If you've been cruising for a while you may have noticed that NON-refundable fares are everywhere now. This wasn't always the case. Carnival was the pioneer of nonrefundable fares and stood as one of the only ones offering them for quite some time. But now it seems like every cruise line is offering them! A lot of newer cruisers don't even realize that REFUNDABLE deposits are a thing! It's incredibly tricky to discern between the two on many cruise line websites. A lot of my clients don't even realize they are being offered something nonrefundable when they are doing a search on their own. I am careful to always disclose the difference!
I am not going to go in to nitty gritty details on these, but rather I will give you the highlight reel with links for further reading :)
So, what's the motivation to book a nonrefundable fare? They are less money. It varies by ship and date, I've seen differences over $500 and less than $25. It just depends. So if you know for sure you're going to cruise, go ahead and book that nonrefundable rate for some savings. If you're not 100% sure you can go on the date, I would recommend taking the refundable option.
*Something to keep in mind is that for Suite Guests, a nonrefundable deposit is the only option.
Here is the official policy from Royal Caribbean HERE.
Carnival's official policy is located HERE.
Read more about Princess Cruise Line's Passage Contract HERE.
Celebrity's Nonrefundable Fare Q&A HERE