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Paying my remaining cruise fare balance 90 days before a cruise that I know I won't be on


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Hi All,

I wonder if RC has given any though to pushing back the final payment date to be closer to the sailing date.  I have a 7-night on SOTS for 3/27 which is in peril of cancellation to say the least.  After thinking this over, we have decided we don't want to cruise this early given a variety of factors: wearing masks everywhere, having to potentially quarantine in cabin due to positive or false-positive tests, and risk of being "stuck" on ship.  I know we can lift and shift or get a FCC but I'd rather not keep the full amount tied up in RC.  I realize we can get a full refund if RC cancels on us, but regardless the fact remains that the remaining balance is due later this month.  It's too bad they are only cancelling a couple months in advance and seemingly only after folks have made their final payment.  It may not seem like that big a pain, but if you had multiple cruises impacted it can add up.  I'm curious as to what others think about having to pay in full to get a shot at a full refund.


Thanks,

Andrew

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First cruise I lost due to covid last March, I took the FCC.  Then in April, I paid in full for my July 2020 sailing, which I also lost and took FCC for.  As the pandemic progressed and the situation grew more and more uncertain, we have not paid anymore cruises in full after that July 2020 one.  I have lost 4 more since then, and one they cancelled, they other ones I either moved before final payment or I cancelled under CWC.  

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I have made 3 final payments for cruises that have been cancelled shortly after due to the pandemic. I was confident they would be cancelled when I made the final payments. I have requested refunds for each of them when Royal cancelled. (I've received everything back from the first 2. The third cancelation just happened.)

I just figure it's part of the game. I'm using the refunds to pay off the next cruises. (Next final payment is in February.)

I understand why Royal is doing it this way. They are coming up on a year with no cruises. 

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6 minutes ago, Andy B said:

I'm curious as to what others think about having to pay in full to get a shot at a full refund.

The possibility of a cruise on March 27th, 2021 getting cancelled is good. However, paying the full balance to gamble it will be isn't something I'd do knowing I'm not interested in sailing.

I made the decision to shift September before announcement and have not regretted it in the least.

Cancel and get the FCC or do a L&S. Also, if you L&S after final payment, your cancelation policy shifts with it ... IE you'll be in that 90 day or less lose some cruise fare territory. 

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35 minutes ago, Andy B said:

we can lift and shift

get a FCC

get a full refund if RC cancels on us

It looks like you have an accurate understanding of your options.  They are what they are.

Over the months we have done a combination of all of these (as it seems, many others also have).  We L&S'ed our latest casualty to avoid final payment and to price protect our booking.  Had I not been able to do that, I would have made final payment and gotten my money back when Royal officially cancelled (mid-March.  It's a dead man walking/floating).  I am least willing to go the FCC route right now.

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Our final payment was November 20 for cruises cancelled on December 2nd.

We are submitting a dispute to our credit card company for the charges based on 'cancelled services'. Although we have submitted refund requests to RCI...I can't say I have any confidence that said refunds will be processed in a reasonable time based on people's actual experience.

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2 hours ago, Andy B said:

I know we can lift and shift or get a FCC but I'd rather not keep the full amount tied up in RC. 

From what you say here, I wonder if you are aware that if you L&S before final payment on your cruise, your final payment date moves to 90 days before the new cruise, so the amount tied up would be your deposits. Apologies in advance if you do know that and I'm just misinterpreting what you said.

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One frustration I do have with FCCs is the apparent lack of consistency regarding the ability to transfer currencies.

We used to book direct with RCL in GBP before we saw the light and switched to MEI for our bookings and we had two GBP FCCs as a result of 2020 cancellations.

RCL would not allow us to use a GBP FCC on a USD booked sailing (Michelle at MEI even tried for us too) and so we have had to cash in the FCCs for refunds instead. This came as no real surprise to us as it has been discussed on these boards before; however this week a RCL customer service representative told me that had it been the other way around it would not have been an issue as there are no restrictions on using a USD FCC on a GBP booking. If this makes sense to someone it certainly doesn't to me. 🙄

To add insult to injury the additional 25% that we ultimately forfeited amounted to the equivalent of c. $1,800 (I know that in reality we never really had it but all the time we had the FCC certificates held tightly in our mitts it felt like we did!) This said though it has been more than offset by having our future bookings looked after by MEI... at the end of the day we didn't lose any real money and we have already saved more than that by taking advantage of the opportunity to re-book during price drops, with Michelle's valuable help of course. 😀

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6 hours ago, Andy B said:

we can lift and shift

get a FCC

get a full refund if RC cancels on us

Another option that I didn't understand completely is to keep the same reservation number and "reschedule" the cruise to another cruise sometime in the future.  This isn't a L&S.  I just "rescheduled" our 2021 cruise to a totally different cruise in 2022 which we liked equally well.  We didn't need a new deposit.  No FCC needed to be issued and reapplied.  It was a nonrefundable cruise which stayed nonrefundable in 2022 but it was a totally different cruise.  No change fee was incurred.

With any luck you might find a less expensive cruise.  The final payment date was pushed well into the future.  There was no price protection but the new cruise at current prices was $600 less than the old cruise!  We took a small downgrade in staterooms but we like Central Park Balcony rooms better than the Ocean View Balcony rooms anyway.  We are now on an Allure 14-day TransAtlantic in 2022 as compared to an Anthem 12-Day TransAtlantic in 2021.  

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We had made final payment on our Feb 21 5 nights on Independence, then whammo, cancelled.  Out of the options available, we are going to take the FCC and rebook for Feb 22, leapfrogging our current Sep 21 4 nights on Navigator. We had booked a JS, so we may take the 125% and put it towards a grand suite and absorb the balance.

Yes we were disappointed the Feb 21 sailing was cancelled, but there is an advantage here, and we always look for the positive.

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We have a suite booking with $500/person for an April cruise on Symphony.  The cruise was supposed to be for my parents as a surprise and now there is no way they or we will travel on that sailing due to COVID-related economic and safety factors.  

What are our options realistically?  In order to get our $2K back I think we would need to make our final payment shortly (suites are 105d out).  We don't want to throw more nickels into the well on this one.  But what even happens to our $2K if we don't make it?  Do we lose it outright?  RCCL won't talk to me about this because we booked through Costco but Costco has a multi-hour hold time so I'd rather ask the experts 🙂

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Under the Cruise with Confidence program, if you cancel, you will get your deposit in the form of a Future Cruise Credit to be used later.  You also have the option to move the cruise to one next April (same general itinerary, same length, same room category) and retain your current pricing.  This is called Lift & Shift.  There are many threads about this program here and Matt has a blog post explaining it very clearly.

The only way to get an actual refund, assuming you are booked with non-refundable deposits, is if Royal cancels the cruise.

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48 minutes ago, bretts173 said:

I have called Royal direct and they have told me they are not chasing final payments, and there is currently no need to pay. I do suggest you call in person though.

I have wondered about what would happen if a person didn't pay the total amount due on the final payment date.  I assumed you would potentially lose your deposit and forfeit your reservation for the cruise.  Then perhaps Royal could cancel the cruise and you wouldn't even get a FCC let alone a refund.

I still think the easiest thing to do is reschedule the cruise to a date in the future.   Under the cruise with confidence provisions you shouldn't have to pay any change fees.  No need for a FCC either.

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54 minutes ago, bretts173 said:

I have called Royal direct and they have told me they are not chasing final payments, and there is currently no need to pay. I do suggest you call in person though.

I think this is confusing. If RCG told you "they are not changing final payments and there is currently no need to pay," then it is clear that there is no final payment date. You can make final payment when you want. Am I missing something?

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L&S tend to be a very good option if you don't already have conflicts with the future dates.  Was waiting for FCC, but very disappointed in the wait time - so just requested the refund.   Had the FCC been processed in a timely manner would have gladly given it back on one of my future bookings.  Now waiting for refund but I'm not making any more final payments for future cruises until made whole on the canceled cruise.

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I’m in the same mindset as @twangster and will converter all canceled cruises by RCL back into a full refund until things go back to normalcy.  We have no desire to wear a mask or stay on a directed tour, as it’s not a true vacation for us. So we will pay our current cruises full balance at the 90 day mark and when canceled, request a refund.  We have not made any new booking since this virus came into play and don’t plan on making any until normalcy returns.  We’re now in the process of waiting on one full refund and will be looking at another request for a refund shortly. Good luck in your decision as what’s best for you.

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The only cruise we paid in full was March 2020, when the pandemic began and we cancelled less than a week prior to the cruise.  We have another non-refundable that we cancelled prior to final payment (Aug 2020) so we have FCC just for the deposit.  We lifted and shifted another one, and cancelled another one prior to final payment (refundable so will get refund of deposit).  We aren't going to pay off anything as time goes on and on, more and more cruises get cancelled.  As it is of now, we have 3 FCCs and 2 cruises for 2021, and I even doubt if those 2 cruises will be starting up (or border open for personal travel). Plus the fact that Royal doesn't let you bundle FCCs, makes more reason to limit them.  I guess by paying it off and cancel, you get the option of 100% refund, but we'd rather not put our money out like that.

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54 minutes ago, mworkman said:

I’m in the same mindset as @twangster and will converter all canceled cruises by RCL back into a full refund until things go back to normalcy.  We have no desire to wear a mask or stay on a directed tour, as it’s not a true vacation for us. So we will pay our current cruises full balance at the 90 day mark and when canceled, request a refund.  We have not made any new booking since this virus came into play and don’t plan on making any until normalcy returns.  We’re now in the process of waiting on one full refund and will be looking at another request for a refund shortly. Good luck in your decision as what’s best for you.

+1

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2 hours ago, bretts173 said:

I have called Royal direct and they have told me they are not chasing final payments, and there is currently no need to pay. I do suggest you call in person though.

I think you misunderstood what they said.

You absolutely need to make final payment by the final payment date or you will lose your reservation.

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Because I am lucky enough to be able to cruise often (retired)...I have a lot of cruises booked. So far thirteen cruises have been cancelled. I decided that what’s best for me is to continue paying in full and then getting the 125% FCC when the trip is subsequently cancelled. I consider it an investment. There are, of course, worse case scenarios involving the industry or me personally that can cause me to lose my investment but, in my opinion, the risk is minimal.

I also believe when cruising comes roaring back, prices may be elevated due to higher demand and the need for the company to recoup some of their losses. Maybe not in the beginning when some will be nervous about going again...but as normalcy returns. 
 

I can’t wait!!

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