This weeks cruising lesson "always check the price before final payment." I booked a couple of December cruises onboard Ovation a few weeks ago. Given that these were peak time sailing in Australia, they were definitely on the high side of expensive. As with all Next Cruise bookings I paid a small deposit to secure the booking.
With final payment now due (and overdue) on the two cruises I decided to see what the current rate was for my bookings. Both cruises have now dropped in price significantly (> $1,000). I called Royal and wondered if they would change the price. On the cruise with payment now due, the customer service officer was happy to submit the booking to the powers that be to have the price reviewed. I am now expecting a revised final amount $1100 less that the original booking.
The 2nd cruise is proving a little more troublesome. As final payment is now overdue (but they haven't cancelled the booking yet), they are unable to amend the price. Given the current online prices are significantly less (-$1300 for the same room -$1100 for an upgraded cabin) I requested an upgraded cabin. I have found dealing with the bookings, upgrades etc with Royal Caribbean to be some of the worst experience a person can have on the phone. The staff are polite and read their scripts very well. But if you are proposing something off script the whole thing falls apart and decision making is not something that the CSO's are allowed to do. And it is almost?impossible to speak to someone who is empowered to make decisions.
Case in point. I have booked an balcony with obstructed view, at a price of x. The current value of the same room is x - $1300, one category higher is x - $1000, and the category above that is x - $900. But as final payment is overdue they won't reduce the rate to match. So the CSO recommended I go with the upgrade path, and transfers me to the Loyalty CSO.
The loyalty CSO tells me I can upgrade to the better cabins at my original booking price (ie x) + $500 or $900 respectively. I explain that this makes no sense, that I can cancel my booking and re-book it at the significantly discounted offer and only lose my $200 deposit. The Loyalty CSO acknowledges that I could do that, but I would lose all the benefits I had at the time of booking (ie my onboard credit). Even losing that amount and forfeiting my deposit I would still end up saving $500+ depending on which room I book. But as I will be onboard Explorer of the Seas on Friday, I will be able to rebook with all benefits still in tact, and the only amount I lose is the deposit. The CSO again acknowledged that I could do that. But that the Loyalty department was unable to help me, and couldn't upgrade me, and offer the current listed rate.
So to finalise - price check your cruise before making final payment, hold off final payment until close to the final due date. BUT don't let the due date pass without taking action.