One of the most frustrating things to deal with when you are dealing with a cruise line is getting a refund on a cruise. Even when you book your cruise with a travel agency, the travel agency has to be refunded by the cruise line before they can refund your money in most cases.
If something happens and you cannot go on your scheduled cruise, the cruise line should refund your money right? In most cases, unless you cancel your trip by a certain date, you will not be refunded 100% of the money that you have spent on your cruise.
Always remember when booking a cruise with a cruise line or travel agent to make SURE that you ask what date you would have to cancel by to get a refund EVEN IF you have NO intention of cancelling your cruise.
Most people don’t think of reasons that they may unexpectedly have to cancel a cruise like:
- Sickness: You NEVER know if you or a family member will get sick and if it will affect your travel
- Work: Depending on the industry that you work in, your vacation time that was once approved by your boss could be taken away because of a work emergency, someone quitting, policies changing etc.
- Relationship Changes: Its a sad thought, but you never know where a relationship will stand at a future date. The nice cruise that you booked for you and your sweetheart would not be so pleasant if you just recently split.
- Unexpected Events: Any event could happen at your scheduled cruise time–a graduation date of a family member could change, a family member could unexpectedly show up to visit, an unexpected emergency could occur, etc.
Any of the events above are things that you absolutely cannot help; and though they are very good reasons that you may not be able to go on your cruise, if you are in the penalty period (the date after which you don’t receive a full refund back); then you could lose most or all of your money that you’ve spent on the cruise.
So here’s are 4 ways that could help you get a cruise refund if you need one:
Get Travel Insurance Protection.
Travel insurance is cheap in comparison to the amount of money that you spend on a cruise and could save you thousands of dollars. Purchasing travel insurance through the cruise line could be pricey, but explore independent options like Allianz Travel Insurance that will ensure you and another adult for under $100 in most cases, AND will ensure your children (under 18 for FREE). Click here for more info on travel protection.
Where the cruise line won’t refund your money, a travel insurance company will in most cases–plus you get the added coverage of lost or stolen luggage protection, emergency medical and dental in other countries, existing medical condition coverage, “missed the ship” protection, emergency medical transportation, and more. And most travel insurance companies even cover for reasons like sickness of a family member, divorce, financial problems etc.
Ask if you can change the Sailing Dates.
If you are unable to receive a refund and you absolutely cannot go on the cruise for the dates that you have booked, ask if you can change around your travel dates. Some cruise lines will let you change your dates for a fee, for example, of $50 per person. While this fee seems hefty, it would be a LOT better to be out of pocket $200 (for a family of 4) to change a date vs. losing all of the money that you have spent to book the cruise.
Ask if any consideration can be given to your specific situation.
Again, events happen in life that we have no control of, and sometimes the cruise line WILL understand these situations even when you are in a penalty period and don’t have cruise trip insurance (which is still the best way to make sure that you are covered). If there is a death in the family, for example, it wouldn’t hurt to explain to the cruise line what’s going on. If you are told that you still are not entitled to a refund, ask if they have a department that handles special issues with customers that may be able to look into your situation. The cruise line may ask you for proof of your situation (death certificate, divorce papers, etc.) but they may refund your money or allow you to transfer the money that you’ve already spent to another sailing date.
Plan Ahead and Plan Carefully.
When you are scheduling your cruise, it’s ALWAYS better to plan early (9-12 months in advance) just in case you have to make changes, etc. Planning that far ahead can usually save you from any headaches of losing all of your money if you need to change the saildates and/or cancel your cruise.
While you cannot determine what will happen in the future and how it will affect your travel dates, you can do everything to make sure that you are able to recover the money that you have spent on the cruise.