It appears to be a third party vendor, but are its cheap prices legit?
If a Royal Seas Cruises rep has contacted you, or you stumbled upon one of its deals online, you might be wondering if it’s a scam. We scoured the web and gathered the facts to help you determine whether or not these cheap Bahamas cruises are worth the risk.
Amy Stoltenberg is a staff writer covering all things travel, shopping and lifestyle. After earning a BA at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked as technical designer in corporate fashion before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop's closed, you can find her wandering around Los Angeles looking for hole-in-the-wall eateries and plotting her way to all 50 states (she's currently at 28).
Royal Seas Cruises advertises free cruises. But if you take the “deal,” you’ll likely end up paying several hundred dollars in port fees and taxes — money you could be spending on a legitimate trip with a trustworthy company.
It isn’t worth risking an unhappy vacation or financial risk when you could book directly with the reputable Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line starting at less than $100 per person, per day.
Read our review first to learn exactly what to expect from port fees and taxes. Plus, you won’t have to sit through a timeshare presentation or feel pressured to add pricey vacation packages.
It’s also worth comparing rates from Royal Caribbean and Carnival, two midtier cruise lines that frequently offer their own great deals. You might find a Bahamas cruise for less than $100 a day — including port fees and taxes — with these two operators.
Royal Seas Cruises — ships, departure port and destinations
Royal Seas advertises two cruise ships departing from Port of Palm Beach: the Grand Celebration and Grand Classica. This statement raises red flags because Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line — a verified and reputable cruise company — sails the exact same ships from the exact same port.
Similarly, Royal Seas claims to sail to the Bahamas on two day cruises — directly matching Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line itineraries.
Are Royal Seas Cruises and Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line the same thing?
If the ships, departure port and destination are the same, are these the same company? We reached out to Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line via email to inquire on January 22, 2020 and did not get a response.
On January 30, 2020 we called its customer service team and asked if Royal Seas Cruises are the same as Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. The customer service representative replied that the two companies are not the same, and said, “I am here at the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line reservation desk, and can help you make a reservation with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.”
From this, we conclude that BPCL and Royal Seas are not the same company, but that Royal Seas is most likely a third-party supplier that sells cruises and books them for the customer, usually on a cruise with BPCL.
Are Royal Seas Cruises a scam?
We think so. Royal Seas Cruises claims its cruises are free — but with hundreds of dollars in port fees and taxes left for you to pay, it’s simply not true.
Customers on travel forums around the web report being misled by Royal Seas representatives, hustled into paying more than initially advertised. Travelers also report being unable to cancel or reschedule cruises sold by Royal Seas, and finding themselves in financially stressful situations after being denied a refund.
Others say that Royal Seas pressures you to buy “package vacations” that include hotel stays before, during or after the cruise. According to customer reviews on Trustpilot and TripAdvisor, the accommodations are often run-down, second-rate hotels rather than the vacation resorts Royal Seas advertises. On top of that, you’ll have to sit through a timeshare presentation.
Compared to legitimate cruise companies that are transparent about their prices, Royal Seas is a scam, as chances are extremely high you’ll end up paying several hundred dollars in spite of its “free” cruise deal.
Royal Seas Cruises reviews and complaints — Better Business Bureau
Royal Seas Cruises is not accredited by the BBB. It earns a 2-star rating and D+ status accumulated from more than 150 reviews. As of January 2020, the BBB has issued an alert for Royal Seas Cruises due to an ongoing pattern of customer complaints.
The BBB reached out to Royal Seas Cruises to request their cooperation in mitigating customer complaints. This is the Royal Seas Cruises response from August 8, 2018:
“Royal Seas Cruises sells tens of thousands of vacation packages each year. Our marketing offers a complimentary cruise where the customer only pays the port fees. We offer extended stay packages for clients that want to come to Florida for more than just a two-day cruise.
These extended stay offers are highly discounted and customers are required to attend a presentation on vacation membership benefits to receive the discounted prices. Customers who do not purchase an extended stay package are not required to attend the presentation.”
Here’s what employees say about working at Royal Seas Cruises
The job website Indeed has accumulated more than 40 first-person reviews from telemarketers at the Royal Seas Cruises office. Overall, the company has a 3.3 out of 5-star rating from its own employees.
One former part-time sales associate wrote on April 3, 2019:
“A typical work day includes getting inbound calls and trying to convince different people to go on a cruise that they had a year and a half to use: All they had to do was pay the port tax while on the phone at that very moment.”
Quote obtained from Indeed.com January 2020.
Other former employees speak positively about managerial support and the fun work environment. The bottom line is that their job is to sell “free” cruise packages, taking the customer’s credit card info to cover port fees and taxes.
We advise approaching “free” cruise deals with skepticism, especially when it comes from a cold call or telemarketer. If an offer sounds too good to be true, don’t accept it without reading the fine print.
Or better yet, ditch the faux freebie and consider a reputable alternative.
Alternatives for a cheap cruise to the Bahamas
These cruise lines offer fully vetted cruises to the Bahamas, often at less than $100 per passenger, per day — with reputable customer support to boot.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. Its budget cruises sail straight to Nassau and Grand Bahama Island. Refurbished ships are no-frills, but you’ll get there and back on a dime — no timeshare hard-sell required.
Royal Caribbean. Book a Bahamas cruise from Fort Lauderdale or Miami that includes a port stop at its private island, CocoCay.
Carnival. Over-the-top ships sail from Jacksonville, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale or Tampa to the Bahamas. Carnival also owns the island Half Moon Cay, which you can visit on a 3- or 4-night voyage to paradise.
Norwegian Cruise Line. Norwegian’s rock-bottom prices for cruises to the Bahamas start at $110 per person for a four-day itinerary, including a day spent at Great Stirrup Cay — that’s right, its own private island.
Are Royal Seas Cruises safe?
For starters, its website is not secure. That means we do not recommend submitting payment through the site. It doesn’t have a valid SSL certificate indicating that all information transmitted through its website could be easily intercepted, gathered or hacked.
When it comes to financial purchases, pay attention to your instinct. If you feel violated and threatened by the way its salespeople market and promote the products, we suggest looking elsewhere.
Should I take the deal and book a cruise with Royal Seas Cruises?
We’ve presented the information, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not to take the deal. Here’s a snapshot of the pros and cons:
Potentially cheap cruise
Pressure to make quick decisions over the phone
Little-to-no flexibility if you need to change or cancel the cruise
Customers complain about slow and frustrating customer service.
Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.
When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.
Yes. Using a travel credit card to earn points and freebies when you book a cruise is a fully legit way to get a great deal. We’ve got a guide that’ll walk you through some of the best credit cards with cruise perks on the market.
Latest Bahamas cruise deals
Carnival cruises starting from just $55/night to the Bahamas and other destinations
Bahamas Paradise 2-night cruise deal for two: $69 per person
All meals onboard (alcoholic beverages and specialty restaurants not included). Theater shows, live music, pool-deck parties, day in The Bahamas. Spa & beauty salon and full casino available. 2 nights of accommodations.
At Finder, we value and respect our editorial independence. We keep our reviews completely factual so you can use them to make better decisions. While we may receive revenue and referral fees from advertising and affiliate links, advertisers do not approve our reviews.
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