Last-Minute RCI Charter Boots Passengers

December 7, 2006
The June 24, 2007 sailing of Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas -- a 12-night Italy and Croatia cruise -- has been canceled. The cruise line has chartered the ship for six nights to a corporate customer, and will sell the remaining six nights as a special itinerary roundtrip from Rome on June 30, 2007 with calls at Santorini, Athens and Naples.

Guests booked on the affected sailing will be contacted by the line or their travel agent with the option to cancel for a full refund, or switch to any other Legend of the Seas 12- or 13-night Italy and Croatia cruise between May 19, 2007 and November 18, 2007, in like accommodations (subject to availability). Guests who rebook another Legend cruise will also be offered onboard credit -- $400 per cabin for suites, $200 per cabin for standard staterooms. Guests who booked air independently will be reimbursed up to $200 per person for change fees.

Cruise Critic member PaulS was booked on this cruise and posts on the Royal Caribbean forum: "Fortunately, I have my own business and can be flexible, so we are going on the July 18 sailing. We were offered the onboard credit and the airline rebooking reimbursement. They were also able to book us into the same room that we had on June 24. I guess things worked out, but I was not happy during the process."

We wanted to know: Do passengers often get the boot due to last-minute charters? A spokesman for Royal Caribbean tells us that it happens once in a while -- but not often -- because groups considering a full ship charter tend to organize well in advance. Member H2OH! writes: "In 2004, our Southern Caribbean cruise with Celebrity was 30 days out from our sailing when we were notified the ship had been chartered out from underneath our feet.

"We were given two options: 1. Full refund or 2. Move to another week. We chose to move one week out. The week chartered out was the week after Thanksgiving so we moved our cruise to the first week of December. We were not offered any onboard credit ... I was told this happens; I moved on and thoroughly enjoyed our cruise."

At Your Service: Could You Be Bumped?

--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor