May 19, 2018.
Do you use the Royal Caribbean (RCI) website to do your own bookings online, or to check prices by doing a dummy booking? If so you need to pay attention or you might lock yourself into a cruise with a non-refundable deposit.
Some time ago the cruise line changed its booking policy and made all suite reservations non-refundable and then extended this to offer both refundable and non-refundable options for non-suite cabins. Up until a few days ago, when you booked a cruise online and selected a cabin category, two prices appeared on the screen. One for non-refundable and one for refundable. You then picked one and moved on to complete the booking.
However, earlier this week I started seeing posts on social media and in cruise forums asking if RCI had eliminated refundable deposits. I investigated and discovered that the company hadn’t eliminated them, but had changed the booking screens so the pricing you see for your cabin category is only for the non-refundable deposit fares. It now looks like this image. ( I don’t have an image showing the old screen but it would have shown two prices, side-by-side).
The new booking screens now have you fill out all the information such as name, contact info, birthdate, and then when you get to the screen for choosing dining time, insurance, prepaid gratuities, they have added a new checkbox that allows you to change to a refundable deposit. It looks like this:
I don’t agree with this change, because at this stage of the booking process a person can look at the above check boxes as a way to “run up the check” and unless reading closely they might skip over them. What would you think if you saw a box that wanted to add (in this example) $222 to the cost of your cruise and then also wanted to take away $50 in onboard spending credit? So you say no and move on to the final screen to enter credit card info and boom, you have just made a booking with a non-refundable deposit.
So, my advice to you is to slow down and read each screen very carefully.