Underwhelming Royal Caribbean Club Royal Cruise Offer – No “Free” Cruise for me!

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I have two “free” cruises booked over the next year or so. One of them is on Holland America and even though I do not gamble they will make money off of me with the free cruise they offered me after I paid to both upgrade to a rear balcony cabin as well as daily access to “The Retreat”. The other one is a return to Carnival and that one I also paid to upgrade to a huge rear balcony vs. the standard free side one they offered.

Both of these offers, while indeed a free cruise to start with, may in the long run be a really smart move as I have a feeling I am going to fall in love with Holland America and sail them a bunch more and I may change my very negative viewpoint of Carnival.

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While I submitted offers to the above lines and got a quick response and booked sailings I also at the same time submitted a request to Royal Caribbean at the same time and never got anything back – until this week.

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The offer did not look like a full free offer but just some kind of a discount. That and the sailing had to be done by October of this year. My schedule for the rest of 2023 is so full that I literally only had one week in the end of September that I maybe could squeeze in another cruise.

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After checking what ships were available that week I picked a fall sailing to see the northeastern US coast. I have sailed something similar in the past on NCL and it was delightful. But I had to call to see just what the offer was.

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After a few minutes on hold the RCI casino rep came back on the line and told me that it was not a free offer but just a discount and no balconies were left for the offer and the best they could do was an ocean view with a discount.

Um… yeah no thanks!

Honestly I was, before I called, quite excited about this as it has been many years since I last sailed on RCI and I wanted to give our resident RCI expert MJ some feedback.

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I am not sure why Holland and Carnival presented such good offers while RCI such a poor one other than the fact that we know all the cruise lines are booking (and even overbooking) sailings right now and demand has not been this strong for a long time and maybe that is why there simply is little need to try to entice folks with a free match offer.

Have you tried an RCI match offer for a cruise? If so was your offer better than mine? I would love to know! – René

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Not sure why Carnival gets [redacted] on so much by cruisers, I find them to be pretty good. If you go on a 3-4 day party cruise out of Miami, you know what you are getting. I did their 16 day Panama Canal cruise this year based on a casino match offer (free suite, $500 free play and free drinks) and it was a very nice trip. This was a matched offer from Caesars Seven Stars.

    As for cruises matching casino statuses, I think they either are becoming wise to or will become wise to which statuses don’t really mean that much. Caesars Diamond is incredibly easy to earn through either holding the right $95/yr credit card or playing a minimal amount during one of their multiplier events. They will likely still take a chance on higher level players (i.e. Caesars Seven Stars, MGM Platinum/Noir, Wynn Black/Chairman), but I think they will come to the realization that they will not get as much play out of low-mid level players as they hoped they would.

  2. I have a free RCCL offer, did the status match back in May, didnt get the match confirmed email until nearly July. My offers are also only until October and cant squeeze it in. Hoping to get another offer for later dates if I don’t book….

  3. I actually sail on Royal and gamble in their casinos, resulting in a continuous flow of offers from them. You folks don’t seem to do that and don’t get free cruise offers? And don’t like that? Go figure.

    • @Babblespeak – As others have mentioned for just the fee of $95 for the business card you can get Diamond status with Wyndham then match to Caesars and get lots of free offers without gambling at all.

  4. I’ve been waiting for 2 1/2 months to hear back from RCL. I’m not following up with them again until later this year probably since my travel schedule is full anyway until April of next year.

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