Royal Caribbean: Give Us $800 Or Find Another Ship

Royal Caribbean told Mary Hoefs at check-in that her family wouldn’t be allowed to board unless they paid $800 on the spot, even though Mary had paid for the cruise in full four months earlier. Royal Caribbean later refunded $400, but why did they choose to kick off Mary’s cruise with extortion? The answer, inside…

[Royal Caribbean’s] records indicate that this booking was not created in-house, rather, through a travel agent. During the booking process, the guests from Texas were booked as being residents of West Virginia – with a promotional discount that was being provided to residents of West Virginia at that time. When the guests were unable to provide government issued ID that showed they were residents of West Virginia, the discount had to be removed, thus, the additional charges.

In other words, Hoefs’ family had used a discount that can only be used by West Virginia residents. When they couldn’t prove they lived in West Virginia, they had to pay a fare difference.

I shared this information with Hoefs.

I paid for the two from West Virginia $1,787, which was the “special rate.” The family from Texas, I paid $3,275. And from here in Arizona, the price was $3,275. So the Texas family did NOT have a special rate. Regardless, I booked and paid in full on December 16th, 2008, the cruise was not until March 14th 2009. If there was a discrepancy, they had plenty of time to notify me before rather then wait till we were standing in line to board the ship. If they did not feel they were in the wrong, then why did they return half of the $800?

Tripso recommends confirming that you are actually eligible for any discounts appearing on your itinerary, which yeah, is definitely good advice, and not just for cruises. Unfortunately, when an obstinate travel company demands money at the start of the trip, you really only have two options: walk away, or pay up and dispute the charge later.

“Pay an additional $800 or you can’t board the ship” [Tripso]
(Photo: Rennett Stowe)