A Closer Look: Royal Caribbean May Sale


Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Royal Caribbean May Sale fits right in with a renewed focus here on value; getting the most out of your travel funds.

Helping travelers get the most out of every dollar they spend, we bring news of outstanding sales, discounts and ongoing promotions, from a variety of service providers. By air, land, sea or river; when advantageous offers are announced, we take a close look, scouring through the fine print to see what it is all about, then pass them along for your consideration.

Royal Caribbean International has two deals this month, one for sailings in 2014 and one for sailings in 2015 and into 2016. Both are textbook cases of how very well the cruise line that consistently delivers the Wow works with travel professionals, your very best bet for booking and insuring the best travel value.

May Onboard Credit Deal – Up to $400 Onboard Credit
As with most offers that include the words “up to” in the title, that $400 teaser in Royal Caribbean’s May offer is for top end accommodations; in this case, Grand Suites or higher. Still, while good news for those booking a small percentage of the total staterooms on any Royal Caribbean ship, this promotion offers something for everyone else as well.

Applicable Sailings: Any, Six Night Or Longer, all ships except Quantum of the Seas
Booking Window:  May 7 -31, 2014
Ship Must Sail- Between July 1 and December 31, 2014
Break It Down
$50 onboard credit per interior or oceanview stateroom;
$100 onboard credit per Jr. suite or stateroom with balcony;
$200 onboard credit per Grand Suite or higher category stateroom.

Interestingly, book a sailing in the normally high-demand December holiday season and the cruise line doubles that credit, regardless of the category cabin sold.  That’s where the $400 top prize for booking comes from.

Bonus Deal: Double that onboard credits, up to $400, for all eligible sailings between Dec. 15 and Dec. 31, 2014

Now what does this mean?  Perhaps one of three things

  1. This is another in a series of usual and customary promotions.  Like all other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean too is constantly promoting their version of a cruise vacation, hoping we will pick theirs over some other line’s product.
  2. Bookings through the end of the year, especially December holiday sailings, are light and money talks.  Adding a generous amount of onboard credit may indeed encourage buyers to choose Royal Caribbean.
  3. Prices have been raised and those who watch prices also watch for sales to maximize their travel funds.

Should you care which one?

Not really.  Use a travel professional to be sure we get the best offer, one that will revisit the booking from time to time, passing along savings when new, applicable promotions come along and call it a day.  Still, readers frequently ask/wonder if a cruise line is in trouble financially or not offering a product that keeps consumers coming back for more when an offer like this comes along.

Royal Caribbean offers a variety of pricing options year-round for most sailings, granting discounts based on a number of factors. Some are stackable, others are not.  Important here for past guests and those who watch such matters is a bit of a shift from Royal Caribbean’s steadfast rule of “one offer per booking” the bane of bargain watchers and a pain for loyal Crown and Anchor members. The trick is that consumers looking through the Royal Caribbean website for pricing can’t always see all of the promotions for which their booking qualifies, but travel agents can.  This is one, serious reason to have the services of a travel professional at our disposal, one that will dig deep for the best value now, and further down the road if and when other offer s become available.

Combinability On This Offer:
Offer is combinable with standard/full fare rates and restricted rates (for example, Seniors, Residents, Military).
Offer is not combinable with any other offer or promotion, including, but not limited to, weekly Sales Events, Crown & Anchor Discounts, Shareholder Benefits or Next Cruise offers, promotions, or benefits.

No Cheating
In the world of cruise booking there are few events more frustrating than booking a cruise one week then seeing a better deal the next for which we do not qualify.  Our best advice:  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Using a good travel professional to find the best offer at the time we are ready to book reduces the odds that will happen.  Travel pros know in advance when sales and promotions are coming up…but often not much in advance.

In the case of this and many other promotions, the fine print specifically prevents us from canceling and rebooking in order to get a better deal.

After the Offer Period, the Offer will be removed from the booking if the guest cancels and reinstates the booking, applies a fare change, or changes the ship or sail date of the booking; certain other changes to the booking may also result in removal of the Offer. Offer applies to new individual and named group bookings only. Offer available to residents of the United States or Canada. Offer subject to availability and change without notice, capacity controlled, and may be withdrawn at any time. Royal Caribbean International reserves the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update fares, fees and surcharges at any time without prior notice.


May Future Cruise Sale, 2nd Guest Half Price
This one is rather simple but has it’s own set of fine print to consider as well

The offer:
Looking far into the future, Royal Caribbean has half price cruise fare on the second guest when booking a 2015 or 2016 sailing. We like this one because it encourages travelers to plan far ahead, a buying strategy that offers some distinct advantages including having a far greater selection of staterooms from which to choose.  Still, this one can be a bit tricky.

Applicable Sailings: All ships except Quantum and Anthem, all sailings
Booking Window:  May 1-31, 2014
Ship Must Sail-  Jan 1, 2015–Apr. 30, 2016


Break It Down: 50% off cruise fare of second guest booked in the same stateroom as a first guest who books at full fare
The trick here is going to be getting the best fare for the first guest.   This is one good reason to keep on top of and track pricing prior to booking.  Cruise lines commonly shift pricing to make up for what they appear to be giving away.  For example, say we identify a sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas that is priced at $1000 per person for the balcony stateroom we would like to book.  That price has stayed steady for several months and Royal Caribbean allows bookings on Oasis-class ships farther in advance than any others in the fleet, so we’re being patient, watching for a deal.   Now, this deal comes along offering half price cruise fare on the second guest.  Paying half for the second guest is a great deal if that $1000 price for the first person is still available, not so good if the price of the first person goes up to $1500.
That’s an extreme example not likely to happen but you get the idea; it’s all about the value.  Not a new concept to frequent readers here but one surely worth exploring for those not familiar with the idea that “value” is more important than “price”.
What we don’t want to happen is for readers to be on board, talking to other passengers with similar cruise histories and past guest status and find out that those other people paid far less for their cruise vacation.
Here again is where having an efficient travel professional in your back pocket can and does come in handy.