As a reminder starting in the middle of next week, Royal Caribbean will no longer give passengers up to $100 in onboard credit when they book a cruise using a non-refundable deposit. This change will go into effect on November 1, 2018.
If you already have a Royal Caribbean cruise booked under the non-refundable deposit program, you will not be impacted by this change unless you make a change to an existing reservation. The amendments that lead to a reprice include, but aren’t limited to, amending the ship, sailing, or category of an existing reservation, as well as converting to a different fare or promotional offer. Should a reprice occur on-or after November 1st, 2018, the onboard credit will no longer apply.
Royal Caribbean first starting offer non-refundable deposits in the summer of 2017. These new cruise fares offered up to $100 in onboard credit depending on the length of the cruise and type of cruise cabin. Non-refundable fares are available on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships.
Even though the onboard credit is being removed, non-refundable deposits will continue to offer the lowest cruise fares during various promotions from Royal Caribbean.
Why did the cruise line decide to stop offering onboard credit with non-refundable cruise fares? They said that the change was made because the onboard credit was not influencing potential cruisers to book a cruise.
Non-refundable deposits are required when booking an upper suite. Royal Caribbean said that in effort to preserve their valued Suite inventory and to ensure availability for their committed guests, a non-refundable deposit will become the only option for those guests interested in reserving an upper Suite. This also holds true for guarantee categories, including W/WS, X/XB, XN, Y/YO, and Z/ZI, where lower lead fares are typically the best deal.
Non-refundable deposits also come with a change fee. Royal Caribbean stated that in order to deter continual or late ship/sail date adjustments, a change fee of $100 per guest will be imposed to all reservations booked under a nonrefundable deposit fare that opts to change either the ship and/or sail date originally selected.