Royal Caribbean has cut its average refund time down to 23 days, the company’s Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Vicki Freed, told travel agents during a webinar on Wednesday.
Passengers wishing to claim a refund had reported that refunds were taking as much as 45 days and sometimes even longer
“We want to report some great news, and that is that our average refund is twenty-three days,” Freed said during her monthly CoffeeTalk webcast for travel agents in which she hosted Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain.
Admitting that the company still had “about a thousand bookings that are over 30 days waiting for a refund,” Freed said, “we should have those processed by Sunday this weekend.”
Royal Caribbean issued apology for delays
In late May, as the global shut down of the cruise industry due to the coronavirus pandemic hit with full force, the company issued an apology, saying that it was “very sorry”.
In a statement issued at the time, Royal Caribbean’s Associate Vice President of Guest Experience, Aurora Yera-Rodriguez, said that the company had initially estimated that refunds would take 30 days, up from seven to 10 days during normal times, but due to an unprecedented volume of refund requests a backlog had accumulated and refunds were taking up to 45 days.
“Please know that each and every request is receiving the same level of care and dedication. And rest assured, your refund will be honored and it is coming – it’s just taking a little longer than expected and we’re very sorry about that,” Yera-Rodriguez said.
To help overcome the backlog, Royal Caribbean rehired some 100 call center employees.
Capacity will be reduced on Royal Caribbean ships
Addressing what a return to cruising could look like, Fain said it was likely that the capacity of Roya Caribbean ships would be reduced.
“It’s likely we’ll start out at lower capacity in Europe [where Royal Caribbean’s German brand TUI has already announced a return to sailing], … at 60 to 70 percent potential load factors. And obviously that’s quite a bit less than we’re used to.
Fain added that with improved treatments and successful vaccines, capacity would go back up.