Royal Caribbean International has recently updated its gift card policies to simplify how cards may be redeemed, just in time for the gift-giving season.

Now, anyone can enjoy the benefits of a Royal Caribbean gift card without worrying about as many limitations on how the card can be used.

Previously, gift cards for the world’s largest cruise line were subject to a number of strict terms and conditions, including the need to redeem them weeks before sailing and the inability to redeem gift cards onboard a cruise.

Now, the simpler-to-use gift cards can be used onboard by visiting the Guest Services desk, and the card’s balance will be applied to the guest’s onboard account. This permits gift cards to be used for spa treatments, specialty dining, drinks, souvenirs, shore excursions, and much more.

Travelers must note that the onboard currency must be US dollars (USD) rather than any other currency. This is not much of a difficulty, however, as most sailings except those in China do use USD onboard.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Deck

Cards may also be redeemed pre-cruise via the Royal Caribbean website, by calling the cruise line directly, or by working through a travel agent to apply the gift card to a new or existing booking.

Because the gift cards never expire and are not subject to any monthly or annual fee or service charges, they can be a great way to help someone save up for a phenomenal cruise or give them a guilt-free way to splurge onboard.

Of special note is that the gift cards can also be used for Royal Caribbean’s sister line, Celebrity Cruises, making them even more versatile for travelers with different tastes or who sail or want to try both cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean gift cards cannot be universally applied toward all expenses, however. They may not be redeemed for cash, nor applied toward “quasi-cash” purchases such as gaming chips, foreign currency, or traveler’s checks.

Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

Prior to sailing, gift card amounts can only be applied toward the cruise fare and may not be used for pre-payment of beverage packages, dining packages, shore excursions, pre-paid gratuities, etc. If those purchases are made onboard, however, a traveler can visit the Guest Services desk to have a gift card applied to their account balance during the sailing.

Gift cards can be purchased through Royal Caribbean’s website in several select USD amounts: $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, and $2,000. At this time, the exact amount of the card cannot be customized.

Recipients will be notified of the gift card via email on the selected date of delivery, which can be scheduled in advance as a gift for a birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, holiday, or any other special occasion. Gift cards can also be sent same-day, making them perfect for last-minute or belated gift options.

Gift cards are only available in a digital format, not a physical, hand-held card. The digital format does come in a wide range of attractive designs, including both photos of cruise ships as well as stylized images of popular Royal Caribbean highlights – The Abyss slide, the Up, Up, and Away hot air balloon on CocoCay, a fun aerial view of a Royal Caribbean ship, and much more.

Read Also: How to Use Carnival Cruise Line Gift Cards

Birthday, holiday, anniversary, thank you, and general congratulatory messages are also available in the digital designs. Cards can also be personalized with a private message. Gift buyers may use major credit cards, Apple Pay, and PayPal to purchase gift cards.

With the holiday gift-giving season poised to start – and the highly anticipated Icon of the Seas less than 100 days away – this update for Royal Caribbean gift cards is perfectly timed to simplify gifts for anyone who loves travel, cruising, and adventure.

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