Using Onboard Credit for Purchases Before Departure | Travel Research Online


Using Onboard Credit for Purchases Before Departure

With little fanfare, Royal Caribbean rolled out new enhancements to their pre-cruise planning tool involving Onboard Credit redemption. Up until recently clients did not have the option to spend Onboard Credit funds before boarding their cruise. According to Royal Caribbean, new “system enhancements now grant your clients the ability to allocate their promotional and option code driven Onboard Credits towards desired purchases pre-cruise, giving your clients the ability to plan ahead and to better arrange their vacation activities/purchases in advance.”

Note that this only applies to promotional and option code driven Onboard Credits. It does not apply to pre-paid, purchased or GAP Onboard Credits. Clients sailing in a group will have the ability to redeem Onboard Credits related to promotions and option codes; but any GAP related Onboard Credit will not be available to spend prior to boarding the ship.


What purchases apply?
Onboard Credit can be used to purchase spa packages, excursions, Internet packages, and beverage packages (basically anything available to purchase through the pre-planning tool on Royal Caribbean’s website). Clients will also have flexibility: if they change their mind, they can cancel pre-cruise purchases and have the Onboard Credit returned to them for future purchases.

If clients purchase an item that costs more than the value of the Onboard Credit, they will need to provide a form of payment (i.e. credit or debit card) for the balance due at check-out for the purchase.


Can We See How Onboard Credit is Used?
Per Royal Caribbean, we can see Onboard Credit usage details in Cruising Power on the booking detail screen, as well as the confirmation page.


What Travel Agents Need to Know
The promotional and option code Onboard Credits are recognized by the Cruise Planner system at the booking level, not the individual guest level. This means that ANY guest on the booking can use the Onboard Credit for any items in the Cruise Planner, and can be modified, cancelled or changed by ANY guest as many times as they would like.

I can foresee issues with roommates using all of the Onboard Credit without consulting each other, and dragging their travel agent into a tit-for-tat fight over the use of Onboard Credit for pre-cruise  purchases.

Susan SchaeferSusan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations, she focuses on travel for 18 to 23-year-olds. Susan can be reached by email at or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

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