(2:50 p.m. EST) — Starting March 7, Royal Caribbean passengers who wish to cancel an upcoming cruise without penalty will have to do so farther out from the sail date than before. The new cancellation policy simplifies the penalty fee schedule, reducing the number of sailing categories from five to two: those of one to four nights and those five nights or longer.
Under the old policy, passengers booked on cruises of one to five nights could cancel up to 60 days before sailing without any cancellation fee. The new policy changes the sailing length to one to four nights (including short holiday cruises) and requires cancellation at least 75 days in advance of departure. Cruises of one to four nights canceled between 74 and 57 days out incur a cancellation fee equal to the deposit paid; sailings canceled 56 to 29 days out incur a fee of 50 percent of the total price, while those canceled 28 to 15 days out incur a fee of 75 percent of the total price and any cruise canceled within two weeks of sailings are not refunded at all.
The second tier of cancellations in the new policy includes any cruises of five nights or longer, including holiday sailings and cruise tours. (Under the old policy, cruises of six nights or longer, holiday sailings of one to five days, holiday sailings of six nights or longer, and cruise tours all had separate cancellation penalty schedules.) These sailings must be canceled 90 days before the departure date in order to avoid a cancellation fee; previously cruisers could cancel anywhere from 75 to 90 days before sailing, depending on which category of sailing it was. Cruises of five nights or longer canceled 89 to 57 days before sailing incur a penalty equal to the deposit paid, while those canceled 56 to 29 days or 28 to 15 days out incur penalties of 50 percent and 75 percent of the total price, respectively. As with the shorter sailings, any cruise canceled within two weeks of sailing are not eligible for a refund.
The new policy applies to all new bookings made on or after March 7, 2016.