With cruise travel continuing to rebound in the new post-pandemic phase of operations, Royal Caribbean International has continued its “Royal Comeback” with impressive charter operations since the restart.
Charter cruises can be a great opportunity for groups, businesses, and organizations, and a fun way to join with other cruisers who share common interests and passions!
Royal Comeback Charters
A charter cruise is a sailing when a cruise ship is “sold out” to a special group or organization. This might be a business function, a reward for corporate employees, or a group cruise for music fans, television show themes, craft groups, or other interests. Many lifestyle cruises, such as gay cruises, adults-only sailings, or church cruises are also often chartered.
While this does make that one cruise unavailable to passengers not affiliated with the designated group, this is a great way for larger groups to ensure a dedicated setting for their special event.
Since the restart, Royal Caribbean International has sailed 10 full-ship charters. Four have been aboard Voyager-class ships, three aboard Oasis-class, two aboard Freedom-class, and one aboard Radiance-class.
These 10 sailings have welcomed 26,754 guests for a combined 57 nights onboard, sailed a total of 20,434 nautical miles, and facilitated 2,280 conferences, meetings, or workshops.
All of these sailings have been repeat business with groups that have previously chartered sailings aboard Royal Caribbean vessels, which shows the satisfaction with these events and how successful and popular they can be.
Additional full-ship charters are already in the works and available for booking through the associated organizations. Now that the full Royal Caribbean fleet has returned to sailing, interested groups can contact the cruise line or a preferred travel agent to discuss options for their own charter sailings.
Charters for Charities
While it may seem that charter cruises are simply fun getaways for those involved, they often include a charity component. This might be part of the fees the organization charges for booked guests, donations made onboard at meetings or events, fundraising efforts associated with the cruise, or other options.
Since the Royal Comeback restart, more than $4 million has been raised for a variety of charities.
This makes charter cruises not only a great option for both the cruise line and the company or organization booking the charter, but also for a wide variety of affiliated charities.
What Happens to Other Guests?
Cruise lines work hard not to displace already booked passengers in lieu of a charter sailing. According to Royal Caribbean’s FAQ about full ship charter sailings, for example:
“Royal Caribbean International does not typically consider Full Ship Charter requests within 12 months of the requested sail date and/or for those sailings booked above a pre-determined threshold. Charter should be planned at least a year in advance.”
The cruise line recommends this advance planning to allow ample time to promote the charter and ensure sufficient bookings and interest in the event.
In some cases, however, it is possible that booked guests may have their sailings canceled due to a charter cruise. This happened in April with Navigator of the Seas, when the October 21, 2022 sailing was canceled because of charter arrangements.
If this happens, the cruise line notifies impacted guests as soon as possible. Guests may have several options to choose from, including replacement alternative sailings, the ability to shift to a different itinerary, or a full refund, depending on the circumstances.