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Royal Caribbean Mistake Causes Huge Passenger Problem

The cruise line has done something that people get really angry at airlines for, but passengers may really like the solution.

When people book a vacation, they make those plans months, sometimes years in advance. That's because, in most cases, taking a trip, especially one that involves not just your household, but maybe even family and friends, there are a lot of moving pieces.

You have to find time on the calendar that matches up with when adults can get off from work and kids are out of school. That can be tricky and often requires people to put in for time off from their employers, move other things around, arrange care for children or elderly people not making the trip.

It's not easy and it's even harder when you book a cruise. That's because a cruise ship leaves and returns on specific dates. Disney World does not move. Your flight can be delayed and it's annoying, but it won't cause you to miss your trip. Booking a cruise -- especially for people who can't drive to the port -- requires a lot of precision and you have to make decisions early.

Will you fly in the day before or risk a flight on the day the ship leaves? One comes with the added cost of a hotel room and additional transportation while the other one puts you at risk of missing your ship. None of these are easy decisions and all of them are generally made months in advance.

That makes it especially frustrating when a cruise line cancels a cruise or something goes wrong with your planned trip. That has happened to a group of Royal Caribbean passengers right before they were supposed to leave on Wonder of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.

Wonder of the Seas Lead JS

Royal Caribbean Had a Huge Technical Issue 

Airlines routinely oversell flights. That's annoying to customers, but it's generally not that big of a deal because it usually comes with a cash or gift card payment, and you usually get booked on a later flight. If you have to stay overnight, the airline (usually) also pays for a hotel room and gives you a meal voucher.

That can be a huge problem if you needed to get to your location at a very specific time, but it's generally an inconvenience, not a problem that ruins your vacation. An oversold cruise, however, is a much bigger problem because it's not like Royal Caribbean can simply move passengers to the next ship.

People book specific ships because of the ship and the itinerary. When it comes to Wonder of the Seas, any other ship would be a downgrade, so Royal Caribbean has a big problem when a computer glitch caused it to overbook an upcoming sailing on its newest ship, CruiseHive reported. 

“We’re sorry to inform you that due to an unexpected inventory error, your scheduled Wonder of the Seas December 11th, 2022 sailing is currently oversold in certain stateroom categories,” the company notified impacted passengers by email.

While this situation is rare, it has happened recently on a sailing on Rhapsody of the Seas in August.

Royal Caribbean Makes a Generous Offer

Royal Caribbean has to cancel sailings somewhat regularly. It usually happens months out because a ship gets chartered, or it has to be moved to a new port. In those cases, passengers often get an offer to move to another ship sailing similar dates or they're given a credit above their original fare (if they opt to not take a refund).

In this case, passengers found out less than a week before their sailing. Royal Caribbean has made impacted customers on this Wonder of the Seas sailing a generous offer.

The oversold cabins are all ocean view, balconies, or higher. If passengers who were booked for those rooms opt to sail in an interior, they can take the trip and get a 100% refund. Guests will still pay taxes and port fees and the cruise line has given them until Dec. 8 to opt in. It's possible that interior rooms could run out as well, but Royal Caribbean has not commented on that.

Cancellations or people opting for the new deal could free up enough rooms to allow some passengers to end up sailing in the original class of rooms they booked.