Royal Caribbean Changes Shore Excursion Cancellation Policy

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In case you haven’t heard, Royal Caribbean has sadly changed their cancellation policy related to shore excursions. It used to be that once you were on your cruise, you could cancel a shore excursion without penalty up to 24 hours before arrival in the relevant port.

As we have future cruises and shore excursions already booked, I’m disappointed that Royal Caribbean didn’t think it important enough to warrant notifying us. I actually found out in this short blog post on the Royal Caribbean blog dated June 13, 2017.

According to this blog post, which gives just two days notice, as of June 15, 2017, shore excursions must now be cancelled 48 hours before port arrival to avoid the cancellation penalty.

The blog indicates that excursions booked before June 15, 2017, can still be cancelled without penalty up to 24 hours before port arrival, so the new policy will only affect excursions booked after June 15. I understand the reason for the change and have no inherent problem with it. I also appreciate that already booked shore excursions will still have the 24 hour period honoured. However, it’s disappointing not to receive any kind of official communication from Royal Caribbean about this change.

Or was it just me? Did anyone receive any official notification about the modification to the policy? I’d love to know if you did and if it is likely to affect your cruising style? For us, we usually book our excursions on another cruise, so we get 10% off (find out more about how to do that in my blog post here), then we are all set and don’t change them. Occasionally we might book a last minute one on board the ship, but that is a rare occurrence. It’s not common for us that we change them. I know for some though, like my father-in-law, who suffers chronic fatigue and often doesn’t know if he will be unwell until the 24 hours before the excursion, it means it’s more likely he will get hit with a penalty if he is sick.

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Travel Money & Currency Conversion: We use both Up Bank and Wise for the best currency conversion rates with support for Apple Pay and Android Pay plus excellent in-app customer support while you are travelling.

Flights: We check a few sites for different prices. Travelling from Australia, I always check Qantas directly for reward flights, but otherwise, I check and compare the cost of flights with SkyScanner. It’s always worth checking alternative routes and days, especially where there are multiple stopover options or nearby alternative airports.

Accommodation: We usually book through Agoda as we find their prices are the lowest and cancellation policies + loyalty benefits work out the best. We also use Airbnb from time to time.

Car Rental: We use AutoEurope to compare rental car prices with all the big international brands like Europcar, Budget, Hertz and Avis. We usually end up using Avis or Europcar as they offer the best deals (make sure to check their current offers for bonus discounts) and both maintain their vehicles well with relatively new fleets.

Tours & Activities: We generally try to book activities through one of these third-party sites ViatorGet Your Guide & Klook due to their flexible cancellation policies (saved us a lot of money trying to travel post-COVID) and price guarantees (often better prices than booking direct). We also book through Red Balloon on occasion for more unique Aussie and NZ activities.

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Who Am I?

Matt in Noumea

Matt works sort-of full time running his digital marketing business, TerraMedia. In his spare time though, he loves to travel with his wife, so they usually end up doing a lot of it.
Home is Australia, and while they don’t spend all their time travelling the world, Matt and his wife like to take the time to really explore and get to know a place, even if that means spending a lot longer there than normal tourists might.

You can read more about Matt and his story HERE.

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