Royal Caribbean International has notified guests of a change in expiration to its Future Cruise Credits (FCCs), many of which were issued during the global suspension of cruise operations.
Now, rather than sort out confusing and conflicting dates, the cruise line has declared that fare value FCC credits will never expire, giving guests much greater flexibility for their future travel plans.
Most Credits Will No Longer Expire
In an email sent to guests with outstanding FCCs, Royal Caribbean International announced the removal of expiration dates for the fare-price credits. The bonus amount above fare credits, however, will still expire on the original expiration date.
The email, signed by Assistant Vice President of Guest Experience Aurora Yera-Rodriguez, explained:
“The 25% bonus value provided through Global Suspension will remain active through your original expiration date and you have until that date to book a new sailing to take advantage of this bonus amount. Once your expiration date passes, your bonus amount will inactivate, however the FCC value associated with funds held in penalty will remain active and will never expire.”
“Funds held in penalty” refers to the fare price paid for a cruise, which becomes a “penalty” if a cruise is canceled too close to the sailing date.
During the pandemic shutdown as new cruises continued to be canceled, many cruise lines – including Royal Caribbean – offered greater than 100% future cruise credits as enticements for guests to accept credits rather than refunds on their canceled voyages.
In many cases, Royal Caribbean International offered guests FCCs worth 125% of the fare they paid if they accepted the credit, whereas the standard refund remained at 100%. Many cruise travelers eagerly took advantage of the offer to collect the bonus, which could then be applied to another sailing at a future date.
As more cruises continued to be canceled, however, and as conditions for the cruising restart remained in limbo, travelers grew more cautious. Growing economic turmoil and less virtual work flexibility has also made it challenging for some travelers to redeem their credits, especially if they accrued several FCCs from multiple canceled cruises.
Many of the FCCs are set to expire in the next few months, when many guests have not yet been able to redeem their credits. With the expiration date now removed, loyal travelers have more options to redeem their FCCs when they are better able to book a cruise vacation.
This change follows a similar change to FCCs made in February, when Royal Caribbean removed the book by/redeem by dates on Future Cruise Credits, though at that time the FCCs still expired if they were not booked before their original expiration dates.
The extra 25% bonus amount will still now be lost if guests do not apply the FCC to a new booking prior to the expiration date, but the original vacation investment will not be lost.
This new policy also applies to FCCs through Royal Caribbean’s sister line, Celebrity Cruises.
Computer Updates to Still Show Expiration
In order to protect the original FCC amounts in the existing computer system, guests have also been notified via a follow-up email that there will be an expiration date still entered into the computer.
“Our systems still require an expiration date on file, so in the next few days we’ll update our records to reflect an expiration date far in the future – rest assured these credits do not expire,” the email read. “No action is needed on your part, we’ll take care of everything for you!”
Guests should be aware of this so they fully understand how and when to use their Future Cruise Credits, and not be startled to see an expiration date still associated with the credits.
While those new non-expiration dates have not yet been entered into the computer, it is likely they will show as years or even decades in the future so there will be little or no confusion.
Not All FCCs Impacted
Guests with unredeemed Future Cruise Credits should be aware that this new non-expiration policy only applies to credits offered in certain situations. FCCs offered under Royal Caribbean International’s “Cruise With Confidence” policy are included, as are the fare FCCs offered during the global sailing suspension – but not the extra bonus credit.
Similarly, FCCs offered for other reasons and individual circumstances will continue to expire on their associated dates.
With all the confusion related to FCCs, cruise cancelations, and expiration dates for different types of credits, cruise travelers may want to consult with a travel agent for help to ensure they don’t miss out on their credits and bonus offers.