As of September 29, 2020 Royal Caribbean Group (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara) has extended their Cruise with Confidence policy due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the Covid pandemic. Extending the policy probably has nothing to do with whether or not the CDC extends the no sail order past September 30, 2020 but takes into account the uncertainty of what policies other countries will have, those who require a vaccine before sailing, and countless other variables while giving people the confidence to book now in order to get the best promotions and prices.
When you book your Royal Caribbean Group brands (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Azamara) cruise before November 30, 2020 for sailings through April 30, 2022 the Cruise with Confidence policy guarantees you can cancel your cruise up to 48 hours prior to sailing and receive 100% future cruise credit toward your next cruise.
The Cruise with Confidence policy also gives you the option to “lift and shift” your currently booked cruise to a similar date and itinerary next year while protecting your current price and promotions.
Since this information can be confusing, and it’s difficult to know who has your best interests in mind, call me at 844-483-6669 for unbiased information, advice and assistance.
Royal Caribbean has been in the news a lot lately and in the midst of a pandemic, all publicity is not good publicity. All publicity is not always entirely accurate, either. The recent headlines have included mis-treatment of crew members, financial desperation calling into question the future of the company, and layoffs without mention of the positive steps they’ve taken with “Cruise With Confidence” and “Lift and Shift” policies. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International along with other members of the leadership team addressed these issues during a May 13th call exclusively for travel agents.
While some cruise lines are putting sail dates on the calendar, Royal Caribbean is taking a wait and see approach, expecting a slow roll-out of ships and itineraries once it becomes safe to travel. In the meantime people are taking advantage of the flexible policies to not only re-book sailings that were canceled, but make new reservations. Under the Cruise With Confidence policy, you may cancel up to 48 hours before your sail date and get a future cruise credit good for 12 months or more. Combine that policy with “Lift and Shift” and Royal will apply the same promotions and discounts to similar cruises next year (within four weeks of the original date). You should also know that in the event Royal Caribbean cancels sailings, they have made very generous offers for future cruise credit (what would you do with 125% credit? Helloooo stateroom upgrade!) or full refunds.
What everyone wants to know is when cruises will be able to sail again. Interestingly, consumer research has indicated an increase in the number of people getting excited about going on a cruise. Unfortunately, nobody has a crystal ball so any guess about when that might be possible is simply a guess. There are numerous variables including safety, ports being open, and government policies regarding travel. Leadership at Royal Caribbean may not know exactly when cruising will be an option but what they do know is that not all sailings will be available at once. They expect itineraries including their private destinations (such as Perfect Day at Coco Cay) to return first.
When sailing does resume, safety and guest experience will be the top priority. What the safety protocols will be is still being determined, but a safe bet is to expect limited capacity and adjustments to the dining options to make social distancing a priority. It’s also a safe bet to assume the on-boarding process and health screening will be different. Certainly, one of the priorities in any plan to resume is going to include making sure going on a cruise is still a positive, exciting experience. Nobody does adventure and excitement on board better than Royal Caribbean.
This week (5/11-17) a lot has been said in the media about the mistreatment of crew including sub-standard conditions and an unwillingness on the part of cruise lines to get crew members to their home countries. Michael Bayley addressed this issue by explaining that Royal Caribbean is actively trying to get crew members back home but is dealing with other countries restricting access. In the meantime, Royal Caribbean is providing as much entertainment and support as possible to keep morale up and everyone safe and healthy while making every effort to get crew members off the ships in their home countries.