I have just been to a travel agent, You Travel. I was told that a $200 deposit was required by Royal Caribbean to both book a cabin and to see what the cruise was then offering on their website. I was taken back to find the majority of eating places charged for the privilege, including eating steaks. This cruise line also charged for the majority of onboard entertainment. In the space of four days I cancelled this cruise because I found this unacceptable. I then found that this deposit was non refundable as it had been paid to Royal Caribbean. My angst is that unless you pay this deposit you can not find out what you are actually getting from Royal Caribbean in terms of what things cost on this cruise ship. The question is; Am I being unreasonable in asking for the the $200 deposit back? Who has this $200 actually been paid to?
Welcome to the Community @Ziggaty
Rule one when putting a deposit down on anything is to read the T&C before putting the deposit down.
Some travel agents work on pure commissions and some on pure retainers (non-refundable) and others, both. It reads like the agent you chose does one or both of the latter.
It appears you ‘bought into’ the cruise without knowing about it, excepting the price. Being required to put down a deposit without a full itinerary with inclusions and exclusions should be a red flag.
It depends if it was a retainer or a deposit against the price AND what is stated on the T&C you agreed with by placing your deposit.
As information for others who might read your topic, feel free to name the agent as well as the cruise line so they can be made aware.
Edit: The OP has since been updated with more information.
Hi @Ziggaty, welcome to the community.
This isn’t the case. Cruise information is readily available on their website…
Using this information, cruises can also be booked directly on their website.
Different cruises and cabin classes will have different inclusions/exclusions, and why it is important to understand what is being offered before committing to a booking. One also needs to understand what is wanted and the cost of exclusions if one buys services/products on board.
The $200 is a non-refundable booking fee which is common in the cruise and travel industry. The $200 secures the booking, usually for full payment when the booking is confirmed.
I can not help but feel that I got conned into paying this in order to view the Royal Caribbean site where they lay out all the pricing. BTW if they do not give you the terms and conditions, how are you meant to read them?
@Ziggaty, It appears you might be in NZ. Is that the case? As an Australian ‘Community’ our avenues for resolving issues with businesses are not always applicable to other jurisdictions.
Under the assumption You Travel would be
By asking. They will always be available even if not obviously where.
edit: If it was a ‘short fuse’ departure it is possible (whether probable or not) that one needed to consult the cruise web site to see the exact cruise details - cruises often are modified in real time to account for known weather, natural disasters, operational problems, or conflicts in or around potential ports of call. Could being advised of that possibly have caused confusion? (/edit)
If you were pressured into paying a deposit by an agent using a claim you needed to do that to see the details of what you were buying or that aspect was misrepresented by the agent, ‘conned’ might be the correct word, BUT if you made assumptions a deposit was required to see the cruise details it should be written off as an educational experience.
You could lodge a dispute with You Travel first, and then
You Travel identifies as a member.
If they refund anything it would be a goodwill gesture unless you can demonstrate with documentation they did not act in good faith.
Plenty to take in. One needs to look around the site to find content. It’s important to read the fine print and follow the asterisks etc. The non refundable booking deposit is also mentioned in the FAQs. There’s a sandwich or hamburger discretely sitting in the top LHS of most web pages. It disappears as one scrolls down the page.
Looking to the FAQs may help answer some questions.
What did not come to hand was a pricing schedule for the onboard activities, drink prices, cover charges at alternate venues etc. These may be tied to a particular cruise. I did try to book a cruise, but by the time it got to filling in all my personal details and other guests for the booking that content had not popped up.
The experience of attempting a booking with Caribbean is different to booking an international flight with any of the major carriers. If one thing stood out “marketing the product” appeared to be prioritised over objectively delivering important information.
Choice and other sites add little question mark/help bubbles to its review content to offer convenient and relevant links to related information. Others provide fixed headers, side boxes or linked footers to each step/choice. Selling a cruise is selling an experience. It looks very much like a product that one can best evaluate through a short 2 day cruise tester, video promotion or detailed list of questions.
Caribbean provide several contact options on their web site to assist with any questions a prospective customer may have. How that goes, it’s likely there are a number of cruise fans in the wider Choice Community who could share how they book and what to know or ask?