Royal Caribbean International caused confusion when it published a premium VIP package, The Premier Pass, on its website. The package promised unique cruise experiences for two guests, but the cruise line later retracted the offer, stating that it was not available.
The cruise line offered refunds to guests who had purchased the package. However, some guests expressed disappointment and frustration with the cruise line, feeling that a refund was not enough to make up for the mistake.
The Premier Pass Package
On March 11, 2023, Royal Caribbean International placed a new premium VIP package on its website called The Premier Pass. This was a package for two guests at the price of $88.99. It’s an identical package to what is offered by sister brand, Celebrity Cruises.
However, the excitement surrounding the new package was short-lived as the cruise line retracted the offer on March 12, stating that it was not available for its guests.
“We apologize for any confusion. Recently, there was an error in our online package booking system, which allowed guests to purchase The Premier Pass. Unfortunately, this product is not available for Royal Caribbean International guests.”
“If you purchased the package, a refund will be processed back to the payment type used at the time of purchase. Enjoy your cruise, and we look forward to seeing you onboard.”
The Premier Pass was advertised as a premium VIP package that included priority boarding, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the stateroom, an inside access tour, a meal with the ship’s officers, a food and wine pairing, unlimited internet access for two devices, and personal laundry service on board.
Although the cruise line apologized for any confusion caused and offered refunds to guests who had purchased the package before the error was corrected, the error did not go unnoticed on Twitter and other social media outlets. Royal Caribbean’s Aurora Yera-Rodriguez from Guest Experience also sent a letter to booked guests addressing a system glitch that mistakenly uploaded an online package.
Royal Caribbean has now removed the package from its website and provided a $50 onboard credit to those who booked it. Yera-Rodriguez said, “I really hope that you can forgive us and understand that it was an honest mistake. We will though provide you with a $50 USD Onboard Credit, which can be used pre-cruise to book packages and experiences via My Royal Cruise or use it anywhere onboard.”
Guests Not Happy With Royal Caribbean
The news that Royal Caribbean was not offering the package caused outrage among guests who had purchased it. Many took to Twitter to express their disappointment and frustration with the company.
One guest said that a refund was inappropriate in this situation and that the company needed to find a way to make it right other than just refunding the money.
Others suggested that those who purchased the package should be given at least the same value in the form of WiFi for two devices. Some guests felt that the company had engaged in false advertising and should honor the package for those who had purchased it.
It’s not the first time Royal Caribbean has experienced a technical glitch in the last couple of weeks. On February 2, 2023, the cruise line experienced a technical glitch on its mobile app. This resulted in sending safety briefing reminders to all booked guests, including those with cruises scheduled for months away.
The notifications instructed guests to complete their mandatory safety briefing at their assembly station within 30 minutes, regardless of whether they were onboard a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship.
In the aftermath of Royal Caribbean International’s retraction, the only winner is Celebrity Cruises. As the cruise line that the package was intended for, Celebrity Cruises received loads of free advertising for its Premium Pass VIP Package.