Another Oversold Royal Caribbean Cruise – What’s Different?

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Yet another Allure of the Seas sailing may be oversold, as Royal Caribbean International has reached out to booked guests with a “special offer” to entice them to change their travel plans.

But something very significant is different this time compared to recently oversold cruises – what is it?

Allure of the Seas Special Offer

Guests booked aboard the May 21, 2023 departure of Allure of the Seas have received email communication about a special offer, described as “pretty sweet options” for flexible guests.

“Ahead of your Allure of the Seas May 21st, 2023 sailing, we’re looking to see if you and your travel party have flexible travel plans,” the email reads. “If your travel plans are set in stone, mark this email as ‘Read’, and gear up for your upcoming adventure – although, there are some pretty sweet options below.”

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas
Photo Credit: BA Arts / Shutterstock

Unlike prior communications for previously oversold cruises – as recently as for the May 14, 2023 departure – there is no mention of an “unexpected inventory error” or specifically using the word “oversold.”

The intent is the same, however – to offer guests enticing compensation if they’re able to switch their cruise vacation plans to a different vessel or a different sailing.

The impacted cruise is a 7-night roundtrip voyage from Galveston, departing on Sunday, May 21 and visiting Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel, before arriving back in Texas on May 28.

The Options for Booked Guests

The special offers are enticing indeed, with multiple choices to encourage guests to take advantage of the unique (or not so unique, with how often this has been happening) opportunity.

The first offer is a 100% refund of the booked Allure of the Seas sailing, plus a $300 onboard credit per stateroom to move to a select Voyager of the Seas sailing, also departing from Galveston.

The replacement cruises are only 5-night sailings, however, and visit only Costa Maya and Cozumel. The July 10 and July 15 Voyager of the Seas departures are available for this offer.

Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship
Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Mark Anthony Ray / Shutterstock)

This option gives guests a full refund of their booked cruise, a free transfer to Voyager of the Seas (guests must still pay for taxes, fees, and gratuities) in a similar stateroom, and $300 of a non-refundable onboard credit.

The second option is to transfer to either the July 30 or August 6 departure for Allure of the Seas, which are both identical to the May 30 sailing date.

This offer does not include any refund or onboard credit, but if the new cruise is a cheaper rate, the price difference will be refunded back to the original form of payment.

The third option is to cancel completely, with a 100% refund of the booking. As an added incentive, guests who select this option will also receive a 100% future cruise credit (FCC) for any future Royal Caribbean sailing.

The amount of the FCC will be equal to the fare paid for the now-cancelled cruise, and will be valid for any sailing departing through May 15, 2024.

Royal Caribbean Galveston Terminal

For all options, Royal Caribbean International will also reimburse guests for non-refundable, pre-purchased travel expenses such as flights or hotels.

“Please note that this special offer is time-limited and subject to availability,” the email concludes. “If you’re happy to be excluded from the special offer, please disregard this email – no further action is required.”

Interested guests must reach out via a special survey to indicate their preferred option, but doing so is not a guarantee that they will receive the offer.

If interested travelers are not contacted by Royal Caribbean by May 18, they remain booked on the original cruise with no further compensation or adjustments.

New Booking Strategy?

With these “special offers” applying to so many Allure of the Seas sailings in recent weeks, speculation is high about why. An “inventory error” could be an explanation for one cruise, maybe two, but this is becoming a regular occurrence.

The oversold cruises are not just on Allure of the Seas, either – Wonder of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas have also experienced similar situations.

Could this be a new booking strategy by Royal Caribbean International to ensure ships are sailing at above 100% capacity? Or are there deeper issues with online booking engines, group sailings, or even charter reservations that may be impacting stateroom availability?

The fact that the latest email language does not mention an error may indicate a new approach to cruise reservations, or could simply be a way to make the communication more encouraging to invite passengers to accept the offers.

Only time will tell if future cruises continue to be impacted and more special offers extended to additional guests.

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