Ever thought of trading your timeshare week for a cruise, or using your RCI points toward a week long adventure at sea? As many of you may already know, RCI owners are able to book cruises through RCI timeshare exchange by applying unused points, borrowing points from a future year, or banking and trading a weeks time share. RCI will generally use the option for cruise vacations as a selling point for their program, but are they really a good deal? This article will explore the ways to book a cruise through RCI, and look at whether or not trading your timeshare for a cruise is worth it.
Hidden Fees – RCI is glad to post their low costs for cruises on the RCI Cruises website, but be aware that these totals do not include taxes, airfare (if necessary), Port charges, and other government fees. Also be aware that if you are a single traveler, or traveling with an odd number, your rates will be higher due to the fact that all of the prices are calculated based on double occupancy.
Exchange Fee – The following text was taken directly from the RCI Cruises website – “Savings based upon an exchange of a qualified Vacation Week (i.e. any resort that is not in high demand with a good rating will not be accepted by RCI for trade toward a cruise) or RCI Points an calculated prior to the single exchange fee of $199 USD.” So in addition to paying for any taxes, airfare, hidden fees, and all inclusive packages, you will also be charged the standard exchange fee of $199.
All-Inclusive – All of the cruises offered by RCI require you to purchase the all-inclusive option for travel in addition to paying for the actual cruise.
Availability – There is very limited availability when booking a cruise through RCI Cruises, and being flexible with departure and return dates is a must. The prices they promote on their website as their best “deals” are substandard rooms sandwiched on the inside corridor of the boat with no view; not exactly the luxurious accommodations they have promised. **UPDATE 1/09 – As the economy has taken a downturn, more and more luxury rooms have become available on RCI sponsored cruises for deeply discounted rates.
Preferential Treatment – There seems to be a trend in which RCI members with high demand weeks for banking are chosen preferentially for cruise discounts, so that their banked weeks may be offered for a higher price to other consumers; i.e., a person with a week in Hawaii will not be given the same cruise offers as a person with a week in Missouri
When you take into account all of the extra fees added to the base cruise price advertised on the RCI Cruises website, the “deal” seems to fade away. I found many comparable, in some cases the same room/trip, for much less than the price RCI offered the cruise for – and that was WITH either using your points or banking your timeshare week for the cruise. It seems that taking advantage of RCI’s cruise program just is usually not worth the exchange, especially if you are able to use your timeshare week in addition to going on the cruise. My advice, hold on to your timeshare week and search for a cruise elsewhere. By doing so you will end up saving money and have more options with regard to travel dates and room accommodations, not to mention still be able to use your timeshare at another time.
Do you have experience with RCI Cruises? Have you made a timeshare exchange for a cruise using RCI? Share your experience below or on our timesharing forums @ http://rcivip.com/forum
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Do not book cruises through RCI. They are totally incompetent. They do not know how to book cruises. Buyer beware. Stick with the points vacations. They excel there.
We booked through RCI for our honeymoon cruise and I am SO excited! We didn't exchange any weeks, we just got a really good deal for the two of us on a Princess ship. I called them a couple weeks ago because our friends wanted to join us. When they looked into their price it was going to be less than what we paid by $800! Without me even asking they immediately issued me credit. She also told me to check Princess's website because if they offer room upgrades then we can call RCI and they will try to upgrade us.
Wonderful. We have been very happy with RCI and their agents. I always call to ask questions and they are so knowledgeable and fun. I also check our cruise on Orbitz, Expedia, etc. just to see if they have better deals and RCI beats their prices by a good chunk of change.
If you expect to book any travel through RCI more that a couple months ahead of time then you aren't going to be super happy with their selection. If you are more flexible and can wait until a few month before you want to leave then they have AMAZING deals! Seriously, we have booked week long vacations in Hawaii and Mexico only paying the exchange fee. Every vacation has been fantastic.
I used to be really unhappy with RCI since I like to plan and book things out 8 months – year ahead of time. Now that I have relaxed about that I have been 100% happy with them.
The price for the cruise plus vacation (today) was $2195. No exchange, just the ability to book a cruise within the next 3 years and they supposedly throw in a one week timeshare vacation.
I still don't see any posts as to whether this is a good deal or another RCI ruse.
We purchased an RCI Cruise and Resorts package in 2008. Although, we had been RCI members since 2000, we still felt unsure about the offer and it took at least three calls to cement a deal. Never were we pressured to buy ‘today’ at a lower price. We booked an HAL Alaskan cruise in 2010. Coupled with two weeks in the American northwest, it was one of our most memorable vacations. We were so satisfied that we signed up this year for a RCI Premium package($2995). We have used our RCI membership to travel to Hawaii, Arizona, Paris/Normandy/Rouen. We would never describe RCI’s handling of our accounts as a ruse.
I too received a call with the offer $1995 for a cruise for 2 (7-14 days) and a 1 week vacation. I was told I could upgrade to include my 2 children. We only travel Christmas and New Years weeks. I was told there are no black out periods but I am sceptical as to what is offered and when…..seems a little too good to be true so it probably is. Would anyone who has used this offer like to comment?
I called RCI who advised that I have a voucher to a cruise for 1 year and it is without exchanging my 1 week timeshare….Have anyone heard of this?
I got a call from them yesterday June 19th 2009, told me the price of 1900.00 was for today only and would be 2399. after today. My understanding is that the price of 1900.00 pays for 2 people to cruise wherever you want to with 3 upgrades but not sure how they work. No Cruise ship prices include taxes port fees and such; that is standard.
My question is, on the site they give you to select your cruise, will there be any available with balconies, better rooms; and available for more than 7 days.
When you sign up with them there is a last minute disclosure that the least they can offer you is 7 days inside cabin.
My feeling is: IF you can book a balcony cabin for the cruise you want then you will be ahead in the price, all last minute sites I have checked it was 1100 or more per person. IF only inside cabin rooms are available for 7 days then you can do better from last minute cruises. However, I still don’t know for sure how the 3 upgrades work.
Someone from RCI cruise called me today (6/3/09) about below wholesale cruise deals for 7-14 days cruises going on which are good from now until 3 years from now. This deal includes one week timeshare also. Can anyone comment on this? I’m not sure if I should be interested or go directly to cruise line itself. I’m interested in cruising next May-June for 7 days only (not interested in timeshare)with my daughter who will graduate from High School in May 2010. RCI says that prices start at $1995.00 and go up. Note that this price doesn’t include port fee, government tax etc.
My husband and I used our RCI week for an exchange on a trip to Alaska. The cruise was the best I had ever taken . I was given a lot of attention by the RCI booking agent and suggestions on the best side trips. I am not sure why people are complaining. I thought it was an excellent exchange!
Which alaskan trip did you take?
Either much has changed since 2006, or this whole site is full of it, as well as the commentors.
I've owned an RCI timeshare since 1990. In 2006 I traded a week for a 7 day cruise on Holland America Line. I paid my standard 199.00, and got an SA suite—Deluxe Verandah Suite, the best cabins on the ship except for the Penthouse, for 4000.00, approximately half the fare for 2 people.
I spoke to the advisor at RCI cruises when I found this listing, and she asked if she could call me back in 5 minutes, which she did. She told me her supervisor and 12 other RCI Cruise CSR's were looking at the screen, because they couldn't believe it.
The Supervisor called Holland America to check to be sure this price was for real, and it was. I got a 3800.00 exchange credit for our cruise. '
Airfare was not included and I didn't expect it to be. I used my AMEX Platinum points to buy a ticket, and got another ticket for free (AMEX discontinued that program for domestic flights 01/09)
We had an over 500 sq foot cabin, with seperate bath, shower and dressing area, and a large outside patio. As Suite Passengers, we had use of a special Neptune Lounge on the Suite/Penthouse deck, with 24 hour concierge serice, and coffe and snacks right across from our room. Movies were available at no charge rental from the Lounge. Sunday night the Suite passengers got a private reception with the Captain and senior officers. Suite Passengers get head of the line priviliges on boarding and leaving the ship, and are called first for tender service at the beach and ports where they could not dock.
A special reception was held in one of the lounges on the last day of the cruise with all of the senior staff for the Suite passengers.
Best Vacation I ever had in my life, and RCI handled it all professionally…..
Don't believe everything you read on the net.
Good to read your comment Hank. I was reading all these “horror stories” about RCI. and feeling rather indignant!
My husband and I have been members since 1988 and it has been the best money we have ever spent! We have used our points every year, value we have received would be 10 times our initial investment. It all depends on how you use your weeks or points – the value is there if you take the time to look for it!!!
I am a member of RCI but have been unable to get information on the website.I’ve tried over and over again without success and the person on the phone was absolutely no help.I finally gave up.I have one week already with RCI and wanted to look at cruises available.
We just bought a cruise through RCI….found out just days before our sailing that the cruise cabin that we had booked was now being sold at a much discounted price. I phoned RCI and told them I wanted credit…This was after I had been told by the cruise line that I could get a cheaper price and have money refunded to me…Well…RCI did not like hearing what I had to say and after speaking to a number of personnel at RCI I finally was able to get some reinbursement but not the full amount I would have received had I booked directly with my cruise line….I learned a valuable lesson….never, ever , book again through RCI
I bought my timeshare from Point To Point Destinations (PTP Destinations, West Coast Timeshare) in Vancouver, BC
According to the RCI flyer, the package that i own 25,000 points which i paid $12,500 for and pay over $300 per year only in maintenance fees (but there are other multiple fees) can give me only $200 discount off any cruise price. Wait a moment, but that is less than my maintenance fees alone! So why would I waste $12,500 and then pay $300 maintenance + $130 RCI fees + another $130 Transaction Fees to get a discount of $200 ??? Even if we do not count wasted initial "investment" even then that would be a LOSS of $360 per year if i used my RCI points for cruises.
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