Refunds can be one of the trickiest of the financial aspects of cruising. It pays to know what you are entitled to on any cruise, before you book, but especially when something goes awry.
Like most cruise lines, Royal Caribbean refunds triggered by guest cancellations are based on length of cruise and the number of days prior to sailing.
Royal Caribbean is continuing its Cruise with Confidence 48-hour cancellation window on bookings made through May 31, 2021, on sailings through April 30, 2022. Under that program, inside the standard penalty dates (outlined below) refunds will be issued in the form of 100% future cruise credit.
In cases where Royal Caribbean cancels a cruise, guests are notified of applicable refund policies, procedures, and deadlines. That information is also on the line's royalcaribbean.com website.
COVID-19 specific refunds: Royal Caribbean's policy is to issue refunds or future cruise credit, either full or prorated, for guests who test positive, have been in close contact with an infected person, or exhibits symptoms during the 14 days prior to departure or during the cruise, who are denied boarding or disembarked, provided they have adhered to all COVID-related policies as outlined in the Cruise Ticket Contract.
Pricing guarantees: If you find a price that beats your booking price, Royal Caribbean will honor it up to 48 hours from departure. Inside the final payment period, you'll get matching onboard credit. Outside final payment, you'll receive a rate adjustment.
When you cancel the cruise: For cruises of four nights or less, full refunds are issued until 75 days before sailing. Refunds are issued through 90 days before sailing on longer cruises. Inside those dates, cancellation fees will apply according to the timeframes found below. Exceptions are any cruise booked under special non-refundable terms.
Taxes, fees, port charges, and pre-paid packages are refundable on all cancellations other than mid-cruise early departures and no-shows.
When Royal Caribbean cancels the cruise: Guests booked on cruises affected by suspensions of sailings are currently being offered to 125 percent of their fare in the form of future cruise credits. These credits are issued automatically. A second option is Royal Caribbean's Lift & Shift program that allows guests to rebook the same ship and itinerary within two weeks (before or after) of the same date in 2022. Guests who prefer a full refund must request those. Processing takes approximately 45 days.
On cruises cancelled or shortened due to mechanical issues prior to or during sailing, passengers should expect full or partial refunds.
If you must cancel the cruise: Final payment dates coincide with the end of the full refund period: 75 days prior to sailing for cruises two to four days long, 90 days for cruises of five days or longer.
Outside the parameters of the Cruise with Confidence program, cancellation fees are charged according to the number of days before sailing at the time of cancellation. On cruises of five nights or longer, you lose 25 percent of the fare between 89 and 75 days before sailing. On all cruises, you lose 50 percent of the fare between days 74 and 61 before sailing, 75 percent of the fare between days 60 and 31, and 100 percent of the fare inside 30 days before sailing.
If Royal Caribbean must cancel the cruise: Lift & Shift options have short time frames from the date of cancellation of your original cruise. Guests are notified of these dates as cancellations happen.
Future Cruise Credit
Future cruise credits are issued for the fare paid at the time of cancellation. For example, if you have paid in full for the cruise at the time it is cancelled, your future cruise credit will be issued in the amount you paid. If you have only paid a deposit, the future cruise credit would be for that amount, not the full fare of the cruise.
All current Royal Caribbean future cruise credits are valid on sailings through September 30, 2022, but must be booked by April 30, 2022.
Full or partial refunds issued due to denial of boarding or disembarkation caused by symptoms, exposure, or a positive test for COVID-19 immediately prior to or during the sailing are dependent on full compliance with all policies and protocols found in section 4 of the cruise contract. Other than a refund, Royal Caribbean is not liable for any additional expenses in that situation, including transportation and or lodging.
When either you or the cruise line cancel a cruise, any additional travel plans made through a third party must be cancelled independently. Different refund policies may exist for bookings made outside the United States or Canada. Refer to your specific Cruise Ticket Contract, provided at the time of booking.
The Fine Print
Standard cancellation policies are found in the Cruise Ticket Contract. Cancelled cruises and the latest information on suspension of services can be found on the travel alerts page. Cancelations and refund requests are best handled through a special webform provided by the cruise line to prevent long wait times on the phone. If you need assistance by phone, customer service can be reached at (800)256-6649 or (800)526-9753 for Crown and Anchor members. An online contact form is available if wait times are too long.
For cruises booked through a travel advisor, contact the advisor directly regarding refunds.