Celebrity Cruises has contacted their customers advising them of a change to future cruise credits (FCC) by removing the limitations on dates where a future credit can be used which will now be indefinite.
At the same time, the cruise line is killing the 25% Bonus they offered to customers when choosing the FCC over an outright cash refund though customers can use the existing bonus credits on their balances until the end of the year as initially offered.
This will most certainly make a lot of cruisers happy who chose the option to cancel their cruise voluntarily and received a voucher rather than losing their entire payment per cancellation policy.
Celebrity Cruises informed customers through email about this new feature:
Dear Valued Guest:
It’s the official start to summer and we’re entirely focused on providing the best, much-needed vacations at sea.
We want to ensure that you are able to join us, traveling when you are ready and able to.
That’s why we are so pleased to share with you that, as of today, we are removing redemption and sail-by date parameters from your Future Cruise Credits!
Here are some additional details:
The portion of the FCC value that represents 100% of the cruise fare paid on your original reservation will no longer expire.
The incremental 25% bonus value that was provided will expire on the original expiration date or on 12/31/22, whichever is later.
FCCs remain combinable.
We’ll keep your expiration date in the system as-is, so you know when to use your bonus. Then the day after your current expiration date passes, your credit will be updated to reflect the new value and the never-expiring extension. Your FCCs will be automatically updated to reflect these new terms.
It is our sincere hope that this adjustment provides you full flexibility to book your next Celebrity cruise vacation and from a wider selection of sailings.
Should you have any questions, please reach out to us here.
This is just one of many ways we are focused on delivering the best experience for you and we can’t wait to welcome you aboard!
I think this is a fair solution and will also take the workload off the cruise line to deal with these hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of FCC’s with a bunch of different expiration dates. The logistics of that are likely a nightmare to deal with.
Customers who in the past had a cruise canceled by Celebrity and instead of opting for a cash refund chose to get an FCC because they were lured by the promise of an extra 25% on top of the purchase amount might feel miffed that their bonus component is going to expire on December 31st but they shouldn’t be.
It was rather foolish to forego getting all the cash back after cancellation and instead opt for a voucher. Look at what happened to Crystal Cruises that went belly up. Any kind of credit previously issued by them is now worthless.
I love a good deal but over the years I have learned that sometimes it’s better to err on the side of caution and take a full refund whenever I’m eligible for one. Whenever I had a travel plan canceled by the provider during the pandemic I always requested a refund and if they weren’t forthcoming I initiated a chargeback with the credit card company.
Interestingly, Royal Caribbean (the mother company of Celebrity) had a totally different approach and that isn’t quite as customer-centric.
As published on the Royal Caribbean Blog RCCL will now (from June 1, 2022) keep full deposit if you cancel your non-refundable cruise fare.
There are two types of deposits a guest can make when booking a cruise: refundable and non-refundable.
Travel agents were alerted of the new policy change regarding non-refundable deposits. There is no change for guests that book refundable deposits.
Beginning with reservations made on or after June 1, 2022, if a guest were to cancel their non-refundable fare, the full deposit amount will be withheld by the cruise line. Any additional payments made will be refunded.
If a guest elects to change their original ship and/or sail date, then a change fee of $100 per person will apply.
The Future Cruise Credit component is being discontinued and will no longer apply when canceling under this policy outside of the final payment period.
Instead, the deposit amount will be withheld in-full.
Guests booked prior to June 1, 2022 are protected under the prior policy terms. Guests who booked a non-refundable fare prior June 1, 2022 can elect to request a Future Cruise Credit in the amount of the deposit paid per guest, less the $100 fee.
Again, this is for any sailing booked after June 1, 2022. Any trip booked before that is still subject to the earlier terms and conditions.
Guests that booked a non-refundable fare before June 1, 2022 can request a Future Cruise Credit in the amount of the deposit paid per guest, less the $100 fee mentioned above.
And it gets even worse for their premium passengers traveling in Suites. A few years ago Royal Caribbean instituted a policy that its suites would only be available on a non-refundable basis.
Prior to the non-refundable fares, suites would be booked up early by cruise fans and later decide if they would sail or not. To deter the practice of dumping suites closer to sailing, Royal Caribbean changed suite fares to non-refundable.
With this change, booking a suite well in advance comes with additional risk if you choose to cancel later, especially considering the deposit amount of suites tends to be higher than non-suite rooms.
Even though I have Diamond status with Royal Caribbean Crown & Anchor Society through their liaison with Celebrity Captains Club Elite these conditions RCCL put in place here are more a deterrent to me than an actual enticement to book a cruise with them.
Right now I’m booked solid with Celebrity for the coming 12 months even though I have two more free cruises to take advantage of. Let’s see if I find something attractive. I typically book flexible casino promotional fares that either have a very low base rate or are even comped. As such I’m not impacted as much by the new rules however I do feel for folks who spend big bucks on their cruises and in the end have to cancel for one or another reason.
Even more important is to think about separate insurance coverage in case you’re impacted by something that could be taken of that way.
Celebrity Cruises has restructured the way their future cruise credits work that have previously been issued to guests which is a big improvement and will allow customers to let those credits sit for a long-term, future use. I’m actually surprised that Celebrity got themselves into the position of making FCC’s valid indefinitely which might be a drag on their balance sheets for a long time.
Meanwhile, their owning company Royal Caribbean made some rather nasty changes to their own cancellation policies that are impacting customers rather negatively.