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  1. We had over $1700 in Cruise Planner purchases when our cruise was cancelled on June 23rd. I was given the option of either a refund or 125% OBC to be used on a future cruise, so since we planned the same cruise for next year, we chose the OBC. That will more than pay for replacing what we had bought, and potentially could give us several hundred $$ in additional OBC if I can repurchase everything for the same as the original cost or lower. So, my advice is that if you plan to cruise again in the next year anyway, wait until they cancel the cruise and see if they offer you the choice of a refund or 125% OBC on your next cruise. Our offer was specifically limited to those cruises which were cancelled on June 23rd, but they could very well do it again. Unless you need the refund, there's no harm in waiting to see if you can increase it by 25% in OBC on your next cruise.
  2. As others have said, yes it does, but if you plan to book another cruise at a later date, you might want to wait to see if the cruise gets cancelled, in which case you may be offered the choice of either a refund or 125% OBC. Our cruise was cancelled on June 23rd and this was offered for all cruises cancelled on that date. We had drinks packages, photos, excursions, specialty dining, etc. all of which will be transferred to 125% OBC which we can use to buy those same things for our replacement cruise next September. The extra 25% can add up to several hundred $$ more for you to spend if you're able to repurchase the same items at the same prices you originally paid, more if you can catch a good sale and get them for even less.
  3. Please read above replies in Red Font. I cannot understand how (or why) someone would try to twist this into some sort of abuse that should then excuse other abuses, unless this is a reflection of their own habit that they assume others also follow. I find the implication that I encourage bypassing policy, extending to chair hogging, to be mean spirited and undeserved, not to mention a ridiculous stretch of the imagination. It's important to distinguish that there are two separate policies, not a single policy. Being given the two different packages when you call does not mean RCI is not following their own policy, or that the customers purchasing these packages are intentionally bypassing policy along the same lines as chair hogging. The policy when you call is simply a different, more relaxed policy. Rather than require all persons in the same cabin of legal age to purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package, the policy when you call requires that all persons in the same cabin of legal age who do not purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package must instead purchase the Refreshment Package. You cannot buy them the Soda Package or Water Package, or no package at all. This policy does help curb sharing, although to a lesser extent, since the Refreshment Package covers everything except alcoholic drinks. Drink sharing may still occur, but the losses are limited to alcoholic drinks, not the juices, specialty coffees, sodas, and water that the other person can just buy for themselves with their Refreshment Package. Contrast this to the losses that occur due to sharing when others aren't required to purchase any package at all, which would extend to the specialty coffees, juices, sodas, and water, in addition to alcoholic drinks. I do not condone drink sharing in any way, but believe the profit from the Refreshment Packages is probably high enough to greatly offset losses due to alcoholic drink sharing from those that do, or at least enough that RCI has determined the losses to be minimized enough to allow this different policy to exist. Certainly RCI would have already done a cost/benefit analysis and determined this policy would be more advantageous overall to both the customer and their bottom line. I can't say why the policy when ordering through the Cruise Planner is not the same. I can only assume that the over the phone policy is a relaxation from a time when there was only one policy that required all persons of legal age to buy the Deluxe Beverage Package. I further assume the software used in the Cruise Planner has not been changed to match, possibly due to the cost being higher than can be justified, given the limited cases where one person buys the Deluxe Beverage Package but the other does not. I wouldn't say failure to make the software match is intentional in the interests of maximizing profit from those who don't know they can request a different mix of packages if they call, but there is that aspect. I encourage others to call for separate packages when that's their best value, not to bypass the on-line policy, but to make use of the over the phone policy that RCI allows when that combination of packages best fits the customer's situation. Of course that assumes they're honest people who will not share the alcoholic drinks. Yes, that is not always the case, but we can't make all decisions based on the actions of the minority who are not honest. For the record, I am completely against Chair Hogging, for which there is a single policy that both RCI and customers have been seen ignoring. I have my own remedies to suggest to curb that, but won't go into it as I don't want this thread to be diverted into that subject.
  4. OK, so I will finally put this post to bed. I very much appreciate everyone's replies, but need to clarify a few things, then will let you know what RCI had to say. 1. What is the policy regarding who must buy the Deluxe Beverage Package? If purchased on line through the Cruise Planner, the description of the Deluxe Beverage Package says "Each adult of legal drinking age assigned to the same stateroom must purchase this package". However, many have said that if you call RCI to order the beverage packages, it's possible to get one person the Deluxe Beverage Package, and get the second adult in the room the Refreshment Package. In my case, I knew they would do this, but thought there had to be a good reason for the second person not being able to drink, such as for medical reasons, so that is the reason I gave. I wasn't asked, but I did volunteer that my wife could not drink a lot due to medical reasons to explain why I wanted to get one Deluxe Beverage Package, and one Refreshment Package. Many on this thread have said they neither offered a reason or were asked for a reason and were allowed to purchase one Deluxe Beverage Package, and one Refreshment Package. So, the policy seems to depend on whether you're purchasing on line through the Cruise Planner, or calling RCI to order over the phone. 2. Is it abusing or gaming the system if someone buys the Deluxe Beverage Package for one person, and only the Refreshment Package for the other, under the guise of the second person not being able to drink, but then the person with the Refreshment Package drinks anyway? I would say Yes, if the only way the second person were able to get the Refreshment Package instead of the Deluxe Beverage Package were due to medical reasons, or if that were falsely used as a reason to get the Refreshment Package for the second person and there were any stipulation that those using this reason could not later purchase alcohol. In my case, I did use that reason, and later reconsidered that perhaps she may like a drink with dinner. Yes, we could bring a bottle of wine on board, but don't want to bother with that, and she may want something other than wine. My thinking was that if she drank anyway, even if just one drink per day, and even if paid for separately from my Deluxe Beverage Package, since I was allowed to get her the Refreshment Package based on her inability to drink, this would possibly be abusing the system, but they never stipulated that she could not later buy alcohol. Yes, that may be implied, but since I would be paying for it separately, perhaps that would be OK. I created this post to try to determine where RCI drew the line on this and what the consequences may be. I wasn't trying to be misleading when I told RCI she could not drink, as her medical advise is not to drink at all, but she can drink one drink per day with no ill effects. More than that does make her sick. So, I wanted to see if she might still have the option to have one drink per day. To answer this question, it appears that since those ordering over the phone are allowed to buy the Deluxe Beverage Package for one adult. and only the Refreshment Package for the second adult, with no explanation necessary, it doesn't seem to matter at all if one did offer a medical reason for wanting to purchase this combination of packages. In short, if purchasing this combination of packages is permitted, even if only over the phone, then the person with the Beverage Package can feel free to still purchase alcohol if paid for separate from the Deluxe Package. If no explanation or reason is needed or requested, and no stipulation is provided saying the person with the Refreshment Package cannot also purchase alcohol, then there's no policy violation, and no abuse of the system. 3. Will those who do this cause RCI to eventually tighten restrictions and not allow any such exemptions in the future? Only RCI could answer this, but since their own policy allows this they're apparently not too concerned with some cabins not being held to the (on-line only) requirement that all adults of legal age in the same cabin purchase the Deluxe Beverage Package. The only remaining concern comes back to people sharing the Deluxe Beverage Package. If that continues to happen, then that could be a reason to eliminate all possibility of buying this combination of packages. However, keep in mind, it would not be because the person with the Refreshment Package drank anyway, but because the person with the Deluxe Package shared their drinks. I consider that stealing and have no intention of doing so. All of her drinks will be paid for on her Sea Pass card. 4. I agree with another poster that if they don't even bother asking for a reason to allow buying the second person the Refreshment Package, it's highly unlikely they'd make a note of any medical reason if it were offered, as in my case. As I said in my original post, we'd like the freedom to allow her to buy a drink if she'd like without feeling as if we're abusing the system or violating any policies and having to be sneaky about it. So, to play it safe I decided to simply call and ask about it. Here is a verbatim transcript of the call: RCI: Thank you for calling Royal Caribbean Guest Cruise Line. My name is (unintelligible), may I help you? Me: Yes, I have a question about the drinks packages. When we booked our cruise we got the Deluxe drink package for me, and we got the Refreshment package for my wife, and that’s because she’s not able to drink a lot, and they allowed that. But what I’m wondering is if she wanted to have, say a glass of wine with dinner - now she can only drink one drink a day, at most - but if she were to do that, is that automatically going to cause me to get charged for another package for her? And we do plan on paying for it separately. RCI: No, definitely not sir because umm, I don’t know, I think sometimes there is, like, some wines that are included, there might be, there might not be, but if there is not, umm it will not cost any total like a complete package, it will just be separate. Me: OK, that…. RCI: Just be an extra charge. Me: Well, that’s what I wanted to make sure, but you know, on line it says if one person has the drink package then all people have to have it, and as little as she can drink that would be way too much,.so they allowed her to get just the refreshment package, but I wanted to make sure that didn’t absolutely prohibit her from having, say one drink a day, as long as it’s paid for separately. RCI: It definitely doesn’t prohibit but the only thing is that she will have to pay, I mean you, you guys will have to pay separately Me: Oh yes. RCI: It doesn’t mean that you will be charged for the whole Deluxe Beverage Package. Me: Ok, that’s what I want to make sure. Alright, Thank You, I appreciate it! Bye! RCI: You’re welcome Sir, anything else I can assist you with? Me: No, that’s it. RCI: Thank you so much for calling Royal Caribbean. Have a great day. Me: Thank You! Bye-bye. So, for all those reading this, you should not feel forced to adhere to policy within the Cruise Planner that says "Each adult of legal drinking age assigned to the same stateroom must purchase this package". You can call and request separate Deluxe Beverage and Refreshment Packages, and even if you originally said this was needed for medical reasons, if you later decide that the person with the Refreshment Package would like an alcoholic drink, you only need to pay for it separately. They will not automatically convert the Refreshment Package to a Deluxe Beverage Package. With this option available, nobody should feel forced to buy a second Deluxe Beverage Package for someone who will not drink enough for it to pay for itself, or feel forced to buy all drinks a-la-carte, which for the person who does get their money's worth from the Deluxe Beverage Package, might be cost prohibitive and thus diminish their vacation experience and enjoyment. Yes, this certainly would decrease RCI's profits from what they'd be if we had no options other than to buy two Deluxe Beverage Packages, or buy all of our drinks a-la-carte, but if this were the case I would simply cruise elsewhere that had more flexible options. I think RCI see's there needs to be a middle ground for those cases where the Deluxe Beverage Package is a better value for one person, but not both. There's still a risk that people will share the Deluxe Beverage Package, but the loss from this is decreased due to the second person being required to buy the Refreshment Package, not just the Classic Soda package, Water Bottle Package, or no package at all, and it offers a solution that meets our needs, so we remain RCI customers. I think it's a smart business decision and am glad to see there is that flexibility.
  5. I had been watching for the Unlimited Dining Package from the day we booked our Symphony of the Seas cruise for September 12th, 2020, and when it finally showed up it was going for $179.00 per person ($358.00 for two). We bought it, and I continue to look each day for price drops, as I've already saved over $400 on other add-ons that went on sale after the initial purchase. I've seen it go back and forth between $179.00 and $199.00 a couple of times since we bought it on Dec 18th. Mostly, it was staying at $179.00 until just yesterday when it went back up to $199.00. I advise you to buy it now, just in case there are a limited number being sold, then keep watch on the price and if it drops, cancel and repurchase at the new sale price. You can always cancel if $199.00 is too much for you and it never does go back to $179.00. I would bet it will go back down. It's difficult to say when those sales will be though. Aside from the Black Friday sales, they seem pretty random and not on all holidays. Most other add-ons for our cruise have increased in price as well lately.
  6. True, that is an option, but as stated in the OP, we'd prefer to not have to be sneaky about it. Who needs the stress of worrying about getting caught doing something wrong while on vacation? I thought they may be OK with us paying full price separately if we really only bought a few drinks for her. I could keep all purchases on my card to be on the safe side, but what if anyone took note of the fact that the drinks were given to her, and she was given the exemption? Not sure they'd go to that amount of trouble, but wanted to at least know how this has worked for others.
  7. This is what I was concerned about. While there are a lot of people on board to monitor, the computers could easily flag such a conflict if programmed to do so. This sort of thing only encourages people to share the drink package rather than be honest and pay for the other drink separately. There needs to be a middle ground somewhere for those who really only will drink a handful of drinks throughout the entire cruise.
  8. My wife takes a lot of heavy duty medication, so she generally does not drink alcohol, other than very rarely a single drink in an entire day, or a glass of wine with dinner. For our Symphony of the Seas cruise this fall, I called Royal Caribbean and told them that for medical reasons, my wife could not drink, so based on that they allowed me to purchase the Deluxe drink package for myself, and the Refreshment package for her. It was probably an over-exaggeration to say she cannot drink as she can have a single drink, such as a drink with dinner with no ill effect. I really have thought about just buying a separate package for her, but at a minimum cost of $61/per day (Black Friday sale) to current price of $65/per day, it's just a waste of money when she would only have one or at the very most, two drinks per day. I know we can bring two bottles of wine on board, but we're not big wine drinkers. I have no intention of sharing my drink package because I personally believe that's stealing, so if she wants a drink with dinner I plan to pay separately for it. I just wonder what would happen the first time we attempted to buy her an alcoholic drink. Would the computer flag that as a violation of the basis for her being given the exemption which allowed her to buy the Refreshment package instead? Would we then be charged for another Deluxe drink package? If that would happen from buying a drink with her SeaPass card, I could always just use my card and tell the bartenders that it's for someone else and to ring it up separately from my package, then pass it off to her, but don't want to have to be sneaky about it. If I'm sitting at a bar and she is able to have a single drink, I'd like to be able to buy that separately without any issues and without having to sneak off somewhere to give it to her. We're not trying to cheat the system, as we'd be paying full price for those drinks, but at the same time, it's a bit of a gray area when we were allowed this exemption, saving the cost of a second drink package, but would nevertheless like to order an occasional drink for her, even if paid for separately (again, no more than one or two per day). I just don't know what the policy is for those who for medical reasons are given this exemption - does that mean they cannot drink at all, even a single drink, and if they do, would they then have to buy the full Deluxe drink package? If anyone else has been given this same exemption, please let me know what happened if you then ordered a drink for the person to whom the exemption was granted. Thanks!
  9. Janny04, We're on that same cruise. UDP first appeared about a week ago at $179.00 pp, but has since went up to $199.00. Get it now, then cancel and repurchase if price drops again, perhaps for Christmas or day after sales. I go in every few days looking for price drops and have saved hundreds from original prices for drinks, dining, the Key, photos, etc.
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