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Old May 18th, 2010, 09:26 AM
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Default No more prices drops with RCI?

It appears that when you cut through all the confusion RCI is going to bring price drops to a screeching halt effective bookings made after May 17.

Next will be non-refundable deposits such as they have already implemented on Azamara.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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From what I read if you booked your cruise prior to 17 May 2010, you can still get lower prices. This only applies to reservations book on or after 17 May. Correct me if I read something wrong.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by AF1 View Post
From what I read if you booked your cruise prior to 17 May 2010, you can still get lower prices. This only applies to reservations book on or after 17 May. Correct me if I read something wrong.

That's right - and that's what I've said.
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Next up - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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What did I miss?

Was there a policy change? Did they send something to you TA's?

I guess they wanted it publicly to be quiet.

I was just looking for something to book on the WOW sale.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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Geeze...

Does anyone ever look at our front page? I covered this topic thoroughly yesterday:

Royal Caribbean Changes Price Protection Policy

Royal Caribbean Changes Price Protection Policy
May 17, 2010

Just when we had rated Royal Caribbean's price guarantee plan as the best in the business they change it!

When NCL instated a new best price guarantee May 5th we wrote an article to describe and rate the plans from NCL, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines. We had rated Royal Caribbean's as the best in the business, and we even said it appeared to be stable, but we guess it was just too good, because they just changed it - to become nearly identical to the lowest rated plan.

The new Royal Caribbean "Best Price Guarantee" says cruises booked after today, May 17th, have only 48 hours to find a better price before the guarantee expires - but you do receive 110% of the price difference should you be lucky enough to find one.

What do These Changes Indicate?


The very fact that Royal Caribbean would choose to implement this policy right now has at least one important implication to me - that their cruise prices are probably headed lower. Why would I make such a bold prediction? There are four significant signs:
  1. Cruise prices were headed higher - until the stock market and the Euro nose-dived two weeks ago. There is a softening economy in Europe; the Euro now fetches $1.23, down from $1.38 just eight weeks ago and $1.46 last summer. Royal Caribbean says over 50% of its revenue comes in foreign currency. It is less price-sensitive going forward to make cruises cheaper in dollars than it is to raise them for everyone else.
  1. The price of oil has dropped from nearly $88 to $70 barrel just since the stock market "event" two weeks ago. This is a hugely significant drop leaving the cruise line with lots of wiggle room for cruise prices.
  2. The third reason is that the old policy allowed cruisers to book as far out as desired for the best selection and not worry about missing a price drop. That risk alleviation in booking early is now gone which will likely lead to a shorter "booking window" which usually leads to lower prices.
  3. Finally, if prices were going higher they wouldn't need to change this policy now, or to put it another way; well, you figure it out.
Rating the new Cruise Line Price Protection Plans



All three of the major cruise lines now offer this nearly identical 48-hour/110% guarantee we are discussing. The difference is that now, for both Royal Caribbean and NCL, this is the only price protection plan offered. Carnival also offers a "real" price protection policy called Early Savers which guarantees prices until up to 72 hours before the ship sets sail.



The BEST Price Guarantee Program: Carnival Cruise Lines
We now rate the Carnival "Early Saver" price guarantee as the best in the business since it is the only one that will honor a lower price if it shows up at any time after the booking is made - up to 72 hours before the ship sails. Carnival's plan only applies when you book a 3- to 5-day cruise three months or more in advance, or a 6-day or longer cruise five months or more in advance. You must book into the Early Savers program and make a full, non-refundable deposit. In addition to the price guarantee, the Early Saver program also offers you discounted prices.



Second Best Price Guarantee Program: Royal Caribbean
Just for clarity, the old Royal Caribbean guarantee had no restrictions - if any cruiser found a better price on a booked cruise they got the lower price. That was a really good - maybe too good to be true, as we said.



Like NCL, Royal Caribbean now limits their guarantee to people who find a better price within 48 hours of booking a cruise. Furthermore, the price must be advertised by Royal Caribbean - travel agent special offers, including groups or rebate discounts, are not considered.



Significantly, this new policy only applies to reservations made after today, May 17th - not to cruises already booked. So, if you have a Royal Caribbean cruise already booked you can and should continue looking for a better price. Just keep this policy in mind for future cruise bookings.



The only reason Royal Caribbean has a slight edge over NCL is the possibility to cancel and rebook. Royal Caribbean's cancellation policy is only slightly more forgiving than NCL's. With Royal Caribbean you can cancel with no penalty if your sail date is 60 days away (or more) for cruises of 1- 5-days and 70 days or more for cruises of 6-days or longer.



You can see the Royal Caribbean cruise cancellation schedule here.


Third Best Price Guarantee Program: Norwegian Cruise Lines

With the new "Best Price -- Guaranteed" program, NCL offers the same 110 percent rebate of the difference in price for a better advertised price found within 48 hours after the booking is made.


NCL is number three for a slightly more restrictive cancellation policy. If you cancel less than 75 days (for cruises of five days or less) or 120 days (for cruises of six days or longer) before the sail date, you have to pay a cancellation fee.



The fee schedules for cancelling any NCL cruise can be found here: NCL Cancellation Fees.



If the sailing date is 30 to 90 days away, you lose your deposit if you cancel your cruise. If it is 8 to 28 days from sailing, you lose 50 percent of your cruise payment, and if it is seven days or less you would lose 100 percent. The typical deposit for a 6- to 9-day cruise is $250. For a 3- to 5-day cruise, it is $100.



More Details on Price Guarantees
Here is what all price guarantee plans have in common: With each of them the lower advertised price you might find must be for the same ship, departure date, stateroom category and number of guests; it must be available for booking at the time you ask the line to match the lower rate; and you must be eligible for the lower rate (i.e. it is not a senior's or child's rate).



With all three plans, if the guest has only made a deposit, his final payment will be lowered accordingly. If the guest has already paid in full, he or she will be given shipboard credit equal to the difference in pricing.




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Old May 18th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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So - what do you think about this issue?

Do you agree that RCLs prices are probably going lower?

Do you think it was a mistake to make these changes now?

Or did they have to?
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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My main thought, they announced them too fast. Same day they are effective? Bad...........but that's RCL.........constantly shooting themselves in the foot. In fact, but doing it they way they've done it, they've create a huge hollabaloo just as they did with the vital marketing, taking away the D perks and all the other silly moves they've made over the last couple of years.

I don't have a problem with them refusing price reductions. After all, it's their game. However I, like so many others, will now be holding onto their money for a lot longer and RCL will not have all those advances to play with.

I also wouldn't be surprised if prices are going down. They tried to end their own economic woes too quickly with the price increases especially on the monster ship. I know they say they are sailing full but I wonder I really do. I know of a couple of cases where they transferred passengers (with their permission of course) to Oasis from other, much lower priced ships for no apparent reason. It then inflates their numbers on the Oasis. I believe that is just playing with numbers to make them say what you want them to say.

Then there is the new Allure coming out in a few months. They certainly can't afford to fill her up by transferring people.

They are banking on European travellers over the next couple of years and that was looking good until recently when the reality of the economic woes in Europe came to light starting with Greece. I believe they could have some problems in Europe now.

Also, the volcano incident is costing them a bundle - either now or a bit down the road. They have tried to get out of the monies they owe their European travellers who missed cruises etc because of what happened but in the end they will pay. Look at the fine Ryan air had levied against it for trying to renege on the law.

Let's put all these events together and see where it leaves not only RCL, but all the cruise lines. I think in a bit of trouble.

No offence to CC or Cruisemates or any other message board but the fact is only about 1-2% of travellers read message boards. There more who are savvy about these programs but don't go through message board. These are the people they are upsetting. But what about the 95%? They are going to go with the flow because most of them have no idea of how is "used to be".

I guess only time will tell won't it.
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Next up - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Geeze...

Does anyone ever look at our front page? I covered this topic thoroughly yesterday:
Sorry-missed front page yesterday Thanks for the posting.

I always held my final payment to the very end--looks like is only possible relief now.

I had a lost baby goat I had to look for with a lot of my free time yesterday. By 7:00 pm I had given up and closed the pasture gate, but made one more pass in mountain pasture and found her just before dark. She was red (not usual) and hard to spot. I'd never seen her before--just knew that one of the mommas had given birth and didn't have a baby with her. She would have been coyote bait up there.

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Old May 18th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
So - what do you think about this issue?

Do you agree that RCLs prices are probably going lower?

Do you think it was a mistake to make these changes now?

Or did they have to?
I agree that RCL is already lowering the prices on the Freedom and Voyager Class ships for sure. I priced them last year and ended up on the Carnival Splendor because they were to high. This year I found fare in 2011 on Freedom of the seas around $550 per person (not including tax and port fees). Also The Voyager of the Seas is showing a cruise fare as low as $499 to cruise out of New Orleans.

I think most people are taking Oasis of the Seas and the leaves the Freedom and voyager Class ships less filled. Think how much RCL has increased supply in Carribean cruises with Oasis. Next comes the Allure and it will be crusing the Carribean also. I would love to try out either Freedom of the Seas or the Voyager of the Seas. My biggest issue is airfare. I wonder how hard it is to drive from California to New Orleans.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 05:55 PM
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Katlady - have you tried Mariner out of Los Angeles?

it is the same as Voyager - a sister ship. You'd better hurry, she is leaving in early June.

Yes, think about all the capacity in southern FGlorida now with Oasia and Allue and soon Epic moving in there.

That was why Carnival Dream went to Port Canaveral, but even that is crowded wth the Freedom vessels.

It is actually starting to look like they have too many ships - how low can you price them?

They are just lucky the price of oil fell to $70/barrel. If/when it goes up and the Euro drops they have big problems.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 07:13 PM
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I might be blind, but I'm not seeing anywhere that says if you made a deposit your final payment will drop. I can only see info on getting an OBC which has to be used and is non refundable under the FAQs.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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Guys, there's a Q & A on Cruisecritic's home page with RCL. This policy is only in effect for cruises that are booked after final payment date. It has no bearing on getting price drops while only under deposit.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 07:25 PM
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When I made my WOW sale booking today, in the fine print it said they would match lower pricing with OBC.

Yes Katlady, Paul is right, you need to book the Mariner before she leaves LA. Great ship. Looking forward to her moving to Galveston.

If the Euro does fall that much OR Europe bookings slow, I wouldn't be surprised if they leave either the Voyager or Mariner in Galveston all year. Bookings still strong from Texas, Paid about the same today for 2011 as I did both 2-3 & 4 years ago on Voyager for same cruise.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 07:50 PM
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The information I have have been given and that which is posted on our site is that this new policy is only for those who have booked within the cancellation phase of their cruise.

However what is new is that no one can get a reduction within the penalty phase, so if you book 6 months out you can get all price reductions from that 6 months until your final payment date and that's the end. If your cruise goes down a month later, no reduction.

Now of course they are blaming TA's for that on CC.
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Next up - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 12:19 PM
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"Guys, there's a Q & A on Cruisecritic's home page with RCL. This policy is only in effect for cruises that are booked after final payment date. It has no bearing on getting price drops while only under deposit."

All I know is that the new policy is up on the RCL web site and it says you have 48 hours from the time you reserve your cruise - period. It says nothing about deposits or final payments. To me, you "reserve a cruise" when you make a deposit si if they intended to say "when you make your final payment" they should say that in the policy.

In any case, to me the article on Cruise Critic is just more hogwash. Read this carefully:

The OLD price guarantee policy is gone. If the price drops before you make final payment you pay less IF it is less when you make your final payment. But once you make your final payment then you only have 48 hours to see if the price drops again.

The new policy is clear. To say the policy only applies to people in the "penalty phase" is ridiculous, outside of the penalty phase you can always just cancel and rebook. That has always been true.

I have a new theory - we are living in the time of "disingenousness" - where companies intentonally try to confuse everyone through confusing language and then act as if everything they say is not what they mean. Frankly, this is exactly what Park West does - and it makes me sick.

Travel agents do not like price guarantees because it lowers their commission, however they are honest enough to do them because that is their job. Is it possible they made rthe ruling intentionally vague?
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Old May 19th, 2010, 12:33 PM
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Granted, they couldn't write a clear policy if their lives depended on it. But it looks like they've clarified their intent in a Q & A and it only applies to people booking after final payment dates.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 12:54 PM
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"Granted, they couldn't write a clear policy if their lives depended on it. But it looks like they've clarified their intent in a Q & A and it only applies to people booking after final payment dates."

Sorry, but I have to disagree, and this is what I mean about disingenuousness. They say it is "targeted" at those people, but it doesn't say it only applies to those people.

As I read it. it applies to any booking made within the "penalty period" -which is the time when you will be charged a penalty for cancelling.

I have asked RCL for more clarification as well. IMHO that Q&A is just more obfuscation to detract from how bad this new policy really is.

My question to RCL is "when do you reserve a cruise?" because that is what the new policy is based on. From the Q&A it appears they mean when you make your final payment, but I would have thought it means when you make a deposit.

Its really a simple question - I dont see the need for the overly complicated answers unless they just mean to disguise what this new policy really means.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 01:06 PM
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You're right Paul. Q & A is not policy and has no legal binding.

The crap about TA's is just going to drive a wedge between TA's and their clients. Anther reason for the changes perhaps?

Anyway, I don't think we are going to know the reality of this so called "helpful" change until someone who has booked after May 17 actually tries for a price reduction when one shows up.

Since they also claim you can cancel and rebook if outside the penalty phase this is going to create a lot of paperwork for everyone therefore I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall - cancellation fees by RCL. Every cancellation requires deposits be refunded then then client has to put a new deposit down. They do not as a rule, transfer a deposit to another booking when one cancels.
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Next up - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 01:38 PM
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What if I book prior to the penalty period and the price drops? Can I still get something?

A: Again, the Best Price Guarantee doesn't apply if you book before final payment is due and the penalty period begins -- but you do have several options. If you book before final payment and the price drops on your itinerary, cabin category and sail date, you can request a fare adjustment or an upgrade if applicable, and the line will accommodate you. If you see a price drop on a different cabin category or sailing and you'd like to take advantage of that offer, you can cancel without penalty and rebook at the lower fare.

Once final payment is made, you are locked into the rate you paid and have no more opportunities to receive a price differential in onboard credit. However, as mentioned above, if the price drops such that a higher-category cabin now costs the same as what you paid, you can request an upgrade, if a cabin is available.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 02:12 PM
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I just got my answer from RCL ---

They said a cruise is reserved when a deposit is made.

How does that reflect on the Cruise Critic Q & A?

The guarantee says the 48-hour period begins when a cruise is reserved. It does not say anything about a penalty period or whether or not a final ppayment has been made.

here is what the guarantee says...

When you reserve with Royal Caribbean and subsequently find a lower rate advertised by Royal Caribbean within 48 hours from the time the reservation is made, we will honor that lower eligible rate by applying an onboard credit to the reservation equal to 110% of the price difference. For reservations outside of final payment period, the onboard credit may be replaced, upon request, with a reduction to the outstanding balance or a refund. An eligible, fare must be:
a) available for the same ship, sailing, category and number of guests as the current reservation;
b) available at the time the request for the lower rate is made; and
c) a rate that the current reservation would be eligible to receive, if any special restrictions apply.

The Royal Caribbean Best Price Guarantee Program will only be available up to 48 hours after the reservation is made. The Royal Caribbean Best Price Guarantee Program will be available for most rate types with the exception of the Royal Sales Events and Exciting Deals; Travel Agent, Interline or Industry Reduced Rates; Employee rate programs; and a select number of price programs and promotions; for new reservations only; or as specified in the price program detail. The subsequent lower rate will be subject to the prevailing taxes and fees and/or fuel supplement, if applicable.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Hey Snooze, I was looking at your upcoming cruises and I noticed you have back to back ones next Feb. Literally!!!.. One day apart. Let me know how that works out!!
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Old May 19th, 2010, 02:50 PM
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You're right Paul - and there are a lot of people who will be in for a rude awakening when they try to get a rate reduction. It seems to matter who you speak to - so your interpertation is - book today for February 2011 and you have 48 hours to find the reduction. After that you are locked in with the only option being to cancel and rebook?

RCL is so good at speaking Greek as the old saying goes.
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Next up - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 03:40 PM
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Default Royal Caribbean Price Guarantee Confusion

Here is what I have learned...

Royal Caribbean Price Guarantee Confusion

Royal Caribbean just implemented a new policy for price guarantees on cruises. The new policy is hardly worth mentioning in our honest opinion while the old policy was reason enough alone to book a Royal Caribbean cruise. We think it is too bad they changed it, but we understand and respect that they have their reasons.

Under the old policy any guest who booked a cruise could monitor their exact cruise and cabin category and watch for price drops. If the price went lower than what they paid for their exact cruise at any time up to 72 hours before the ship set sail they could apply for an onboard credit for the difference in what they paid and the new price. That was an excellent deal and a real incentive to book a Royal Caribbean cruise early.

Now, the new best price guarantee says that any cruiser making a cruise reservation (defined as putting down a deposit on a cruise) has only 48 hours to shop for a price drop before they are locked in to the price they agreed to pay. That is exactly what the policy, as posted on the Royal Caribbean web site, says but in fact there is some wiggle room.

If you have made a deposit but not your final payment yet then you are eligible for a price drop “guarantee” if the price is lower at the time you make your final payment. In other words, if you have a deposit down and you see a price drops you think is as good as it is going to get, you have better lock it in by making your final payment.

Meanwhile, the policy says that you only have 48 hours after you make your reservation (defined as putting down a deposit), but we have already seen that is not true. So, the next question is this – what if you make your final payment and the price drops again within 48 hours. Our suggestion is to fill in that form and send it in.

The new policy at Royal Caribbean is that they no longer want to offer onboard credits. They will under the 48-hour policy but let’s be honest – that kind of price drop just isn’t likely to happen very often. Royal Caribbean wants to move to offering upgrades instead of shipboard credit.

You will get an upgrade if you have paid in full and the price drops before the “penalty phase” begins. What is the penalty phase? It the time period between the time your full payment is due and the date when your ship sets sail. For cruises up to five days the penalty phase is 70 days, for cruise six days or longer it is 90 days.

So, if you have a price drop before the penalty phase begins and you have paid in full already, even beyond the 48-hour time limit, you can contact the cruise line and request an upgrade and they say they will try their best to fulfill your request. But there are no more shipboard credits except within the 48-hour guarantee.

Theoretically, you also still have the right to cancel your cruise and rebook it without penalty. Here is the schedule of cancellation fees:

1-5-day cruises: 60 days+ no fee;
30-59 days - lose deposit;
8-29 days - 50% of cruise fare;
7 days - 100% of cruise fare

6-8-day cruises: 70 days+ no fee;
30-69 days- lose deposit;
8-29 days- 50% of cruise fare;
7 days - 100% of cruise fare

9-days+ cruises: 70 days+ no fee;
30-69 days - lose deposit;
15-28 days - 50% of cruise fare;
14 days - 100% of cruise fare

What this means, specifically, is that you do not have to cancel and rebook the cruise to get the value of the price difference. You will get it in the form of an upgrade. You can still cancel and rebook, but we don’t recommend it unless there is a pretty stark price differential. The reason is that you may end up in a cabin by the elevators or in the front of the ship where the ride is much rougher. These cabins are priced the same as better placed cabins of the same category, but they are assigned later because they are less desirable.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Summing up the NEW RCI price guarantee

If that is still too confusing - see the link right above.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
Katlady - have you tried Mariner out of Los Angeles?

it is the same as Voyager - a sister ship. You'd better hurry, she is leaving in early June.
That won't happen. We just came of the Carnival Splendor on May 9 and we cruise for the ports as well as the ship. So we don't want to do the Mexican Riveria again. We are not looking at cruises right now. Depending on funds we will either cruise 2011 or 2012.

I would like to do either Hawaii or the Carribean. I have never cruised the Carribean. The only "Carribean" port I have been to is Saint Marteen. With the large ships headed there I'm hoping the prices come down enough for me to cruise there. Sadly, Hawaiian cruise prices same pretty constantly high. I think we have a better shoot at a Carribean cruise then Hawaii. Biggest problems is my hubby hates to fly. We could drive to New Orleans and cruise out of there. ;-) I think that is the closest port, for Carribean cruises, to California.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 03:21 PM
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Galveston is a little bit closer to California.

Well - too bad you didnt take Mariner instead of Splendor since Mariner is leaving and Slendor isn't. You could have taken both, with Splendor later.
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