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BuckeyeMark

What should I tell my group - we're supposed to cruise in Oct

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I've got a big group of folks going to Israel and Greece at the end of October on Explorer.  We leave from Rome.  Our final payment is coming up and there are a LOT of concerned folks, including me.  We need to make some decisions but that's not easy to do right now.  Can you help?

 

Obviously no one knows what will happen or what things will look like in October.  However, I'd be interested in informed opinions on what might happen, how RCL will handle this, chances the cruise is entirely canceled, etc. 

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Any chance you can take advantage of Royal's shift and lift?

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8 minutes ago, PhoenixCruiser said:

Any chance you can take advantage of Royal's shift and lift?

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They aren't even showing the cruise in 2021 so I guess not...  Cruise with Confidence helps but I think a lot of my people won't want to make a final payment if they are going to tie up a lot of money in RCL. That may be funds they need now or could use to vacation in other ways. They'll use it to save a no-refund deposit but wouldnt' want to add to it.

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I thought that you could now transfer the deposit to another sailing without issue? Hopefully one of the TA's will respond.

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Hello BuckEye Mark,

 

It is a bit impossible to predict what will happen in the Fall, but... Questions to consider:

 

When is your final payment due?

Have you made/paid for air arrangements yet for your cruise?  

Did you use a travel agent or book independently with the cruise line?

Did you get a special group rate vs. individual rates?

Is your deposit fully refundable?

If the cruise line drastically changes the itinerary, would group members be upset? (Air travel could also be affected)

 

 

If you follow the news you will see that Greece has been very successful in fighting off the virus, but currently requires 14 day quarantines, as does Israel. Both countries want to reopen to tourists, but flights are not yet regularly operating. Italy is still struggling to open.  No one can yet predict how those countries will deal with cruise ships. If they have to cancel, it may be likely that RC may announce the Fall cancellations later in the process than is comfortable as they are trying to restart cruising this summer.

 

The lift/shift policy has some restrictions in terms of rebooking for the following year, and if that does not work because RC has not yet published its calendar, you would want to perhaps opt for FCC, OR ask them if they will have a similar itinerary and guarantee your group space on that sailing.

 

You need to have a discussion with your group to gauge their comfort level, not just with traveling, but also with waiting for cruise line decisions, rebooking, final payments, air arrangements, itinerary changes, health worries, and so forth.  If you used an agent, that person should contact RC and ask about the various options for your group.  It is a more difficult process because you have multiple personalities of travelers, and there may not be one right decision that is good for everybody.

 

Best wishes!

 

 

 

 

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I would seriously think about cancelling, and moving the TA until maybe next year.

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7 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

Cruise with Confidence helps but I think a lot of my people won't want to make a final payment if they are going to tie up a lot of money in RCL.

And there lies the rub.  I don’t like what’s going on. 

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Posted (edited)

We were booked on the same Explorer Holy Land cruise and the following Transatlantic. I don’t think they are likely to happen, and even if they do - we don’t want to be on a long-haul flight to Europe or take a chance on missing ports. Our deposit for the Holy Land cruise was refundable,  so we cancelled it 2 weeks ago. We used “Lift and Shift” to move the Transatlantic cruise to the Oct. 28, 2021 Odyssey Transatlantic. 
 

I have read of at least one person successfully using Lift snd Shift to move the Explorer Holy Land cruise to the Sept. 19, 2021 Odyssey cruise with a similar itinerary. Odyssey also has a similar cruise in May 2021: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruises/?dates_maxDate=09%2F30%2F2021&dates_minDate=09%2F01%2F2021&departureCode_ROM=true&destinationRegionCode_EUROP=true&itineraryPanel=OY12ROM-1179499524

 

If moving to a 2021 cruise isn’t of interest, and your deposits are not refundable - the only way to get a cash refund is to make the final payment and hope RCI cancels. But by the time the final payment is due in late July - you’ll have s much better idea of whether any RCI ships are sailing in Europe this fall. 

Edited by NancyIL

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We're on Explorer out of Rome leaving August 30, with a final payment date of June 1.  Three week total trip with other Italy land locations before and after the cruise.  We only have a deposit down so far.   I believe there's a 99% chance that we won't be on the ship, but I'll wait to the last minute and cancel right before final is due.  I still think it's possible (not likely)  that the cruise may happen.  I'm equally/more concerned with whether Italy will allow people from the US into the country at that point.  Even if the cruise is a go and we're allowed into the country, there's still the question of whether we would be better off waiting.  Will the cruise experience, and especially our time in Rome, Florence, Venice, still be as enjoyable? I've got 10 days left to make the call, but we've already accepted that we will need to cancel.

 

My advice...tell you're group that you will wait until right before final payment before making a final decision, but that they should expect that the trip will be cancelled.  If they haven't already done so, they should start mentally preparing that they won't go.  Maybe you'll get lucky, things will all break the right way, and your trip will still happen, but I don't think that's likely.  Unless everyone in your group can afford it, I would not make the final payment and have all of that money tied up.

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Last three international cruises, an "issue" was happening at the same time, or around the area of my trips.  I monitored it, and just kept planning.  No one can tell you about September, but my guess is that by July, you will start to see international travel happening again.  My opinion, is that it is way too early to worry about it. 

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This is a bucket list trip.  If it were me I would, send the info on the Odyssey October 2021 sailing

to the  group and see if they would be interested in lifting and shifting.

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8 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

I've got a big group of folks going to Israel and Greece at the end of October on Explorer.  We leave from Rome.  Our final payment is coming up and there are a LOT of concerned folks, including me.  We need to make some decisions but that's not easy to do right now.  Can you help?

 

Obviously no one knows what will happen or what things will look like in October.  However, I'd be interested in informed opinions on what might happen, how RCL will handle this, chances the cruise is entirely canceled, etc. 

When is your final payment?  I have a November cruise booked and mine isn't due until mid-August.  I'm holding off to make a decision about what I want to do for a while.

Mine is just a Caribbean cruise and I understand yours has more moving parts to it, but can you just hold off for a few more weeks before you decide?

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This is all very helpful.  And I appreciate the kind tone of everyone's comments.  We really are at a loss for what to do ... have planned this trip for a year and spent a lot of time working with it, booking special excursions, etc and now ... looks like it is not happening.  Sigh.
 

I didn't know the Odyssey was doing this itinerary in 2021.  I'll look at that.

 

Final payment date for us is July 1.

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I'd say it's 50/50 at best. We booked for January 2021. I feel more certain of that. i just didn't want to get all invested in an early fall cruise and have it fall through like our April one. but the risk is low. If they cancel you, they cancel you and you get a credit or your money back.  and can push the booking out.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, BuckeyeMark said:

This is all very helpful.  And I appreciate the kind tone of everyone's comments.  We really are at a loss for what to do ... have planned this trip for a year and spent a lot of time working with it, booking special excursions, etc and now ... looks like it is not happening.  Sigh.
 

I didn't know the Odyssey was doing this itinerary in 2021.  I'll look at that.

 

Final payment date for us is July 1.

 

Final payment is due to RCI 90 days before departure. If you are on the Oct. 25 Explorer Holy Land cruise, then RCI needs your final payment by  July 27. If you booked with a travel agency, they want the payment earlier so it gets to RCI on time - but they shouldn't need it almost 4 weeks before the cruise line requires it.

 

If you want to try to Lift & Shift it to the late September 2021 Odyssey cruise - the L&S has to be done by August 1st. You'll want to do it any way before the final payment is due.

Edited by NancyIL

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19 minutes ago, BuckeyeMark said:

This is all very helpful.  And I appreciate the kind tone of everyone's comments.  We really are at a loss for what to do ... have planned this trip for a year and spent a lot of time working with it, booking special excursions, etc and now ... looks like it is not happening.  Sigh.
 

I didn't know the Odyssey was doing this itinerary in 2021.  I'll look at that.

 

Final payment date for us is July 1.

 

Note that the only 12 night itineraries are in September. Note that they only spend 1 day in Jerusalem. The September 19th date is just outside of the 4 week L&S window, but Royal may make an exception as it's very close and there are no other options.

 

If I were in your shoes, I would call and ask about the possibility. The issue is lack of consistency. They may say yes today, but no tomorrow, which is not ideal for groups.

 

I was in a situation where I organized a family cruise (5 cabins) for Christmas 2020. I organized the shift to 2021, but had to temper expectations. The new itinerary added Coco Key, which has been used for denials, and they did away with the cabin category (8D balcony) on the new cruise, which could also be used for denials. It's hard convincing groups of people to all move in unison and saying it may or may not be approved.

 

In your case, look at prices too. The current prices have Odyssey being cheaper, but you may have got a lower rate than the current rate on Explorer.

 

PS: our L&S went fine, we all got the exact cabins we had (moved from Allure to Harmony) and they had no problem with the category shift.

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If you cant lift and shift and protect the price you can move the deposits to another date without penalty. Sorry but I dont think I'd take the group and fly out of the country.

 

My poor travel agent been moving my cruises until his fingers are probably falling off. 

 

So you can 1 lift and shift and keep your price

 

Or 2. Move deposits to another date even if your deposits are non refundable. 

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Obviously, a wonderful cruise with beautiful and meaningful ports-of-call. A difficult decision made even more burdensome when it involves a large group of folks and the expenditure of large sums of money. If everyone is on the same page, then collectively it would be a warm-tummy-feeling for all, no matter the decision. A kind of "we're in this together" scenario. If there are conflicting thoughts, then perhaps the group decision becomes a moot point and everyone does their own thing. There is no right or wrong decision. Only one of personal satisfaction.

 

I have cancelled an end-of-October cruise. I firmly believe it will not go and I did not want to tie-up a large final payment plus airfare for several weeks. That made me feel good and hopefully I can cruise that itinerary another time. Whatever you decide, there will be trepidation. I believe the decision(s) must work for everyone.

 

When next you cruise, only the best of times.   

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Someone on the Explorer Holy Land cruise roll call (post 1159) did the Lift and Shift to the Sept. 19. 2021 Odyssey cruise: 

 

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We were also supposed to be on these cruises along with the TA. I cancelled the TA and moved the Israel cruise to Odyssey OTS Sept 19, 2021 using the lift and shift.

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Me? I would assume the trip isn't happening and make plans on that basis. On the slight change Italy, Israel and the cruise line are all up and running by October, there are bound to be tons of restrictions... both on the ship and off. For a bucket list trip, better to delay a year. 

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We were in a similar position with an Alaska cruise in July 2020 that was booked 18 months out. We have 17 people going.

 

Our final payment date was April 6th and we were not comfortable paying in full at that time, with so much uncertainty around the virus, the state of international borders, the future of RCL, etc. It was simply too much money to be out. So, we moved our deposits to the same itinerary in July 2021.

 

Of course, when Lift and Shift later came out, I was ticked off that it wasn't offered earlier and we couldn't have taken advantage of it. To give some perspective, the total cost of the cabins we had booked for July 2020 was just over $20K. There were several price reductions we were able to take advantage of over the 18 months leading up to the cruise, and we thought we had a great price locked in. When we moved to July 2021, the total cost was just over $30K. It was a tough pill to swallow, but we had all been looking forward to the trip for so long, we didn't want to cancel or switch itineraries, so we held our noses and moved to the more expensive date. Now, a couple of months later, our rate is locked in around $23.5K, because there have been several price reductions we've been able to take advantage of. Not as good as our original price, no, but I'm still glad we didn't pay in full and have all that money tied up with RCL for so long. I'm cautiously optimistic that we will sail in 2021, but there's still a lot that can go wrong between now and then, so I'm happy to only have the deposits paid out so far.

 

Back to your cruise... my hunch is that October 2020 is too soon for a sailing with so many international ports.

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3 hours ago, tallgirl97 said:

Now, a couple of months later, our rate is locked in around $23.5K, because there have been several price reductions we've been able to take advantage of. Not as good as our original price, no, but I'm still glad we didn't pay in full and have all that money tied up with RCL for so long.

 

I'd guess that your cruise will have further price drops and you may get back to the $20K neighborhood.  I believe that cruise lines will still need to offer attractive rates through 2021 to build back their customer base.

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My husband and I hit the cancel button on several cruises recently.  Our rule of thumb right now is this:  if we are flying and cruising without a vaccine in us, then it's a bad idea.  

 

I have my doubts about Italy and Greece being opened enough for you and your group to really enjoy them.  

 

I would cancel and hold the deposit money as an FCC, and look at the same sailing next year, or even a back-to-back on the same ship to get 2 itineraries combined.

 

Be safe. Think hotels, airports, flying, eating out, people touching your stuff.  Get yourselves vaccinated, THEN travel.

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