RCL Brands Liberalize Cancellation Timing With New "Cruise With Confidence"
More than 4,400 travel advisors listened on Saturday afternoon as Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean International, Dondra Ritzenthaler of Celebrity Cruises and Carol Cabezas of Azamara, did an online trade conference call to explain the new "Cruise with Confidence" policy that the brands introduced early on Saturday.
"We know that there's a virus out there, and I actually want to say there's two viruses out there," said Freed. "There is, of course, the very serious coronavirus, but equally as serious, is the virus of fear." She said the new "Cruise with Confidence" policy can help clients overcome that fear and have confidence when selecting a cruise with any of the RCL Group brands.
With COVID-19 adding uncertainty to travel plans around the world, she and the other leaders talked about how Royal Caribbean Group is giving consumers greater control over their vacation decisions, allowing guests to cancel cruises as late as two days prior to the scheduled departure
Ritzenthaler thanked trade partners for their support, and then described the "new and temporary policy." She described it as "extremely generous."
Essentially, it's designed to help bookings stick and give guests confidence that their vacation investment will be protected by giving them more time before opting to go, or not go, on a booked cruise setting sail prior to July 31, 2020. "We really want to motivate you all to get them to stay," Ritzenthaler said.
Only 48 Hours Notice Needed
“Cruise With Confidence” allows guests on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises (which RCL has a 67 percent stake in) to cancel up to 48 hours before a sailing. Guests will receive a full cruise credit (FCC) to use on any future sailing of the guest’s choice in 2020 or 2021. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.
“Our previous policy set earlier deadlines for guests to cancel their cruises, and that added unnecessary stress,” said Richard Fain, the company’s chairman and CEO, in a press release issued the same day as the trade briefing. “Trying to guess a month or more in advance where areas of concern about coronavirus might be is challenging for medical experts, much less a family preparing for vacation.
“When circumstances are as fast-changing as they have been recently, it’s good to know you have the option to take a rain check,” Fain said. “We think putting more control in our guests’ hands helps them make informed decisions about whether to keep their existing vacation plans or trade out for a more convenient time or itinerary.”
In addition to easing concerns for booked guests, Fain said the policy would also give consumers more confidence in making new bookings, knowing that they could later adjust their plans without penalty. The policy applies to all cruises on all four brands with a sailing date on or before July 31, 2020.
by Susan J. YoungMar 9, 2020 9:22am