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New law forces Royal Caribbean to change advertised price for cruises

13 May 2024

Expect a change in how you see Royal Caribbean prices in the future.

Wonder of the Seas

California's new consumer protection law will change how Royal Caribbean advertises its cruise fares in the United States going forward.

Beginning July 1, 2024, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises will include taxes and fees as part of the advertised price that were previously left out until the checkout process.

The California legislature passed the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) in 2023, and was signed into law by the Governor.

The change in the law is meant provide consumers with a clear price upfront, rather than leave them surprised by additional fees later on during the booking process.  By making it the same across the United States, Royal Caribbean feels it will reduce confusion, "Treating California differently than the rest of the United States could
have created confusion and introduced unnecessary complexity."

Cruise ship docked in Miami

The change is simply meant to enhance transparency. It neither impacts the total price of the cruise nor the portion of the fare that's commissionable to travel agents.

Silversea Cruises will not need to make any changes, because its prices already include all required taxes, fees, and port expenses.

Celebrity Edge

This change was sent in an email to travel agents by Royal Caribbean to inform them of the policy change that will impact both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Carnival Corporation announced a similar change in April for its brands of cruise ships that include Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Cunard North America.

For example, if Royal Caribbean's website advertises a fare today that's $646, the fees will be broken disclosed and added to the total the final stage of the booking process. In this example, the Taxes and Fees amount to $201.48. 

Taxes & fees

The idea is to not surprise consumers at checkout, especially with some port fees amounting to hundreds of dollars per person. 

The changes take place as of July 1, 2024.

What are port fees?

Ships docked in Nassau

Port fees are charges imposed by each port of call to allow the ship to dock, and these fees are passed on to passengers by the cruise line. Regardless of whether you're staying in a luxurious two-bedroom suite or a standard inside cabin, everyone onboard pays the same amount. 

Unlike gratuities, port fees are included in your total cruise fare and must be paid in full by the final payment deadline.

Typically, these fees are a combination of several charges, including the per-passenger (head tax) fee, docking fee, and pilot fee. The pilot fee covers the costs associated with the local harbor pilot who guides the cruise ship into port. The head tax helps offset the expenses of guests using local infrastructure. 

Lastly, the docking fee is what the local authorities charge the cruise line for the right to dock and for the services required.

No changes to commissions

travel agent

Royal Caribbean also added that the calculation of your commissionable earnings will not be altered.

This means there's no change to how travel agents make money either.

Royal Caribbean waiter found guilty for smuggling in drugs

19 Jan 2011

Bermuda's Supreme Court found a former Royal Caribbean waiter guilty of conspiring to import more than $424,000 worth of cocaine into the country via the ship he was working on, Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas.

Ricardo Stewart, 32, from Jamaica, denies conspiring to bring cocaine into the country.  Prosecutors allege that their plan worked until packages containing 3.9 kg of cocaine were found hidden under a chair in the ship’s disco.

Stewart has maintained he is innocent and claims he barely knew the accomplices he was alleged to have worked with.  Furthermore, he denies being involved in the drug trade.

Police find drugs on Royal Caribbean ship

11 Jan 2011

Customs and Border Patrol agents found a stash of $100,000 in drugs hidden in a cruise ship equipment locker.  Drug sniffing dogs discovered the stash on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas as it returned to Baltimore harbor this past Saturday.

The agents discovered two packages of heroin that weighed a total of one pound, eight ounces, and a 14-ounce package of cocaine on the ship.

CBP spokesman Steve Sapp said authorities don't know whom the drugs belonged to and no one has been arrested. The drugs were found in an area off-limits to passengers, he said.

Enchantment of the Seas was being targeted by Customs and Border Patrol agents because of it's history of drugs being discovered onboard the ship.  Officials are working with Royal Caribbean to find out who these drugs belonged to.

Royal Caribbean kicks man off ship for trying to enter the bridge

05 Jan 2011

Russian tourist Alex Skokov claims that he was illegally removed from a cruise in the Mediterranean under the pretext of security breaches. He intends to sue the cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises.

According to Skokov, while onboard Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas on a New Years cruise, he was accused of violating safety rules, and for that he was held for days in detention in the cabin, and then left on the shore in the Athenian harbor of Piraeus.

A Royal Caribbean statement describes the incident, "Skokov was filmed by surveillance camera at the Royal Carribean Brilliance Of The Seas at about 3.50 am 1 January 2011 at a time when he tried to go to the bridge through the door, where it was clearly written:" no entry ". Shortly before, he had twice, between 3.00 and 3.30, visited the Information Desk for the passengers and asked if he could immediately get to the bridge"

Skokov claims it was a mistake, "I knocked - I discovered", - explained the tourist, as he was there, where he was not supposed to be provided.

The Royal Caribbean document states that when Skokov was on the bridge, he was asked to leave, carried to the door and told to return to the cabin. After that Russian safety officers interrogated him twice.

"In both cases, Mr. Skokov admitted that he clearly understands the seriousness of the situation and the reasons for his removal from the vessel. Skokov violated rules of conduct for guests that he signed when boarding the cruise "

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