Guests booked aboard the May 20, 2023 departure of Caribbean Princess recently received a “Move Over Offer” that may indicate a possible overbooking situation.
The generous offer included several price protections and extra credits for guests willing to shift their travel plans at the very last minute.
Caribbean Princess Last-Minute Special Offer
Princess Cruises reached out to guests booked aboard Caribbean Princess departing on May 20, 2023 about a “special FREE cruise offer” to urge travelers to shift their date to an alternate cruise, but the offer was made just 24 hours before departure.
The impacted sailing is a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise, visiting Princess Cays, San Juan, Grand Turk, and the Dominican Republic.
The limited availability offer is quite generous – 100% of the cruise fare back as refundable onboard credit for the new, alternate 7-night Caribbean cruise, with up to two years to re-book the sailing. Credit that is not spent during the new cruise would be refunded back to the guest after that cruise ends.
In addition, airfare booked through Princess Cruises would be protected, as would any amenities and packages purchased for the May 20 sailing, which would then be applied to the new cruise when booked. Up to $300 (USD) per person for “private travel expenses” would also be protected. Those private expenses would generally include separately arranged airfare, hotels, or tours.
“Please act quickly as this offer has limited availability and will be accepted on a first come, first served basis,” the email urged.
Why Was the Offer Made?
No explanation for the offer was given, nor any reasoning for it to be made just one day before the original cruise sets sail.
This is similar to offers made to Royal Caribbean guests on Allure of the Seas and other ships in recent weeks, when select sailings have been overbooked and guests are urged to shift their travel plans in exchange for generous compensation.
Caribbean Princess is currently homeported from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, the third busiest passenger cruise port in the world, behind Port Canaveral and PortMiami.
The large metro area of Fort Lauderdale and all of South Florida means a fair number of passengers may drive to the cruise port, which could make it easy for them to shift their travel plans for an enticing offer, even at the very last minute.
Because the shift offer is not limited to Port Everglades, interested guests could also alter their plans to other homeports. With two years to rebook, guests could even opt to sail aboard Caribbean Princess from November 2024, when the ship relocates to Port Canaveral, 200 miles (322 kilometers) north of Port Everglades.
It is possible that cruise lines are making such last-minute, generous offers in an attempt to ensure ships are sailing at 100% or greater capacity, perhaps by booking “guarantee” cabin rates where staterooms are not assigned until the last minute.
If too many of these unassigned cabins are sold for a specific cruise, that sailing becomes overbooked and it will be necessary to make great offers to encourage guests to shift to a different travel date.
With generous enough incentives – refunds, onboard credit, price protection, etc. – guests with flexible travel plans are sure to take advantage of what can be great offers.
Caribbean Princess is a Grand-class ship, with the capacity to host 3,142 passengers at double occupancy. There is no information available about how many guests may be offered this special deal, nor how many acceptances will be made for the first come, first served arrangements.