Americans seem to like installment payments. This has led to the rise of a number of companies that offer credit card type loans without high interest.
Frequently referred to as “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) companies, these intermediaries essentially finance your purchase by collecting payment, usually with interest over a period of a few months to a full year.
This is a popular model because BNPL companies typically finance your purchase at much lower rates than credit card companies. In general, it is also a fairly simple process because in most cases the consumer chooses the number of payments to spread their purchase and the money is then automatically withdrawn from their account.
BNPL has become so popular that many websites, including Amazon (AMZN) – Get the report from Amazon.com, Inc., offer a shape. It might get silly when the online retail giant offers to let you spread out payment for small orders, but it’s clearly something people want when it comes to larger orders.
Booking a cruise is usually a big expense for most people and for Royal Caribbean (RLC) – Get the Royal Caribbean Group ReportCarnival Cruise Lines (CCA) – Get the Carnival Corporation reportand Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) – Get the report from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. all offer BNPL through Uplift. Now, Royal Caribbean has another payment method that some of its customers may want to take advantage of, as it won’t incur interest charges.
How does payment for a cruise work now?
This can vary depending on when your ship is sailing, but basically when a consumer books a cruise, they have to pay a deposit to keep the booking. Once this happens, the passenger has until a set “final payment” date (approximately 75 days to three months before the ship’s departure) to pay in full
With Royal Caribbean, you can pay in installments if you wish, but there’s no direct way to set up an installment plan through the cruise line. Carnival, however, offers “EasyPay” on select cruises, which splits payment into installments without any interest. Additionally, all three major cruise lines offer BNPL, which works much like financing a trip with a credit card, but not exactly.
“While some credit cards charge interest on interest, Uplift only charges simple interest. If you have a balance on a credit card, it can be difficult to figure out what it will cost you. With Uplift, the cost is clear at the time of purchase, with simple interest, predictable payments and no fees,” the company shared on its website.
Scroll to continue
Royal Caribbean does not (at least so far) offer any sort of company-sponsored installment plan with no interest charges.
“You can make as many partial payments as you like between the time of booking and the balance due date. We don’t offer formal payment plans,” the cruise line explained on its website.
However, this has just changed, but this is only for certain customers.
Royal Caribbean is trying something new
Royal Caribbean has added an installment plan program, but to use it, customers must book their cruise through a travel agent, Matt Hochberg first reported. The Royal Caribbean Blog.
“Travel agents were still able to accept partial payments before the final payment date, but the customer or agent had to arrange for these payments to be made on their own. With the new program FlexPay, this can be scheduled and configured in advance,” reported Hochberg, who has no affiliation with the cruise line. “At the moment it is only available if you book a cruise through a travel agent. This means someone who books their cruise directly with the cruise line instead of through an agent cannot use this feature.”
The cruise line has been looking for ways to improve its relationship with travel agents emerging from the pandemic. It gives this important audience a tool that could lead them to refer more customers to Royal Caribbean.
“Travel partners can now pre-schedule up to 10 automatic payments that can be organized by date, amount and can even accept more than one credit card,” Hochberg reported.
There is no charge for the service.