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So they changed our itinerary....

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Have Empress of the Seas booked and have for quite a while.  The MAIN draw for this cruise was it was going to two ports we have not been to, Puerto Plata AND Virgin Gorda.  So got a notice yesterday that Virgin Gorda had been scratched and Tortula was substituted in its place.  I've been to Tortula and really wasn't interested in going back.

 

So what recourse to I have?  Of course this cruise was booked with a no-refund deposit.  Can I now cancel the cruise and have the deposit refunded to me?  Can I change cruises to a DIFFERENT Royal Caribbean cruise with no change fee?  I'm afraid I'll just have to swallow the itinerary change OR forfeit the $500.

 

Thanks for you help!

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You won't lose the entire deposit if you cancel or change, you would only lose $100 per person and the remainder would be given to the guests as a Future Cruise Credit to be used within 1 year of the cancellation.

 

You can try to get Royal to waive the $100 loss and apply that to a different cruise, but I don't suspect they will go for that.

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My understanding is only $100 pp is truly unrefundable, and the rest can be saved as cruise credit and used for another cruise.  Hopefully others will chime in to confirm.  

 

I am am sorry this happened.  I am in the exact same boat, and booked Empress 1/2021 for its unusual itinerary.  I will move my sailing to a different ship.  

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I would think that for the $100 per person lost for changing sailing/ship, one could either take the ship's excursion to Virgin Gorda or go there independently via ferry from Tortola. 

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If you reconsider and sail on this cruise, you can still get to Virgin Gorda easily as we do often from Tortola

 

image.png.7dace8f533ea2213b54b48038a5fa414.png

 

It is basically 5 minutes easy walk to Ferry dock from Cruisedock. There they have I think 3 companies which run ferries to to Virgin Gorda. I think they charge around $38 for roundtrip which includes taxi from their dock in VG to Bath. Ferries are modern, A/C and have TVs.

I remember Speedy's, 

https://www.bviferries.com/

https://www.bviferries.com/virgingorda-excursions  but there are several more.

 

https://www.bviwelcome.com/ferries.php

Smith's and I remember when we arrived to Ferry station last March we used not Speedy's or Smith, but some other line I don't see in the list. Anyway, there are plenty of ferries going that way and back.

 

My recommendation is .. if you see a group from the ship, try to go through caves before or after them. It can be crowded with large groups.

Edited by Tatka

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You read your contract that states that ports aren't guaranteed and enjoy your cruise.

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28 minutes ago, 1025cruise said:

You read your contract that states that ports aren't guaranteed and enjoy your cruise.

 

In this case I would disagree with this "law" as some ships like Empress are book mainly due to itinerary, but of course contract is a contract.

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17 minutes ago, Tatka said:

 

In this case I would disagree with this "law" as some ships like Empress are book mainly due to itinerary, but of course contract is a contract.

It is always advised that if you really want to go somewhere, don’t cruise there.

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2 minutes ago, mjkacmom said:

It is always advised that if you really want to go somewhere, don’t cruise there.

 

I know.. I just think Royal could be sympathetic and give some discount for this change, as I am reading many various posts on this matter. People booked it due to this itin, otherwise they could be on completely different ship. Discount could be then used to that ferry tour I described above. Just a nice gesture.

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Just now, Tatka said:

 

I know.. I just think Royal could be sympathetic and give some discount for this change, as I am reading many various posts on this matter. People booked it due to this itin, otherwise they could be on completely different ship. Discount could be then used to that ferry tour I described above. Just a nice gesture.

 

We had this issue with our upcoming Alaska cruise, which we booked based on RC's advertising for the port stop at Glacier Bay (which was a new stop for RC, so they were promoting it heavily with a one-sheet ad just for those sailings). They opted not to finalize their contract with the National Parks Service and cancelled the port stop for Glacier Bay instead. I wrote emails to everyone up the customer service chain of command asking to have the $100 per person change fee waived so we could switch to a more suitable Alaska itinerary, but they refused to do anything. I wouldn't expect any nice gestures or sympathy on their part.

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I had a week on grandeur, three stops. Wound up being anchored up in Chesapeake bay 2 days. Only really made one stop, Coco cay. 

I say only really one stop because we stopped in nassau for 2 hours in the middle of the night. Just long enough to charge us port charges. 

There are no guarantees in cruising so you need to be flexible. 

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Mother Nature nailed us last year. We booked the Harmony Eastern Caribbean because we had already done Costa Maya and Cozumel (twice) and wanted something new. Alas Tropical Storm Karen said hello and guess were we ended up again! That said we had a great cruise and I tend to think most cruise ports are crud pits designed to fleece you anyhow. We didn't even get off on Perfect Day! The kids had their own perfect day on the pool deck with no-one around!😀

 

I think the comment that if you really want to go somewhere don't cruise is most apt! I agree though that if the cruise if far out they could be a bit more customer friendly rather than a cash grab!

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1 hour ago, suesnake2002 said:

I had a week on grandeur, three stops. Wound up being anchored up in Chesapeake bay 2 days. Only really made one stop, Coco cay. 

I say only really one stop because we stopped in nassau for 2 hours in the middle of the night. Just long enough to charge us port charges. 

There are no guarantees in cruising so you need to be flexible. 

 

This is sad, but different.

Mentioned above cruise on small and old ship Empress is sold based on particular itinerary. It is changed not because of bad weather or even mechanical failure, but some other reasons before this cruise yet customers cannot change cruise without a penalty.

 

We are booked on Empress for Bermuda. We have more comfortable choices with Celebrity Summit or NCL Gem for example, but we are booked because Empress sails to St Georges and Hamilton (different ports than West End) and stays 4 days 3 night unlike larger ships. If this is changes not due to the weather or other unexpected reasons I will be really disappointed. I am not "just happy to be on a cruise". Just to be on a cruise I can be on more comfortable ships. I am sure OP meant the same.

Edited by Tatka

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5 minutes ago, Tatka said:

 

This is sad, but different.

Mentioned above cruise on small and old ship Empress is sold based on particular itinerary. It is changed not because of bad weather or even mechanical failure, but some other reasons before this cruise yet customers cannot change cruise without a penalty.

 

All ships are sold the same way.  I've never seen Royal promote any ship as being designed for the ports because it's an older amd smaller ship.  I understand that may have been played a part in your internal decision making process but show me where Royal promoted it that way. 

 

Don't book non-refundable fares if you want to be able to make changes.  Same with airfare, book fully refundable if you want the option to change or cancel without fees.

 

It seems like you want the cheapest fare (non-refundable) but you want fully refundable terms.

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3 minutes ago, Tatka said:

Mentioned above cruise on small and old ship Empress is sold based on particular itinerary. It is changed not because of bad weather or even mechanical failure, but some other reasons before this cruise yet customers cannot change cruise without a penalty.

Sorry i respectfully disagree. I consider grandeur an older smaller ship. And now a sold ship. "I" picked this cruise for the ports. It was important to us to make port Canaveral. We were to see father and mother in law. Dad had a 5 times bypass a few months before. And we were anxious to see him. 

Just because "I" booked a cruise for itinary doesn't make it advertised that way. Alot of people book grandeur for the port. We all have our reasons for booking a certain cruise. But in essence all we booked was a room on a ship. 

Two years ago I had splurged and booked a grand suite on harmony. I picked the week by itinary. Because at labadee I would get special treatment at the suite beach. Northeasters made it impossible for us to dock. We had a sea day instead. Does royal owe me a suite experience at labadee. ?Of course not!It is part of cruising. 

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5 minutes ago, suesnake2002 said:

Sorry i respectfully disagree. I consider grandeur an older smaller ship. And now a sold ship. "I" picked this cruise for the ports. It was important to us to make port Canaveral. We were to see father and mother in law. Dad had a 5 times bypass a few months before. And we were anxious to see him. 

Just because "I" booked a cruise for itinary doesn't make it advertised that way. Alot of people book grandeur for the port. We all have our reasons for booking a certain cruise. But in essence all we booked was a room on a ship. 

Two years ago I had splurged and booked a grand suite on harmony. I picked the week by itinary. Because at labadee I would get special treatment at the suite beach. Northeasters made it impossible for us to dock. We had a sea day instead. Does royal owe me a suite experience at labadee. ?Of course not!It is part of cruising. 


I know what Grandeur is. Sailed on her for two Christmas/New Years  (2017, 2018) and going on her in April.

 

I am not talking about money spent, we all splurge and do not like to miss the port.

However your changes were not planned by company. It was not bait and switch.

This one with Virgin Gorda clearly is.

If ports are changed long before cruise passengers should be able to switch itineraries without paying penalty fee.

Edited by Tatka

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Read the cruise contract. Ports can be changed for any reason. You're getting opinions you don't agree with. You need to stop justifying yours.

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You wanted Virgin Gorda but you are getting Tortola.  Someone else may be thrilled with this change.   I would be, I did Empress to VG last year.  

 

It's not bait and switch.  If you are an experienced cruiser you know this. 

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12 minutes ago, mets123 said:

Read the cruise contract. Ports can be changed for any reason. You're getting opinions you don't agree with. You need to stop justifying yours.

 

They can, but if they change is made longe before cruise it should be treated differently.

 

Otherwise you can buy cruise to Alaska or Mediterranean (more expensive) , next day company will change it to Bahamas and charge you penalty fee for trying to switch because of contract. Fair business practice?

Edited by Tatka

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20 hours ago, Tatka said:

 

In this case I would disagree with this "law" as some ships like Empress are book mainly due to itinerary, but of course contract is a contract.

I was also upset that VG was changes to St Croix. It is one of the few ports we have not been to in the Caribbean. They said we could change the cruise which is ridiculous as we have air to Florida  already booked. 
however, I was told that if enough of us complained they might find a way to compensate us. 

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9 minutes ago, Tatka said:

 

... trying to switch because of contract. Fair business practice?

 

Are you asking is it fair for a company to follow the contract that you willingly agreed to when you signed it?  Then, yes, that's fair.  They are doing what they told you up front, in writing, they were allowed to do.  You agreed to the contract of your own free will (no one is forced to cruise), so yes, it is fair for them to follow it.

Edited by acpalmer

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I think the OP is trying to express that this is a situation in which some leeway is warranted from a customer service standpoint, not that it is required under the contract.

 

For example, when all port stops to Cuba were cancelled, Royal gave a variety of options to affected customers on those sailings, including refunds, although it was a situation outside their control and they had no legal obligation to do so. So there is a precedent for providing compensation for cancelled port stops in the interest of customer service. But there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to how they make these customer service decisions, as evidenced by their handling of other similar situations.

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Just now, acpalmer said:

 

Are you asking is it fair for a company to follow the contract that you willingly agreed to when you signed it?  Then, yes, that's fair.  They are doing what they told you up front, in writing, that they told you they were allowed to do.  You agreed to the contract of your own free will (no one is forced to cruise), so yes, it is fair for them to follow it.

 

People signing contract aren't realize that changes are made only due to unfortunate situations on the cruise, but can be bait and switch.

 

I things like this can and should be challenged in court.

 

When Cuba was denied lines did not charge fees even though there were same contracts, right? Because they knew there will be outrage. How is this different? Less people affected?

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11 minutes ago, mets123 said:

You need to argue with RCCL, not us.

Agree... It's not "Bait and Switch" Have had move then 2 dozen changed Ports over the yrs, weather, Ship Maint, Ill Passengers. Royals changed Ports no known reason and even changed my Western Carib to CoCo Cay/Bahama/KW yr out. Is what is, many lines do it.

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