Royal Caribbean International has contacted select guests booked aboard an upcoming sailing on Wonder of the Seas with the unfortunate news that the cruise is oversold and their original stateroom bookings are not available. Guests have been offered an alternative, but not everyone may be happy with the option.
Wonder of the Seas Overbooked
In an email sent to impacted guests, Royal Caribbean International has informed them of the overbooking. “We’re sorry to inform you that due to an unexpected inventory error, your scheduled Wonder of the Seas December 11th, 2022 sailing is currently oversold in certain stateroom categories,” the email read.
The email did not note exactly which stateroom categories are oversold, and it is possible that more than one category is involved.
Wonder of the Seas has the capacity to welcome 5,734 guests based on double occupancy in a total of 2,867 staterooms. When fully booked with all berths filled, as many as 7,084 guests may be onboard.
Furthermore, the nature of the “unexpected inventory error” is not explained, but could be due to a number of factors, such as technical difficulties with the cruise line’s booking engine or website, miscommunication for group bookings, or other causes.
This is similar to another recent Royal Caribbean International oversold situation that occurred for a sailing aboard the Vision-class Rhapsody of the Seas in August.
The affected Wonder of the Seas cruise is a 7-night sailing from Port Canaveral, departing on Sunday, December 11 and visiting CocoCay, the cruise line’s private island destination in The Bahamas, as well as St. Thomas and St. Maarten, before returning to Port Canaveral on Sunday, December 18.
Options for Impacted Guests
Guests whose bookings have been affected can choose a couple of options to compensate for the oversold error. Royal Caribbean is offering guests to move to an interior stateroom for the same sailing, leaving December 11. If guests choose that offer, they can still take the cruise they’ve planned, with all the amenities of the largest and newest cruise ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.
Guests who do choose to move to an interior cabin will also receive a 100% refund for their cruise fare – even though they will still be taking the cruise, albeit in an interior cabin rather than their originally booked stateroom.
The only costs not refunded would be applicable taxes, fees, and gratuities. “Which means you practically get to sail for free!” the email explained.
Guests will also still be responsible for any other onboard purchases, such as drink packages, spa reservations, specialty dining, and shore tours.
The special offer to sail for a $0 cruise fare (after the refund) is only available for a limited time and is subject to availability. There is no indication of how many interior cabins are still open for this particular sailing, which departs in just five days.
Guests who choose this option must submit their current booking details no later than Thursday, December 8, via a special survey link. Calling the cruise line or working through a new reservation will not be possible to make this change.
Oversold reservations that are successfully submitted for this special offer will receive a phone or email confirmation and updated reservation information.
If many people respond to accept the offer, not every interested guest may be given the special deal. Instead, they would remain booked in their original stateroom with their original cruise fare as if no oversold situation had existed.
Cancelations Still Possible
Guests who prefer to remain in their original stateroom are not required to move to an interior cabin, and no guests will be forced to move without purposefully accepting the special offer.
If enough guests accept the offer to change their staterooms, no other action will be necessary for additional guests and everyone will set sail. If, however, there are not enough booked guests willing to move to interior staterooms, some guests may not be able to enjoy their cruise vacation.
After the December 8 closing date for the special offer, “oversold bookings on Wonder of the Seas may be canceled,” the email explained.
While no further details have been revealed of what may happen if additional staterooms must be canceled, it is highly unlikely that guests would receive much compensation beyond a refund of their canceled cruise.
Certainly, guests who do not accept the special offer for the December 11 sailing would not receive a nearly free cruise fare.
There may be many reasons why individual guests would prefer not to accept the offer, and every guest should make the decision that works best for their cruise vacation plans.
With a bit of luck and enough guests interested in a very unusual deal, Wonder of the Seas will have plenty of room for everyone to set sail next week after all.