Royal Caribbean testing charge for RFID wristbands

Royal Caribbean International has begun charging $4.99 on the Anthem of the Seas for radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands.

Branded Wow bands by Royal Caribbean, the colored, rubberized wristbands are a substitute for SeaPass key cards.

Royal said the charge is a test of a new pricing strategy for the bands, which had been distributed for free up to now on Quantum-class ships.

Using the bands, passengers can access their room and pay for onboard purchases.

Royal had discussed a $2 charge for the bands when they were introduced on Quantum of the Seas, but it was never implemented.

Guests in Junior Suites and above on Anthem will continue to get the bands free in their staterooms upon boarding, Royal said.

The Anthem, newly arrived in the U.S., sails year-round from Bayonne, N.J.