LOVE TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTING: In 2019 my wife Sandy and I booked a Royal Caribbean cruise to New England and Canada. This plan was to celebrate a special occasion, our upcoming 50th wedding anniversary. We were supposed to be leaving in May but Royal Caribbean canceled the cruise and offered us either a refund or 125% cruise credit. We asked about the loan.
Christopher Elliott, the travel troubleshooter
In May, Royal Caribbean issued a cruise loan of just $ 1,260 – $ 841 less than the $ 2,101 promised by the cruise line. I called on three different days and spoke to representatives to request a refund and an explanation of how our cruise credit was miscalculated.
Shortly after finishing the phone call with the last representative, I received an email notification from Royal Caribbean with a new credit of $ 1,681 (that’s 100% cruise credit).
Royal Caribbean refuses to explain the incorrect calculation of the cruise credit and will not refund our cruise. We believe a refund from Royal Caribbean is justified. Can you help us get a refund?
– Rich Kanuchok, Baltimore
REPLY: Like most other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean offered a full refund or 125% cruise credit after the pandemic. You have chosen 125% cruise credit. In a perfect world, Royal Caribbean would have allowed you to change your mind and get a full refund. But once you have decided to take the loan, the usual terms and conditions apply. The most important of the terms is the expiration date: you have two years to use the cruise credit. Here are the other rules: www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/topics/onboard-cruise-credit-offer.
Royal Caribbean should have offered you the full 125% cruise credit quickly. But in the chaos of mass cancellations, it didn’t. They asked your travel advisor, the shipping company, and finally the shipping company’s executives to give you the full 125%. But the results were the same.
Should you be able to change your mind about a refund if Royal Caribbean doesn’t deliver what it promised? I think that’s debatable. One thing is certain, however. The shipping company must either give you the full 125% cruise credit or a refund.
I like the way you handled your case. You started with your travel advisor, but then escalated directly to the cruise line and then contacted the executives. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of Royal Caribbean managers on my consumer page at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/royal-caribbean/. They also put down almost everything in writing that enabled you to trace the correspondence between you and the shipping company. Good work.
In the end, it was up to Royal Caribbean to issue you a refund. I contacted the cruise line on your behalf. It sent you the promised $ 2,101 cruise credit through your travel agent.