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Royal Caribbean - POOR COVID cancellation policy

Royal Caribbean - POOR COVID cancellation policy

Old Apr 28th, 2020, 10:08 AM
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Royal Caribbean - POOR COVID cancellation policy

NIGHTMARE EXPERIENCE WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN CUSTOMER SERIVICE – VERY POOR TREATMENT OF CLIENTS IN THE WAKE OF COVID19.

My family had planned for the 7 day cruise since May/June 2019. It would have been our 5th cruise and 3rd with the Royal Caribbean Family. As the Corona Virus news progressively got worse as our cruise dates approached I expressed my concerns to our travel agent (who has been great). He said he will keep an eye on it. The other family that was cruising with us, said we should wait until the last second to cancel as we would get a full refund not a credit. I agreed at the time. However when my friend (travel agent) said please don’t wait until the 11th hour as it could cause problems, our family and the family we were cruising with decided to help him out and cancel a bit early as we knew the volumes he, other agents, and you, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, would face if left to the last minute. In the end we got a credit until Dec 2021. Sounded ok at the time.

A few days later I receive an email from Royal Caribbean saying we can get a 125% credit or a full cash refund (clearly sent to me by mistake). At the time I thought “Great, they are taking good care of us and hopefully we’ll be cruising in the coming months if this all clears up.”

Then I was notified, NO, that option was not for me, that was for the people that cancelled a few days later. What a let down. After hours on the phone and RC customer service telling me tough luck, Head Office has said you’re hooped basically… I gave up. But the longer I realize I have $7,000 of my money sitting with Royal Caribbean at a time I need cash the most (due to the virus / unemployment situation) the more frustrated I got.
  1. Wondering why a big brand wouldn’t BUILD brand loyalty in this time of crisis and ensure I come back over and over again in the future by doing the right thing and refunding the money in a time of need.
  2. Wondering if things will be safe next year for me to use the credit (and if my family will feel comfortable doing it if there is another flare up etc - unknown)
  3. Wondering if Royal Caribbean will extend that timeline or I’ll just be out of pocket $7,000 come end of 2021.
These are all things I don’t want to have to worry about for the next 20 months….. and only continues to reinforce my frustration with Royal Caribbean. I am a very fair person. If I’m treated well I give loyalty to those brands – ie I would return to RC and continue to cruise with them into the future. However right now I feel totally burned, and when I feel burned I look to ensure no one else gets burned by that company. So cruisers beware. Royal Caribbean has clearly proven they are not looking to do the right thing especially during a major pandemic. In addition they will undoubtedly be bailed out by the government (tax payers dollars).

Currently I’m very frustrated as the cruise we were scheduled on NEVER sailed… just because we were organized, made the correct smart decision to not board (as the governments confirmed by cancelling all sailings) we should NOT be penalized. The passengers on board should all be treated fairly and equally, all with the option of getting their money back (not a credit).

Royal Caribbean owns Celebrity Cruises and Azmara. I would highly recommend sticking with other brands as they have clearly proven the customer is not their priority. Shocking in this time of COVID19 that they think it is OK to keep such a large sum of money when the cruise never sailed.

Frustrated passenger. Oceania will be my next booking. No more Royal Caribbean brands for this family.

NIGHTMARE EXPERIENCE WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN CUSTOMER SERIVICE – VERY POOR TREATMENT OF CLIENTS IN THE WAKE OF COVID19.

My family had planned for the 7 day cruise since May/June 2019. It would have been our 5th cruise and 3rd with the Royal Caribbean Family. As the Corona Virus news progressively got worse as our cruise dates approached I expressed my concerns to our travel agent (who has been great). He said he will keep an eye on it. The other family that was cruising with us, said we should wait until the last second to cancel as we would get a full refund not a credit. I agreed at the time. However when my friend (travel agent) said please don’t wait until the 11th hour as it could cause problems, our family and the family we were cruising with decided to help him out and cancel a bit early as we knew the volumes he, other agents, and you, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, would face if left to the last minute. In the end we got a credit until Dec 2021. Sounded ok at the time.

A few days later I receive an email from Royal Caribbean saying we can get a 125% credit or a full cash refund (clearly sent to me by mistake). At the time I thought “Great, they are taking good care of us and hopefully we’ll be cruising in the coming months if this all clears up.”

Then I was notified, NO, that option was not for me, that was for the people that cancelled a few days later. What a let down. After hours on the phone and RC customer service telling me tough luck, Head Office has said you’re hooped basically… I gave up. But the longer I realize I have $7,000 of my money sitting with Royal Caribbean at a time I need cash the most (due to the virus / unemployment situation) the more frustrated I got.
  1. Wondering why a big brand wouldn’t BUILD brand loyalty in this time of crisis and ensure I come back over and over again in the future by doing the right thing and refunding the money in a time of need.
  2. Wondering if things will be safe next year for me to use the credit (and if my family will feel comfortable doing it if there is another flare up etc - unknown)
  3. Wondering if Royal Caribbean will extend that timeline or I’ll just be out of pocket $7,000 come end of 2021.
These are all things I don’t want to have to worry about for the next 20 months….. and only continues to reinforce my frustration with Royal Caribbean. I am a very fair person. If I’m treated well I give loyalty to those brands – ie I would return to RC and continue to cruise with them into the future. However right now I feel totally burned, and when I feel burned I look to ensure no one else gets burned by that company. So cruisers beware. Royal Caribbean has clearly proven they are not looking to do the right thing especially during a major pandemic. In addition they will undoubtedly be bailed out by the government (tax payers dollars).

Currently I’m very frustrated as the cruise we were scheduled on NEVER sailed… just because we were organized, made the correct smart decision to not board (as the governments confirmed by cancelling all sailings) we should NOT be penalized. The passengers on board should all be treated fairly and equally, all with the option of getting their money back (not a credit).

Royal Caribbean owns Celebrity Cruises and Azmara. I would highly recommend sticking with other brands as they have clearly proven the customer is not their priority. Shocking in this time of COVID19 that they think it is OK to keep such a large sum of money when the cruise never sailed.

Frustrated passenger. Oceania will be my next booking. No more Royal Caribbean brands for this family.
DBC123 is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2020, 11:19 AM
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Have you complained to your 'friend travel agent" who gave you the bad advice

"However when my friend (travel agent) said please don’t wait until the 11th hour as it could cause problems, our family and the family we were cruising with decided to help him out and cancel a bit early as we knew the volumes he, other agents, and you, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, would face if left to the last minute. In the end we got a credit until Dec 2021."

mlgb is offline  
Old Apr 28th, 2020, 05:41 PM
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Your travel agent friend gave you terrible advice! He was absolutely wrong and had to know what the policies were. It was for his convenience, not yours. This way, he keeps the sale as well!

All the companies were scrambling, trying and waiting to make decisions, not knowing for sure how things were going to go. We had planned a cruise and decided to wait to book to see how things were. I was following the decisions day by day. Most of the companies were waiting until it was absolutely clear what they would do. Obviously, they would not cancel until they had to.

In every case that I know of, with every company, here is what they said. If you feel uncomfortable, but the cruise is not yet cancelled, they would give a partial refund or credit. If it reached a point where they (the cruise line) cancelled, then you got full refund or more credit.

You had one other option. Trip insurance if you had cancel for any reason, you would have been covered. Since you opted for the credit, you did not lose anything, so insurance would not pay.

I know this must be truly upsetting. I am sorry you are in this situation, but you are angry with the wrong agency. Royal Caribbean did everything correctly and truth is, since you cancelled, they did not have to give anything, since at the time you cancelled, the cruise was still on. They were decent about it because they knew all the issues, but it was your “travel agent Friend” who caused this problem for you.

Look at it this way.
You buy a non-refundable plane ticket. A week or so before the flight, weather forecast looks unpleasant, so YOU cancel the ticket and the airline generously gives you credit good for a year and a half. The day of the flight, weather actually is terrible, airport closes so airline has to cancel the flight altogether and refund everyone’s ticket. I hope you see the difference. You made the choice. Others waited for the company to make the call.

Your agent “friend” did not do you any favors.

Now, Think of it as a wonderful vacation already paid for. Pick one now while there are still plenty of options and give yourself something to look forward to. You have not lost any money, just the use of it for now, and once this is past, you can enjoy it. I hope your friends who were traveling with you understand and will also enjoy it.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Apr 28th, 2020 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Need to add a line.
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Old Apr 29th, 2020, 06:57 AM
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Well, what was the sail date to be? The cancellation policies of your trip are stated on your invoice. We were to have sailed on Azamara on Sept 2, but they offered same policy for postponement to 2021 as a RC company, but covered sailings from May to Sept. 1. We decided to pay the (small) penalty of $150 for both of our fares and get all the rest of our deposit back. This refund came last week, taking about 3 weeks to process. There is simply no way a cruiseline can provide assurances they will be able to dock in certain countries (we had four, including Spain & France!). They can provide assurances as to safeguards they plan to take onboard, but as to these foreign ports, forget it! Simply unpredictable scenario, and unknown to all. Why have cruiseline keep all that money? We will not consider cruising until 2022, this virus is unknown to ALL as to liklihood of resurfacing (very high), future restrictions that may be imposed on air travel, cruise travel, etc. Had you paid for air too? Trip insurance is not likely to cover as to Pandemic as many have. Sorry about your experience!
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 05:07 AM
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Royal Caribbean is not the only cruise line with this policy. Look at the cancellation policy on your initial invoice. It spells things out clearly. If you would have waited for the cruise line to cancel the cruise you would have been entitled to a refund. Since YOU chose to cancel before the cruise line did, you don't qualify for the refund. ALL cruise lines seem to be doing this. We cancelled a cruise with Oceania and they have that same policy.
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