your reservation up to 48 hours prior to departure for sailings that depart before April 30th, 2022 and receive a Future Cruise Credit. To learn more about this program, please visit https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-with-confidence. If you decide you'd like to cancel your upcoming cruise and receive a credit and you don't want to wait on the phone, please click here to get the process started.

And, should you have any questions or concerns, we are here to assist. Please contact your Travel Advisor or call us at (888) 281-9344 and know, hold times may be a bit longer than usual due to this unparalleled situation.

We appreciate your patience, understanding, and cooperation during this situation, and know that together, we will all come out of this stronger than ever. In the meantime, please stay safe. We can't wait to welcome you onboard for an amazing cruise vacation!

Sincerely,

Royal Caribbean International

Brand

I'd run if I were you. November 1st out of the med seems like it's slipping away by the day and you seem to be one of the lucky ones who can get a refund, even if it will take months.

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You would think that if they would send an email describing a room category change that they would send an email describing A WHOLE FREAK'N SHIP CHANGE!!! I'm sure there's a room category change in there, too! WOW!! TOTAL BAIT AND SWITCH! SO WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS!! It's like you think your booking the concierge floor at the Hyatt and you end up at the free morning buffet Best Western Plus and free use of the house phone to arrange your own activities (a la concierge)! TOTALLY WRONG WRONG WRONG! 

I hope that @Mattor Doug Parker, Cruise Radio News, will cover this on their next podcast.

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8 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

I'd run if I were you. November 1st out of the med seems like it's slipping away by the day and you seem to be one of the lucky ones who can get a refund, even if it will take months.

Still not a true refund, though...only a FCC.

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