Royal Caribbean is back with their most popular promotion, the first official WOW Sale of the year, starting June 1, 2014. As with past WOW sales, cruise travelers who book a Royal Caribbean cruise during the sale gain exclusive benefits not offered at other times of the year. It’s a rather simple offer really that can be a good part of any travel buying strategy, but one that deserves a bit of thought before jumping right in to the party. We break that down for you, right now.
The Simple Deal
Book any Royal Caribbean sailing, on any ship (excluding Quantum-class) between June 1 and June 4 and pay half the normal deposit then get onboard credit varying with the length of the sailing. That’s $50 onboard credit per stateroom for sailings of 5 nights or less, $100 onboard credit per stateroom for sailings of 6 to 9 nights and $200 onboard credit for sailings of 10 nights or longer.
The Fine Print
For many cruise travelers, especially those who have never sailed with Royal Caribbean before, WOW Sales are a great way to get started. Still, knowing the fine print is important here and seasoned cruise travelers need to know there is a price to pay for this promo.
- The offer is not combinable with any other deal, ever. Most commonly disappointed: Past-guest Crown & Anchor Society Members who will not get discounted rates, Royal Caribbean International stockholders who will not get Shareholder Benefits and those who bought a Next Cruise deal while sailing. None of those apply to this offer.
- Cruisetours yes, Cruisetour onboard credits no. Those dreaming of Alaska on a Royal Caribbean cruisetour can indeed get that ball rolling for 50% off the price of the deposit. But with cruisetours that include onboard credit, no dice.
- No Changes Please Sneaky People- Apparently, Royal Caribbean has seen it all and knows some sneaky travelers will try to cancel a booking they made before this sale then rebook during the sale to get the benefits of it. That won’t work. The offer will be removed from the booking if the guest cancels and reinstates the booking or makes the lions share of other potential changes.
- No Changes Please Legit People too- Say another sailing comes along next month that you like better. Sure, you can change but you lose the WOW sale benefits. This is designed to encourage new bookings, right now and make them solid bookings that Royal Caribbean can count on, not some pipe dream that may never come to pass.
- Online Bookings Only- Your travel agent can do it for you or you can go to the Royal Caribbean website to book but no phone calls to the cruise line on this one, and rightfully so; this is a very popular promotion and Royal Caribbean’s phone lines are already clogged up.
There are a number of advantages to the Royal Caribbean WOW Sale not mentioned in advertising or the above fine print.
The Budget Conscious Love This
We are big fans of reduced deposits on cruise lines that might appeal to first-time cruise travelers. Paying half price deposit on a sailing a year or more in advance enables families and other typically budget conscious would-be travelers (future cruise addicts) to get their foot in the door. That deposit is still 100% refundable if the booking is canceled before the day final payment is due and having it be half the normal amount makes it much more palatable.
The half price deposit is also an excellent choice for those uber conscious about cash flow. Like the cash discount offered by Crystal Cruises for paying early, not tieing up that other 50% of the normal deposit amount for a long time frees up those funds to use elsewhere. In the end, the total cruise price must be paid by the final payment date.
No Price Protection But Not Set In Stone
Reading all of the above one might think this is a do or die promo that only the most committed travelers should buy, like a discounted airline ticket or last-minute hotel deal on Priceline. Not true. Should a better deal come along, a promotion with more value than what is received on the WOW sale, this can be canceled and rebooked or changed to the new, more advantageous promotion.
For example, say we buy during the WOW Sale for a sailing a year in advance (always the smart move) then have the opportunity to buy the same cruise with a better promotion a couple months later. We can do that, we just lose the benefits of the WOW Sale and will have to pay the rest of the deposit; money that would have to be paid eventually anyway.
BonaFide Reason For Using A Travel Agent
This, like all other promotions, is one great reason to run this booking through a travel agent. They have access to all the fares, all the time, often in advance and use detailed software not available to consumers to get the very best value, both up front and throughout the life of the booking. Seriously, browse around and do your best at finding the deal that looks like a winner, but let a travel agent make the actual booking. You’ll thank me later. Not sure how to find a travel agent? Email me, I have a bunch of them in my back pocket and one that will be a good fit for you.
What Would Make This The Perfect Sale
Adding price protection, ala Carnival Cruise Line‘s Early Saver Fare, would knock out half of those concerned that a better deal might come up later that would spoil the Wow party.
Not ready to buy quite yet? No big worries, Royal Caribbean will probably do another one of these later in the year. Still, for those on the sidelines, waiting for the right moment to jump in and see what cruise travel is all about, this might be the enabler you’ve been waiting for.