The pandemic has forced a level of fluidity on Royal Caribbean's (RCL) - decision-making process that once seemed impossible. Covid caused the company to have to stop its operations from March 2020 through July 2021 and when it returned it was an ever-changing environment that forced the company to adapt from week-to-week as rules and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mandates kept changing.
As the cruise line was dealing with this challenging environment, it had to reassure its customers that booking was a safe option -- even when the specter of cancellations loomed. It created a number of policies designed to reassure potential and past passengers, but the most important was "Cruise With Confidence."
This program allowed passengers to cancel their cruise for any reason up to 48 hours before their sailing. If they did that, they would be issued a "Future Cruise Credit" (FCC) in the full amount of the purchase price. Passengers on sailings cancelled by the cruise line got an FCC that was worth 125% of their original cruise fares.
Royal Caribbean quietly ended Cruise With Confidence earlier this year, but many passengers were left with FCCs. Those cruise certificates had expiration dates and some people either did not want to sail for a variety of reasons (the pandemic being a key one) and others simply could not due to work or family considerations.
That meant that some people held FCCs that might expire before they could use them. Now, Royal Caribbean has made a change to the program that many people holding credits will be thrilled with.
Royal Caribbean Makes a Big FCC Program Change
It's easy to see why Royal Caribbean would want FCCs to have an expiration date. It's a liability hanging over the company that does not produce any new revenue. Now, however, the company has seen the bigger picture and (likely) decided that goodwill mattered more than having to deal with not knowing when people would use their credits to book a cruise.first reported.
"As of June 1, 2022, Royal Caribbean announced that all unredeemed future cruise credits (FCC) offered under the Cruise with Confidence program will no longer expire.," Hochberg wrote."...Prior to today's announcement, each credit had an expiration date when it had to be redeemed by, which gave some guests concern that they would lose out on the value of their money paid because they are unable or unwilling to cruise before the end of this year."
Royal Caribbean has not extended the redemption period for the extra 25% credit issued to people who had their cruises cancelled by the cruise line. Those credits will still expire at the original date.
New FCCs (which can be issued for a variety of reasons) still have expiration dates.
Royal Caribbean Passengers Will Love This
In a time where uncertainty has been a major problem, Royal Caribbean has taken away something that has caused some passengers anxiety. Nobody wants to lose money because they can't cruise for whatever reason they can't. This gives those passengers the ability to cruise at a later date.
There's also no guarantee that a past credit will equal the price of whatever new cruise someone hopes to book (that works both ways as a new cruise could also be cheaper than the original was). This move at least makes it easier for more customers to feel like they're getting a chance to use the money they paid if they can't cruise for an extended period of time.