Cruises are a seemingly luxurious vacation for a fraction of the cost that land travel can cost. The “fraction of the cost” comes back to haunt you when it comes to purchasing items on-board the ship or if you need to make changes to your booking.
One of the most common booking errors that people make when booking themselves OR through a travel agent is giving the wrong name. I know, it seems silly (why wouldn’t you know your own name?) but a LOT of us, our kids, and family members go by certain nicknames, and if you are in charge of booking their cruise for them then its good to make sure that you give their LEGAL name.
When your travel documents (passport, ID etc) are being checked at the port that you are leaving from before you step foot on a ship, everything has to match. Your ID/Passport will ALWAYS have your full legal name on it, and that’s why the name on the cruise that you booked must be your legal name. When you arrive at the port and you’ve booked your cruise under “Pookie Johnson” and your name is “Peter Johnson”, the person checking your documents MAY listen to your story about how that’s a cute nickname that your Grandmother gave you when you were little; but you still will not be allowed to board the ship.
Most all cruise lines have a name change fee that they will access after a certain point which is usually from $50-the deposit amount depending on WHEN you need to change the name. A lot of the time when you purchase airfare with the cruise line, there are no name changes allowed whatsoever (which means that a name change is a cancel and rebook–losing you all of the money that you’ve spent). I know, it seems unfair, but it’s their rules and we just have to play by them.
So, the moral of this story is when you are booking a cruise (ESPECIALLY when you are in charge of booking for multiple people) make sure that you ask them for their legal name to save you money and a big headache later on.