This is a true story - it happened today. My wife and I and our family of 8 are sailing on Explorer on May 1 and we were planning on renewing our vows. We contacted our travel agent TODAY to book the vow renewal ( our cruise was booked back in November) only to have her inform us that in addition to the stated cost of $400.00 US, we would have to pay late fees of $200.00 AND a surcharge of $150.00 for a total of $750.00US.
I immediately contacted a RCI agent and she informed me that the information given me by my TA was accurate. I said " I am presently looking at my computer screen with Royal Caribbean Vow Renewals and it clearly states that bookings are to be made a minimum of 14 days before the cruise date."
Her reply was ,"We have updated our website and it is now 30 days minimum for booking."
I asked her when RCI updated their website and where I could find it". She said,"It was updated March 1 and changes were made then, but the website is not up and running yet".
I then asked her about the surcharge of $150.00. She stated that this surcharge applies to anyone wishing to have their vows renewed between the months of May and July - and that there was no surcharge for the rest of the year.
I told her this was our 6th cruise with Royal Caribbean and that it was unfair to treat us in this manner - we were following the policy of RCI as stated on their website (booking at least 14 days before sailing) AND that NOWHERE does it state on their website about any surcharge.
She said she would consult her supervisor and get back to me - she did, and told me that "Even though the new website is not available prices can change without notice. However since we have been such loyal customers RCI will waive the late fee ( back to the original price of $400.00US) but cannot eliminate the surcharge completely. Instead they will charge us a surcharge of $75.00 BUT ..... THEY CANNOT INCLUDE THE FLOWERS IN THE VOW RENEWAL CEREMONY!!!!!"
Now I like travelling with RCI -( we have tried other cruiselines but prefer RCI for several reasons) and will continue to travel with them. To be treated this way is disappointing to my wife and me. I think $400.00 is plenty for a vow renewal ceremony - I mean it's done by a cruise director (not the captain) - it's usually held on deck rather than the chapel, we get a piece of cake each, an 8 x 10 photo, a bottle of champaigne, AND a corsage for my wife and me.
Why would there be a late fee? And a surcharge?
My wife and I have decided to renew our vows on this cruise BUT we are going to do it OUR WAY - we are going to perform it ourselves on the rear deck just before sunset, our youngest son is going to ask us our vows , we are going to exchange rings, maybe get 8 pieces of cake from the kitchen, bring two corsages and some champaigne with us and THEN we are going to celebrate our 25 years of marriage - $100.00 tops! Without any late fees or surcharges. Wish us luck.