Royal Caribbean’s new “Cruise With Confidence” policy was recently rolled as a response to the current health crisis that’s hit the globe — and the cruise industry — hard.
Put simply, the policy gives passengers much more flexibility with their sailing should they be worried about getting sick, or just what their budgets or employment prospects might look like in the future.
Instead of the normal cancellation fees that can add up to 100% of what you paid for your cruise, certain trips are eligible to earn a “Future Cruise Credit”.
This gives you all of what you’ve paid back as a credit to use on a future cruise. Best of all, passengers on select sailings can cancel up to 48 hours before their cruise sails with no penalty.
If that sounds like a good deal, it’s because it is. The move is unprecedented in the cruise industry, and is designed to give passengers some peace of mind to go ahead and book that trip.
That said, there is some fine print you should know about so that you understand exactly what you’re getting when you book this deal. We looked into the policy to cover what you need to know below…
In This Article...
What is Cruise With Confidence?
This new policy is a special deal put in place by Royal Caribbean that allows you to book any cruise that sails from now through September 1, 2020 and have the ability to cancel up to 48 hours before your cruise sails.
Instead of the typical cancellation fee, passengers on a cruise covered by this policy get a full refund of what they’ve paid in the form of a “Future Cruise Credit.” This credit can be applied to any other Royal Caribbean cruise departing through 2021.
So say you book a cruise for July 2020, and pay $2,000. If you decide you don’t want to go, you can cancel any time up to a couple of days before sailing and get $2,000 in credit to spend on another cruise.
Note: The 48-hour deadline isn’t exact based on the time you’re sailing. Instead you need to call by midnight two nights before. So if you sail on Monday, you need to call by midnight Friday according to the cruise line.
For that reason, we suggest calling 3-4 days ahead of time to cancel if you decide to take advantage.
How Is Cruise With Confidence Different Than Before?
Before (and with cruises that depart after September 1, 2020) regular cancellation fees applied. Depending on how long you canceled before your trip, that could mean losing your deposit, all the way up to 100% of your cruise fare.
Here is the regular cancellation policy:
Cruise With Confidence is much more lenient on cancellation, giving you all your money back as a credit if your trip is cancelled under this policy.
What Exactly Is a Future Cruise Credit?
The FCC is simply a credit of what you’ve paid that can be used to purchase a future cruise. So if you decide to cancel your $2,000 cruise, you’ll get a credit of $2,000 that can be used for another trip that sails through the end of 2021.
One thing to note is that your Future Cruise Credit only applies to the actual cruise. You can’t spend it onboard the ship on things like drink packages or excursions.
Can I Get a Cash Refund Instead?
Under the current policy terms, only a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) is given. According to the cruise line’s website “the FCC is non-transferable and may not be redeemed for cash.”
That means you won’t get your refund in cash should you decide to cancel.
That said, if Royal Caribbean cancels your sailing (they have already extended their current suspension of sailing once), then they likely will offer a 125% cruise credit or a 100% cash refund. This is what the cruise line has done in the past.
Do I Have to Do Anything to Enroll My Trip in the Program?
There are no special steps to take — or extra costs — to have your trip be covered by the program. If you book a qualifying cruise, then you are covered by the Cruise With Confidence deal automatically.
What if the New Cruise Isn’t the Same Price as My Old Cruise?
It’s unlikely that your rebooked trip will be the same exact price of your current trip. If that’s the case, what happens with the credit?
If your new cruise is more than your cruise credit that you receive, then you’ll be responsible for the difference. So if you cancelled and received a $2,000 future cruise credit, and then booked a later cruise for $2,500, you’ll be responsible for the extra $500.
If your rebooked cruise is less than the cruise credit, then you’ll get another credit for the remaining balance.
Does My Cancellation Have to Be Due to Coronavirus?
While the Cruise With Confidence policy was put in place as a response to worry surrounding the outbreak, it doesn’t mean that you have to be personally impacted by the illness to cancel your trip.
In fact, there is no specific mention of any qualified reasons for cancelling. Whether you are worried about getting sick, or something else comes up that means you can’t go, bookings under the Cruise With Confidence policy allow you to cancel and get a credit for what you’ve paid.
What Cruises Does This Policy Apply to?
The Cruise With Confidence deal applies to any Royal Caribbean cruise worldwide that sails from now through September 1, 2020. This includes trips that are already booked or new bookings.
As the Royal Caribbean website says:
“We get it. Whether you’re already booked on a cruise, or are thinking about it, we want you to Cruise with Confidence. That’s why Royal Caribbean will let you cancel any cruise that sets sail from now through September 1, 2020. Whether it’s a booking you already have or one you make right now, you’re covered. As long as you cancel at least 48 hours before you set sail, you’ll receive a Future Cruise Credit. The credit can be used toward any cruise that sets sail through December 31, 2021.”
How Do I Cancel My Cruise and Get a Credit?
Bookings Through a Travel Agent: If you booked through a travel agent, you’ll want to go through them for the cancellation. Simply give them a call and let them know you’d like to take advantage.
Bookings Through Royal Caribbean: If you booked on the Royal Caribbean website or with an agent of Royal Caribbean, you can call the cruise line directly. The company does note that call volumes might be high. In that case, it’s a good idea to call early instead of waiting until right before the 48-hour window.
You can call the cruise line at 1-800-256-6649.
Is the Policy a Good Deal?
Absolutely yes. Under regular rules, you have to cancel at least 75 days before the cruise (or 90 days before in the case of longer cruises) to get your money back. Trips cancelled within 30 days of sailing get no refund.
Cruise With Confidence makes that policy much more friendly. It will give you a full refund (in the form of cruise credit) for applicable cruises and allows you to cancel just 48 hours before your sailing date.
Keep in mind it only applies to cruises sailing September 1, 2020 or earlier. But if you are planning a cruise during this time period, then it’s a fantastic offer that should give you some peace of mind in booking your trip.
Have more questions about the policy? Let us know in the comments below.