Royal Caribbean International is increasing the required, non-refundable deposits for suites for all bookings reserved on or after June 1, 2023.
The fleetwide change will make suite deposits 10% of the cruise fare, rather than a flat rate, regardless of the total fare price. How will this affect bookings for these highly popular staterooms, and what about bookings made prior to the change?
Suite Booking Deposits to Increase
In an announcement made to guests in the cruise line’s loyalty program, Royal Caribbean has confirmed a change for its booking deposit policies for suites on all ships, in all sailing regions, and for all upcoming cruises.
“Beginning June 1, 2023, Royal Caribbean is adjusting the deposit requirement for new suite bookings confirmed on or after this date. The new suite deposit requirement will be calculated as 10% of the cruise fare per guest and is applicable fleetwide,” the announcement reads.
This is a change from the current flat-rate deposit fee of $200-900 (USD), depending on the cruise length.
The only time the standard flat-rate deposit fee will apply to suites is if the 10% calculation would be less than the standard amount. In that case, the required deposit will remain at the standard fee.
Because most suite cabins have much higher fares than non-suite staterooms, this could significantly increase the deposit amount for bookings. Because these deposits are non-refundable, that can be a sizeable financial commitment for interested travelers.
Furthermore, the new policy also applies to Junior Suites, which will also have non-refundable deposits for new bookings on or after June 1, 2023. Guarantee suites will also be covered under the new policy.
Deposit requirements for the different balcony, oceanview, and interior staterooms are not changing at this time. Those deposits remain at a flat rate and refundable under the appropriate conditions, if cancelled 90 days or more prior to setting sail for cruises 5 nights or longer, or 75 days or more prior to setting sail for cruises from 1-4 nights in length.
The fee change does not apply to bookings made prior to June 1, regardless of sailing date, even if those bookings are changed in the future. If the booking is cancelled, however, and new booking is made on or after June 1, the new deposit rate will apply.
Upgrading to a Suite
Another change is if guests book a non-suite stateroom, such as a balcony or oceanview, pay the standard deposit, but later upgrade to a suite.
After June 1, because suites will no longer be covered under the flat-rate deposit policy, guests will be required to pay the difference in the deposit amount at the time of upgrade.
For example, if guests booked a $2,000 stateroom and paid a $250 deposit, but later upgraded to a suite that has a $4,000 fare, they would be required to pay the difference in the deposit amount: 10% of the $4,000 fare is $400.
The original $250 deposit would be deducted since it was already paid, and guests would then have to pay an additional $150 to complete the deposit for the suite.
Protecting Suite Bookings
While there has been no official explanation for this policy update, there could be several reasons behind the change.
First, the higher non-refundable deposit amounts bring more cash into the cruise line, helping with financial stability in a fluctuating economy, when debts amassed during the industry-wide shutdown are still a concern.
Second, because suites generally sell out very quickly, the increased deposits could ensure only those travelers who are committed to sailing will arrange the booking.
This will eliminate the practice of making bookings only to cancel them closer to the sailing date, when it can be much more challenging to sell more expensive staterooms.
Will higher deposits stop you from booking a suite? Share your thoughts on the Cruise Hive boards!