Royal Caribbean’s Compensation Package for Storm-Shortened Cruise

August 27, 2012 | By | 60 Comments

With Tropical Storm Isaac barreling by Florida’s popular homeports, a number of ships have been forced to wait offshore until the massive system and its entrails blow through. This has delayed debarkations by several hours, a day or, in the case of the world’s largest cruise ship, two full days.
Allure of the Seas‘ current sailing, which departed Fort Lauderdale on August 19, has changed from the usual weeklong trip to an extremely rare nine-night voyage now scheduled to conclude on Tuesday morning.
Naturally, Allure’s next cruise is now an equally rare five-nighter. And despite the line being sheltered in legalese — across the industry, passenger contracts dictate that passengers are owed nothing in such a situation — Royal Caribbean has offered the following compensation package:

  • Those staying in inside, oceanview or balcony accommodations will receive $650 per cabin in onboard credit. The OBC totals are higher for passengers in suites, and vary by suite category. Any unused onboard credit will be refunded to the credit card provided at check-in.
  • Passengers will also receive a 10 percent future cruise credit based on the fare paid.
  • If a passenger needed a hotel room for Sunday and/or Monday night, the line arranged for a complimentary hotel room for them until Tuesday morning.
  • The line says it also provided a $100 per diem to cover meals and any other incidental costs passengers may incur until they board the ship Tuesday.
  • The line also covered the airline change fees — up to $150 for domestic flights and $250 for international flights — for passengers who were flying in to board Allure on Sunday. This was for all passengers, not just those that purchased air through Royal Caribbean.
  • Now it’s your turn: Do you think the compensation was fair?
    Check out how lines responded during last year’s big storm, Irene.
    When a hurricane threatens to disrupt your cruise, there’s one place to go for updates: Cruise Critic’s Hurricane Zone.
    Don’t expect a cruise line to save your vacation from a hurricane. Here’s what you need to know about travel insurance.
    So what’s hurricane season cruising all about? Check out our guide.
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      60 Responses to “Royal Caribbean’s Compensation Package for Storm-Shortened Cruise”

      1. Jeff
        August 27th, 2012 @ 6:57 pm

        in times when nothing given is the norm, this compensation package is nice to hear. It may not cover all costs but something is better than nothing.

      2. Marc
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

        Seems rather generous to me Airline change fees, hotel rooms whether booked through the cruise line or not, per diem (I’d think the future cruise credit would be SOP) – especially since any unused OBC will be refunded to your cc and not just poof!

      3. Linda Rodgers
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

        I think RCI went above and beyond for the compensation. They were REALLY considerate and fair! Wow all this and the people aren’t even back yet!

      4. Barb Harris
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

        Sounds more than fair to me but there will be many moaners and complainers for sure. I would LOVE to have a $650 OBC on my next cruise especially since they will refund the unused portion of the OBC.

      5. Linda Rodgers
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

        Thankl you RCI

      6. Linda G. Marsh
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

        Unfortunate and disappointing as it is when a storm causes changes in our vacations, I don’t understand WHY people think that a resort OR cruise ship needs to compensate you! Next people who were ON the ship and were not back in port after 7 days will want to be compensated for ‘holding them up’ from work, school, etc. To answer the question asked – YES, I think it is more than fair that RCL offered everything that it did! I love RCL – my line of choice – hats off to them for being so gracious & generous.

      7. Christi Borden
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

        I think it is admirable that they are making this offer. The contract clearly absolves the company from compensating passengers for acts of God or Mother Nature. This IS in the heart of hurricane season and every cruiser takes the risk that they might experience cruise interruptions, delays or outright cancellation. I always buy insurance for this matter and compliment the company for a king this effort.

      8. bg
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

        its always disappointing to have your cruise cut short (we have had that happen because of hurricanes), but the compensation seems fair to me!

      9. Teresa
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

        Better then what Carnival is giving, comp one day, put them at a Hilton at everyone’s own expense, yikes another reason not to sail Carnival

      10. Renee Bouchard
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

        Most of what you have written above is correct however Royal Caribean had told me on Saturday evening they would arrange a hotel for me and call me the next morning to provide me the location however I received no call the next morning and when I called the emergency hotline I was advised I needed to make arrangements for myself as they were overwhelmed and couldn’t do it for everyone. I am a mother traveling alone with my two sons and did not need this stress. I was also told they would reimburse me up to $125 a night for the hotel and I had to pay more than this however on checking in found out they had booked other passengers at this hotel and paid for them!

      11. Susan
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

        I’m sorry but if you are stupid enough to book a cruise in hurricane season you can’t complain when one hits!
        I think the compensation is more than fair.

      12. Jan Olson
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

        I am flabbergasted how much RCCL is doing. And they don’t have to. I am so impressed and this has just solidified my cruise line. Unmatched I’m sure.

      13. Rob
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

        They did the right thing, I hope this sets an example for the others who (including RCL) have done nad in the past in these situations. RCL in Puerto Rico for instance.

      14. chris
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

        I think that’s an outstanding compensation package.

      15. Brendan Maroney
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

        RCCL always does it right! The best cruise line-shows that they are the best indeed. bravo!

      16. prepre
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

        wow, now that’s how it should be done

      17. Brie
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

        I think what they gave them was more than fair. Especially if they aren’t obligated to give anything. You book a cruise in hurricane months because they tend to be cheaper it is a risk you take.

      18. Amanda M.
        August 27th, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

        I definitely think its fair. I wish I was on this cruise to take advantage of the compensation package.

      19. ERIC
        August 27th, 2012 @ 8:02 pm


      20. Andrea Goldstein
        August 27th, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

        Yes I think that is fair considering the fact they didn’t have to do anything at all.

      21. Janet Spracklen
        August 27th, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

        I think their compensation plan is more than fair. The Cruise Line is not responsible for the delay yet they stepped up to make it pleasant for the passengers.

      22. Carolyn Arkell Terlouw
        August 27th, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

        More than fair.Well done Royal Caribbean.

      23. Mj
        August 27th, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

        Seems quite generous. What’s not being compensated, other than that the passengers may miss one or two ports. Having sailed often in hurricane season, I’m quite familiar with the trials and tribulations. But it’s cheaper!!!!

      24. Sharon Doyle
        August 27th, 2012 @ 9:14 pm

        I may think differently if it was me being impacted but I think the compensation package is fair.

      25. Avon Lady
        August 27th, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

        Yes, I think that is very generous which will make for repeat business from these guests.

      26. Mary Smith
        August 27th, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

        Far more than fair considering legally they do not have to do anything! I was surprised that unused OBC would be refunded to the passenger’s credit card plus RCCL will give lodging, per diems, and airline change fees.

        The only downside is not being able to enjoy the fabulous Allure for the full seven nights.

      27. MJ
        August 27th, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

        More than fair compensation. RC knows that although the weather cannot be controlled and they really are not obligated 6000 unhappy guests would not make for a pleasent cruise. Their offer is really above and beyond though. They must be crusing in the red on this. but it will keep me coming back to Royal.

      28. Steve
        August 27th, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

        Sounds very fair to me…kudos to RCCL.

      29. Mike
        August 27th, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

        Of course that is enough. They could have stopped at the $650.00 OBC and it would have been enough. Nice to see RCI go above and beyond, for a situation that is nobody’s fault.

      30. Tom Pecena
        August 27th, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

        Thats $125 pp per day (2 days). Thats more than the pp rate, per day that was paid I’m sure. With all the extras I think its more than fair. Dissapointing as it may be to have the shorter cruise, what can you do about a hurricaine? I’m sure there will be the screamers wanting a FULL refund AND a FREE cruise, but those are just money grubbers. RCCL has done the right thing.

      31. Dawn K Hoff
        August 27th, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

        I would say that’s more than fair “compensation.” Especially for those that did not purchase trip insurance. I never expect a cruise line to go above and beyond for me- in those circumstances, especially when they were off the ship! I have to give Royal Carribean bonus points for that one. They want to keep those customers!

      32. Dawn K Hoff
        August 27th, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

        Hmmm… Now, after reading about the varied responses last year across the different cruise lines, although I *do* and don’t get me wrong, I *would* love to be compensated to such a degree, it looks like we, as cruisers, now expect this to happen. I’m concerned that this will effect the bottom line in a way I would *not* like, higher ticket prices, with insurance included for all passengers (forcing it to be a requirement). As it stands, I don’t buy the optional trip insurance. My philosophy on that is – If I can afford to book this cruise, I can afford to lose it. The money I save over the years has paid for AT LEAST one more cruise, and (knock on wood), we have never been in a situation to need it. Of course, now that I have said that, our next cruise will be plagued with problems. But, I guess I have nothing to worry about, saving face for them will be saving grace for me ;)

      33. Tropical Storm Isaac Sparks Compensation for Cruise Passengers - Cruise Radio
        August 28th, 2012 @ 12:06 am

        […] CruiseCritic released the Allure of the Seas compensation as it arrives on Tuesday morning (only sailing a five-night outbound sailing). Guests in balcony, inside, and oceanview staterooms will receive $650 on board credit (more for suite guests), if guests needed a hotel room – Royal Caribbean flipped the bill, covered airline change fees, $100 to cover meals for the two days and 10% off a future cruise. […]

      34. Theresa
        August 28th, 2012 @ 6:47 am

        That sounds more than fair to me. When Hurricane Jeanne struck I was onboard Mariner of the Seas and we spent two extra days at sea and they didn’t make us pay for those two extra days. $650 onboard credit AND they will reimburse you the difference if you don’t spend it all sounds great AND you still get all the other reimbursements. That sounds like a whole lot more than was offered to those folks who sailed right after I got off the ship after Jeanne. I think they just received $250 off a future cruise.

      35. DChamp
        August 28th, 2012 @ 6:52 am

        Seems very fair to me!

      36. Mimi
        August 28th, 2012 @ 7:24 am

        Very generous — might have to consider RCCL in the future; I know someone on the 5-day shortened cruise in a suite — can’t wait to find out how things went. Their cruise will probably be free w/more returned to their credit card.

      37. ERIC
        August 28th, 2012 @ 8:19 am


      38. Edward Galligan
        August 28th, 2012 @ 8:43 am

        Excellent compensation, when by contract none is needed. Being a loyal Cunarder, this action makes me very interested in RCL.

      39. Scott
        August 28th, 2012 @ 8:48 am

        Fair? That sounds downright generous on the part of the cruise line! I applaud Royal Caribbean, it sounds like they are treating their passengers above and beyond what is expected during hurricane season.

      40. Roberta Gerlach
        August 28th, 2012 @ 10:47 am

        WOW! Are those compensations fair?? They are amazing!! For those who must wait to board on Tuesday, they will receive over $1000 in compensation: $650 per cabin in OBC, and if not used, can be applied to their credit card, (does not die once you leave the ship), 2 nights at a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, (at least $125 a night), $200 per person for food allowance for Sunday and Monday until they board on Tuesday, and 10% credit on a future cruise on the same type of cabin.

        The airlines cover next to nothing when you are bumped today, and if weather is the issue, they have no obligation. Giving passengers leaving the cruise a $150 or $250 airline change fee assist to change their flights is more than most would do.
        I am impressed.

      41. Betty York
        August 28th, 2012 @ 11:39 am

        Seems very fair to me

      42. MrsKC08
        August 28th, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

        I personally think that when you book a cruise during hurricane season, you are taking the risk that you might lose a port of call, have a shortened cruise or extended cruise, etc. That is simply the risk you take and if you do choose to cruise during this time, purchase the travel insurance…therefore we NEVER cruise during this time of year.
        With that being said, I think that RCCL went above and beyond to accomodate those passengers, and this speaks highly for that cruise line. They didn’t have to do ANYTHING, and yet they stepped up to the plate. Way to go Royal Caribbean!

      43. Jcool
        August 28th, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

        I am not a big fan of Royal Caribbean even if I have been on their ship many of time. My love one loves Royal Caribbean. This is going to be my first time I am going to say anything good about Royal Caribbean that is very nice what they are doing.

      44. BrianC
        August 28th, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

        I think the compensations are very generous.

        Does the cruise line actually “owe” a compenstion due to weather caused changes? No.
        Consider that many huricane season cruises are already discounted and that any cruise customer that does their homework and actually reads the cruise contact should understand the risks.

        Very good customer relations, but certainly not an entitlement.

      45. Carol
        August 28th, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

        I agree that this comp package is above and beyond, considering that RCI is not obligated to give *any* compensation. The danger is that this sets up a precedent in the mind of cruisers so that under what they deem to be similar or equal circumstances, they will expect and demand that RCI give them an equally generous comp package. Ultimately, the decision remains with RCI as to how they wish to handle each situation. While they may gain new passengers based on this situation, they may lose those (& other) passengers depending on how they react to the next situation. On the whole, however, this was a good PR decision and smart business move on the part of RCI. Hopefully, other lines will take note and match RCI’s actions here. Kudos to them.

      46. cruise_girl2002
        August 28th, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

        @Teresa…why should carnival do more when their passengers didnt loose 2 days…only 1. look at RCL with the san juan situation last year, they had to do something to make them look good again after they f*ed up big time last year. is the compensation fair? YES!! in the contract…they really arent owed anything

      47. George Jenkins
        August 28th, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

        This is a fair deal. If Royal Caribbean wanted to go by the cruise contract they could have offered far less. This will cut into their bottom line but customer satisfaction will in the end be far more profitable to them. I will have to research what other cruise lines would offer but I bet not many if any would match this deal. Well done Royal Caribbean!

      48. Kimberly Walton
        August 28th, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

        Yes, It is fair. And good to hear! Is the onboard credit for the 9 day passengers, 5 day passengers or both? Just curious how that works.

      49. Steve G
        August 28th, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

        RCCL has been heavily critisized in the past for their lack of adequate compensation to passengers involved in recent incidents (freedom of the seas sailing into terrible storm when other ships stayed in port, brilliance getting slammed by huge waves in the mediterranean). Compared to Carnival which was incredible in handling the passengers onboard the Splendor after the fire, RCCL came up extremely short. They have obviously adopted a new philosophy which is resulting in favorable publicity. There is no mystery here. I personally was impressed by what Princess (part of Carnival) did for me when I was stuck on Sapphire for 5 straight days (mexican riviera H1N1 flu ‘voyage of the damned’ in april 2009). I was refunded all port charges since we missed them all (even though we did get into San Diego and Catalina) and and I was given a 50% cruise fare credit to be used towards a future cruise. Sure, lots of people on the ship who lived in San Diego were very unhappy. Some just went home on day 6, others went to water their plants and check their mail before coming back onboard. I was thrilled…I love San Diego!

      50. Arch
        August 28th, 2012 @ 5:02 pm

        More than fair. If I were to travel through hurricane season, I would expect possible itinerary changes and not expect any further compensation. Knowing my safety is being considered, I think that is enough. RCCL has made an enormous PR move and I’ll certainly consider them for future cruises.

      51. bill dutton
        August 28th, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

        no matter what…you will have people that won’t be happy with the decision….as a travel agent for 23 years, and having taken over 45 cruises, 46 coming up in two days, it’s the way it works folks…weather is the biggest thing and the one that can’t be controlled…go, have a good time…spend the obc, and have FUN..
        beats sitting in a shelter in Nawhlins…right?

      52. Surfergirle
        August 28th, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

        Good job RCCL!!
        Hotel, Per Diem, and OBC? Great Job!
        People will be Loyal To Royal, because of this!!!

      53. JACKIE
        August 29th, 2012 @ 12:03 am

        RCCL did an awesome job with compensation on this cruise. I hope everyone that sailed today has a great cruise. :)

      54. Charlotte
        August 29th, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

        As diamond plus members on RCCL. We are not surprised at this compensation for passengers. RCCL always provides what is fair for their guests

      55. Vicenso
        August 29th, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

        I guess the issue at San Juan last year did serious damage to RCI reputation and now they went to the other end.

      56. anna
        September 8th, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

        I disagree with the compensation package. We booked three cabins… two cabins were gifts for other people. They should have credited our cabin since we were the ones who spent over 10,000 for the three cabins. All that extra stuff they are covering.. such as hotel and airline changes and food.. that is a good gesture on their part. however, I would have gotten compensated for that anyway since I purchased insurance for all passengers in my party. They should credit the credit card, and not give onboard credit. They were just hoping that people would spend all the money and this way they wouldn’t have to give back anyone money. The only way you got any money back is if you didn’t spend all of your onboard credit. Plus they gave an additional 200 dollars to one of the other cabins since they had a third person in their room. That’s all credit that should have been put back on the credit card of the purchaser.

      57. Rachel
        September 19th, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

        I was on this shortened cruise and although the compensation offered looked great the actual cruise service sucked….Im a Platinum Member and prior to this cruise loved Oasis class cruises, but crew was nasty, shows that were scheduled for previous nights lost were rescheduled during the day, we were taken into Mexico right after hurricane, bad choice, murky waters & bad weather and the CREW were nasty all except our room steward. Lets not forget that the week prior to our cruise changed their itinerary prior to the storm and that was reason they could not return…I know what most of u think, THATS WHAT YOU GET FOR BOOKING HURRICANE SEASON….as for cheaper prices I dont think $ 6404 for a 5 day cruise for 4 was cheap…And some of us can not take vacations other times, even though I wish I was fortunate enough too.

      58. Rachel
        September 19th, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

        PS Ive yet to see the per diem money and hotel coverage…We will see…

      59. Krystal
        September 20th, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

        WOW. LOVE RCI. Totally fair and generous.

      60. otto
        September 25th, 2012 @ 11:13 am

        i was on the 9 day cruise. i feel bad for those of you who had your trip cut short, but this compensation package rocks! i totally could have used 650 for drinking money.. i will sail royal caribbean again!

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