First of all, cruise fares on Royal Caribbean ships are flexible and fluctuate based on the following:
- Dates of sailing – some weeks are higher, some are lower,
- Number of people traveling,
- Ship – Harmony of the Seas is more, older ships are less
- Guest’s age – senior tariffs (55+) may be available on some sailings but not guaranteed,
- Status with Crown and Anchor Society, loyalty program for Royal Caribbean International,
- State of residency – discounts for residents of some states and provinces may be available,
- Discounts may be available but not guaranteed for: military personnel (active duty and retired – see below for more information), police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technician (EMT), airline employees and friends and family members of travel agents,
- Stateroom category – not all staterooms with balcony are created equal,
- Current promotion and sale.
Cruise Pricing is Confusing
Cruise pricing is complicated. It is hard to compare apples to apples nowadays when Royal Caribbean runs different promotions with 30% off, ‘Buy one, second 50% off’, and et cetera.
When you compare apples to apples, you will find that cruise prices between sellers tend to be similar. This is because Royal Caribbean doesn’t allow discounting and firmly controls pricing.
All suites with exception of Junior suites and stateroom with occupancy more than two guests are taken directly from Royal Caribbean’s inventory. No one can hold them for resale.
‘I Saw online for $50 Less. Why?’
Non-suite staterooms on double occupancy may be taken from Royal Caribbean’s inventory for resale as a group. In this case, you may find an agency that may sell them slightly less compared to prevailing tariff. This is because agency locks tariffs when took those staterooms out of inventory.
Disadvantage of booking into group, even you don’t belong to any group is unwillingness of agencies to adjust tariff in case of price drop. Adjusting group tariffs to price drop may be a time consuming procedure for the agency because they have to work through group department at Royal Caribbean.
That is why is important to have your original confirmation from Royal Caribbean to see if your reservation belongs to a group or not. You can see group number just on top of your reservation.
Another indication that your reservation belongs to the group is unwillingness of travel agency to send you confirmation from Royal Caribbean with deposit or final payment applied. This is because reservations in group are composed differently than individual reservations.
When pricing will be the same as on Royal Caribbean’s website?
When agency, including online agency (yes, they are the same agency as mine but without physical presence for a general public) don’t have a group on that particular sailing.
Royal Caribbean International doesn’t allow agencies to have groups on each sailing.
- All suites from Grand Suite and above are priced exactly the same all over the Internet because every agency takes suites from the same inventory.
- All staterooms for three and more guests will be priced in the same way because they are taken from Royal Caribbean’s inventory.
‘They Give Me Additional Onboard Credit!”
Yes, this is the common practice for online agencies and some agents to compete on additional perks. In some cases, onboard credit comes from the group you associated with even you don’t know about this.
Occasionally, we receive additional perks from consortia we belong. This became more rare in last year due to the fact that Royal Caribbean decided to give onboard credit by itself.
As a partner with Royal Caribbean, my agency does exactly the same as they do: the same price, the same sale, the same onboard credit.
We don’t follow bandwagon of online agencies and some of our competition: purchase onboard credit and additional perks out of our commission.
Yes, are you surprised? All perks to motivate customers, in most cases, are came from travel agents’ commission.
We beat our competition in old-fashioned way: we provide service and spent time with each client when they need us the most.
We don’t tell cruisers to call Royal Caribbean in case of concern. We call. We write. We stand behind them and try our best to solve their problems in their favor.
We change names, sailing dates, ships, staterooms, adjust price drops without asking about any fees. Exactly as Royal does. We understand that life is more complicated and not all our plans work as desired.
One of my clients postpones her vacation since 2012. She put her deposit in 2011 and can’t take a week out of her busy schedule. I change her reservation on yearly basis. I hope that she will be able to take care about herself in 2017.
So, make your informed decision: if you need service in old-fashioned way, welcome! My team and I will be happy to see you among our clients. Our phone is 772 335-7017. We are open from Monday to Friday and on call when you travel.