First Time Cruisers

How to cancel a Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
28Oct2019

While it is not something anyone wants to even think about, there may be a need to cancel a Royal Caribbean cruise. Regardless of the reason, here is what you need to know on how to cancel a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Know the cancellation policy

Before you cancel, you should be aware of the terms of cancellation you agreed to when placing that initial deposit.

Cruise Fares

There are two types of cruise fare deposits: refundable and non-refundable.  

If you booked refundable cruise fare, and are outside of final payment, you can cancel for a full refund of your deposit and any money paid.

If you booked a non-refundable cruise fare, and are outside of final payment, you will receive a Future Cruise Certificate in the amount of the cruise deposit, less a $100 per guest change fee. Such Future Cruise Certificates can be applied towards your future Royal Caribbean cruise vacation when reserved within 1 year of the issue date. Thereafter, the Future Cruise Certificate will expire and becomes invalid.

Cancellation Window

Once you pass the final payment date, cancellations that occur may incur a cancellation charge that depends on how close to sailing you decide not to cruise.

FOR 1 TO 4 NIGHT CRUISES
(including Holiday sailings)
IF CANCELLATION IS MADE
CANCELLATION CHARGE
75 days or more prior to the first day of the CruiseNo charge (except for Nonrefundable Deposit amounts)
74 to 61 days50% of total price
60 to 31 days75% of total price
30 days or less100% of total price (No refund)

 

FOR 5 NIGHTS OR LONGER CRUISES
(including Holiday sailings and Cruisetours)
IF CANCELLATION IS MADE
CANCELLATION CHARGE
90 days or more prior to the first day of the CruiseNo charge (except for Nonrefundable Deposit amounts)
89 to 75 days25% of total price
74 to 61 days50% of total price
60 to 31 days75% of total price
30 days or less100% of total price (No refund)

How to cancel a cruise

Once you determine you want to cancel your cruise, you need to contact whomever you booked your cruise with to make the change.

If you booked directly with Royal Caribbean via its website or on their site, you can call Royal Caribbean to cancel the reservation. There is no longer an option to cancel cruises via the cruise line's website.

If you booked the cruise with a travel agent, and/or any website other than Royal Caribbean's site, you must go through your travel provider to cancel the cruise.

Can I get a refund on my Royal Caribbean cruise?

You may be able to get a refund for your cruise, depending on how far in advance you cancel you cruise and the type of cruise deposit booked. It is critical you understand the terms and conditions of your cruise contract before booking a cruise to prevent any surprises if you decide to cancel later on.

Refer to the chart above for specific cancellation charges, but if you inform Royal Caribbean at least 90 days prior to your sailing date for 5-night or longer cruises (including Holiday sailings and Cruisetours), or 75 days for 1-4 night cruises (including Holiday sailings), you may qualify for a full or partial refund.

The type of cruise fare deposit on the reservation and timing of the decision to cancel will ultimately dictate how much of a refund you will receive.

Where do I get my Royal Caribbean luggage tags?

In:
25Oct2019

Before you arrive for your first Royal Caribbean cruise, you will need luggage tags so that your luggage can be delivered onboard the ship.  

Here is the important information for how to get luggage tags for your Royal Caribbean cruise.

  

As part of the pre-cruise check-in process, you will find printable luggage tags that you can affix to your luggage.  These tags tell the Royal Caribbean crew members which deck and stateroom to deliver the luggage to later in the day.

When you print out your eDocs, there is a luggage tag that is specific to the guest, ship, sailing date, stateroom and deck number.

Once you print out copies of the luggage tags, you simply fold the tags, loop them around the handle of the bag and staple the ends together.

Alternatively, if forget your luggage tags, generic bag tags are available at the pier on the day of boarding. 

Some guests opt for luggage tag holders, which can be purchased online and provide additional protection of the tag from being accidently ripped off. I recommend these luggage tag holders (disclosure: I make a small comission for someone that buys tags via this link).

How to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion

In:
21Oct2019

With your first cruise coming up, you might be wondering how to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion. After all, your cruise ship will take you to different ports of call to explore on your own and you do not want to miss out all that you can do while in the area.

In each port you visit, Royal Caribbean provides a variety of shore excursion options for guests of all activity levels, interests and ages. 

Here is what you need to know to book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion.

Why book Royal Caribbean's shore excursions

The best reason to book your shore excursion with Royal Caribbean is the convenience and reliability the cruise line provides. 

There are two primary means of booking a shore excursion: online via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner site, or onboard the ship at the shore excursion desk or via the app.

Booking a Royal Caribbean shore excursion is simple, especially for families and groups. Select the excursion you are interested in, select how many people will be participating and pay the price and that is it.  

Royal Caribbean thoroughly reviews its tour operators, whether it’s the guide on a sightseeing tour or the one that provides proper equipment and ensure the safety of gear used on active excursions like scuba diving, quad riding, and zip lining. Because guides are locally based, you’ll get an authentic experience from an expert in a safe, trusted environment.

The other major reason to book your excursion with Royal Caribbean is the cruise line guarantees you will not miss your cruise ship in the event your tour is delayed in returning.  The cruise line coordinates with trusted, local guides and private transport to build the day around the ship’s own schedule. As a result, there is no risk you will not return before the ship departs for the next destination. And if by chance your excursion gets stuck in a traffic jam, the ship will wait for you. Considering the alternative is you have to fly/drive yourself to the next port of call to catch up with the cruise, that is a big deal.

How do I book a Royal Caribbean shore excursion?

Online

The easiest way to book a shore excursion is to do so before the cruise on Royal Caribbean's website.  Simply log into Royal Caribbean's site, find your cruise booking and purchase your tour before the sailing begins.

Once in your sailing, select the Shore Excursions tab. From there, you can narrow down the results based on the port, interests, time of day, activity level, age, wheelchair accessibility and more.

You can book tours for family and friends as well. All you need to know is their last name and reservation number.  As you proceed through the booking process, there will be an option to add guests from another reservation.

Phone

If you prefer to call Royal Caribbean and already have a cruise booked, you can call 1-800-398-9819 for pre-cruise planning assistance.

Royal Caribbean allows guests to book their excursions up to a few prior to the beginning of the sailing.  All you need to know is who is participating in the excursion, and a form of payment.  Full payment is required when reserving a shore excursion.  In the event your ship skips the scheduled port call, Royal Caribbean will refund your money.  

Onboard

Alternatively, you can wait to book shore excursions onboard the ship.  There is a dedicated shore excursion desk onboard the ship (usually near Guest Services), where you can speak with staff members, view pamphlets of available options and ask questions.

Keep in mind that the excursion desk onboard the ship is commonly busy with other guests who are trying to book excursions, or asking questions, and this can lead to long lines.

Private Tours

A relatively new and lesser-known option is Private Journeys, which offers private tours that are organized by Royal Caribbean.

Private Journeys is a shore excursion option offered directly by Royal Caribbean, where guests can create a completely customized shore excursion in any port your ship visits.  You provide Private Journeys with an idea or basis of what you want to do, and then they work with local tour guides to come up with an excursion.

In the weeks and months leading up to your cruise, you and your Private Journeys representative will custom craft a tour for you and your family.  Just like a group tour, these tour operators are vetted and organized by the cruise line.  All you have to do, is show up.

We have tried Private Journeys twice (in Belize and Curacao), and think it is a great choice for anyone that wants to tour at their own pace, and like the benefits of what Royal Caribbean provides.

Can I cancel my excursions?

You may cancel purchase(s) made via Cruise Planner up to forty-eight hours prior to the cruise departure date. Excursions can be modified or canceled up to 48 hours prior to port arrival without penalty. Tours involving flights, trains, special events, overnight stays, hotel stays and Private Journeys must be canceled 30 days prior to sailing to avoid cancellation penalties. Other restrictions may apply.

 In the event a tour is canceled, a full refund will be provided to the guest’s onboard account.

No refunds are made for failure to use all of the described services included in the excursion price.  

The most important advice I give my family after they book a cruise

In:
30Sep2019

There is a lot of advice doled out across this blog, and each anecdote, recommendation or tip is aimed at improving the cruise experience.  So when an uncle, cousin or parent asks me for advice on what they should do for an awesome Royal Caribbean cruise, here is what I tell them.

Fly into your cruise embarkation port at least one day early

When it comes to travel, there are always going to be certain factors involved in the trip that you have no control over: weather, canceled flights, flat tires, et al. With that in mind, do not let a travel delay put your cruise vacation in jeopardy. The last thing you want to do is plan to fly into the departure city of your cruise the same day your cruise leaves.

By planning to arrive to your departure port at least one day early, you assure yourself that a travel delay will not impact your ability to get on your cruise. Having an extra day or two provides a buffer to account for travel delays.  You really do not want to be that person in the airport losing their mind because the latest delay means the entire vacation is in jeopardy.

As an added bonus, by arriving to your embarkation port at least a day early, that means you get to start your vacation sooner!  And in many cases, the port you are departing from has its own cultural and historical attractions that you can explore.

Do online check-in before the cruise

Another tip aimed at saving you time is to complete your online check-in before the cruise.  

Royal Caribbean's Online Check-In is a pretty simple tool to save you time at the pier and greatly simplify the entire check in process. 

You simply need to go to the Royal Caribbean web site to check in and complete the steps.  If your ship utilizes the new Royal Caribbean app, do the check-in via the app to make check-in even easier. 

At the end, you will have access to print out your SetSail Pass (your cruise boarding pass), as well as luggage tags. 

Arrive to the cruise terminal early

If you subscribe to the theory that time is money, then you definitely want to arrive to your embarkation port early.  By arriving early, you will beat the big crowds that descend upon the cruise terminal later in the day, and you also get the added benefit of having some extra time onboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean may send you an email about boarding times, but those are suggestions and not enforced at all. If you followed our earlier advice about arriving to your port city early, then likely your hotel will have a check-out time in the early part of the morning, which is the perfect excuse to head to the cruise port.

If you are wondering what time constitutes, "early", we are talking about sometime between 10am and 11:30am. The earlier you arrive on embarkation day, the earlier you will board the ship. And the price you paid for the cruise is the same whether you get onboard at 11am or 2pm, so may as well get the most time possible.

Pre-book your entertainment

If you are sailing on an Oasis or Quantum Class ship, you can pre-book select shows before the cruise via the Cruise Planner website.

The best reason to book certain activities or entertainment in advance is to guarantee a spot for you and your family. It costs nothing extra to reserve entertainment ahead of time. By having a reservation, you will be assured of a seat for that performance, provided you arrive on-time.

By booking these activities early, you can ensure you have the time and day that you want all lined up.

There is no set timeframe when entertainment becomes available for booking on Oasis or Quantum Class ships. It is usually closer your sail date, so check the Cruise Planner periodically for if the option appears.

If you are sailing on another class of ships, there is no option to pre-book entertainment. Instead, show up to the theater 10-20 minutes before show time to get a seat.

Make dining reservations once onboard the ship

These days, Royal Caribbean's dining packages are an incredibly popular option because it allows guests to enjoy a number of specialty restaurants for a reduced rate.  If you purchase a dining package, then you probably know you cannot make reservations for restaurants prior to the cruise.

If you purchase a dining package, be sure to make reservations once you get onboard and do so on the first day of the cruise.  In general, you will find plenty of availability, but do not languish in making a reservation to avoid missing out on the most popular times.

Here is what to know about Perfect Day at CocoCay

I suppose Royal Caribbean's marketing strategy is working well, when one of the questions my uncle asked me recently about his cruise was what to do at Perfect Day at CocoCay

Royal Caribbean's revamped and impressive private island in the Bahamas is catching a lot of attention and how to tackle your day there is a good first-timer question.

There are three primary areas of Perfect Day at CocoCay:

  • Beach (Chill Island/South Beach)
  • Pool (Oasis Lagoon/Splashaway Bay)
  • Water Park (Thrill Waterpark)

It is quite easy to move between any of these areas, but I feel most families will gravitate towards one or the other.  The key is to plan ahead which you want to do first and then go from there.

The decision to purchase water park admission is also something to consider prior to the cruise. Not only will you save money if you purchase admission prior to the cruise, deciding on going to the water park or not before you arrive on the island will ensure you waste less time.

Beyond that, there is plenty more Perfect Day at CocoCay tips and secrets, but at its heart, your visit there is about enjoying time in and out of the water.

Video: How much does it cost to go on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

In:
05Sep2019

Are you curious how much a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation will cost? In this RoyalCaribbeanBlog video, we share how much it actually costs to go on a cruise.

There are quite a few considerations when it comes to calculating the total cost of a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation, from cruise fare to gratuities to drinks to shore excursions and more. Our video will help break down the major costs of a Royal Caribbean cruise so you can budget for it properly!

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single episode!

Video: How to get ready for your first Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
27Aug2019

If you booked your first Royal Caribbean cruise, you probably want to know what important steps you should take to get ready for an amazing vacation.  We have a brand new video sharing the absolute most important things you should be doing in the weeks and months leading up to your cruise.

Getting ready for your first Royal Caribbean cruise means planning, preparing and packing.  This new video explains a few of the most critical tasks to complete before you get to your cruise ship.

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

Check out the video and then let us know: What is the most important things to do in order to get ready for a cruise?

Video: 5 myths people use to avoid trying Royal Caribbean

In:
22Aug2019

There are plenty of people who have never gone on a Royal Caribbean cruise, but unfortunately many do so based on completely untrue myths.

If you have not taken a Royal Caribbean cruise for one of the five reasons outlined in this video, you need to cut it out and give one a try.  Here are five commonly cited reasons people avoid taking a cruise, and why these myths are just plain wrong.

Did you love this video? We have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: Have you heard (or debunked) any cruise myths when helping friends or family plan their trips? 

What's the earliest time I can get off my cruise ship when it's over?

In:
12Aug2019

No one likes to think about when your cruise vacation will come to an end, but inevitably planning for that last morning is a necessity to ensure you can get to work, school or flight on time.

The docking time listed is not the time you get off the ship

A very common misconception among first time cruisers is looking at the scheduled time a ship returns to port and assuming that is the first opportunity to disembark their Royal Caribbean ship.

Often, Royal Caribbean ships return to port in the early morning, around 6:00am or so.  Just because the ship returns at this time, does not mean it is ready to let passengers off the ship.  A couple steps need to be completed first:

  • The ship must dock at the pier and be tied up properly.
  • Local officials must inspect and clear the ship

There is no set time how long each of those steps can take, and that is why answering the question of what time someone can disembark the ship is so difficult. Moreover, the inspection by local officials is completely out of Royal Caribbean's hands.

Disembarkation process

There are two main groups who can disembark from a cruise once it is over: guests carrying their own luggage and guests picking up their luggage.

Carrying own luggage

The first group who may disembark the ship once the ship is cleared by local officials is guests who carry their own luggage off the ship (sometimes referred to as Express Departure). This means anyone that elects to not rely on Royal Caribbean to deliver their luggage to the cruise terminal and is capable of carrying their own luggage may disembark the ship. Guests who elect to carry their own luggage off the ship will be required to take their luggage from their stateroom, and take it all the way off the ship and through customs.

Most often, the Express Departure option is preferred by guests who want to depart as early as possible due to travel plans, work requirements, or other needs.  However, if you opt to carry your own luggage off the ship, you may depart at any time.  On disembarkation day, an announcement will be made once the gangway is opened and cleared by local authorities, and at that time, guests carrying their own luggage may depart the ship.

As stated earlier, the exact time of when self-assist begins will depend on certain factors, but usually it will commence around 7:00 or 7:30am. Keep in mind these times are generalizations and it will vary.

Luggage Pickup

To make things easier and simpler for guests, Royal Caribbean offers to deliver guest luggage to the terminal for pickup.  This is a very popular option, and most guests elect for this option.

Royal Caribbean gives every cruiser luggage tags with a number at the end of the cruise in sequential order.  The number corresponds to what time your luggage will be ready for you to  get off the ship.  

Do not worry if your number seems high because you can always go to Guest Relations and get a lower number if you need to be one of the first off the ship.

If you elect to have Royal Caribbean take your luggage, you need to have your luggage packed and in the hallway outside of your stateroom by a certain time (usually 11:00pm).

The advantage of picking your luggage up in the terminal building is it makes the disembarkation process simpler.  Guests can enjoy breakfast on the last morning and wait comfortably in a lounge or restaurant until their luggage tag number is called.

Just like guests carrying their own luggage off the ship, the exact time luggage pickup begins will vary, but it usually begins 30-60 minutes after guests carrying their own luggage are able to start walking off the ship.  Keep in mind that it takes time for Royal Caribbean to deliver all the luggage from the ship to the cruise terminal.

Video: Worst Royal Caribbean advice you will get

In:
30Jul2019

Our newest RoyalCaribbeanBlog video is sharing some of the worst advice you will get!

Planning a Royal Caribbean vacation can feel overwhelming at times, so it is only natural to seek advice throughout the process. But the truth of the matter is that there are two sides to just about every piece of advice. And what may be the absolute best decision for one group may not be the best for another. So we’re sharing our thoughts on some common bits of advice that get passed around regarding Royal Caribbean and when the advice might (or might not) work for your group in our latest YouTube Video!

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your favorite piece of Royal Caribbean advice?

Video: 5 Royal Caribbean tips you will be surprised you need to know

In:
26Jul2019

Check out this RoyalCaribbeanBlog video, featuring five things first-time cruisers might be surprised to know that they need to know these things.

When planning for a cruise vacation, there are certain things that we think first timers may not be aware are a thing, and definitely need to know before they step onboard.  This video will help you be fully prepared for your cruise vacation with five very important planning tips!

And if you love this video, we have lots of other great cruise videos to watch on our Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel!

By the way, have you subscribed yet? Be sure to subscribe to our channel and never miss a single video!

So check out the video and then let us know: What is your best need-to-know tip when it comes to going on a cruise?

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