Cruise Travel Frequently Asked Questions

Booking Questions


How do I pay for my cruise? What are the deposit and final payment requirements?

A credit card is convenient, they are safe, and you can get extra protection for your holiday from your credit card company.

If you are booking your cruise early (outside of four months prior to travel) the cruise line typically requires a deposit ranging from $100 per person for a 3 or 4 night cruise, $200 - $250 per person for a 7 night cruise, and $300 or more for longer cruises. Your cruise must be paid in full at least 65 days prior to travel for most cruise lines (some require final payment even sooner).

You should receive a receipt for each payment made and will receive a final payment reminder to keep you on top of your payments. If you would like to make periodic payments on your trip, you may do so provided all payments are completed prior to the final balance due date.

Should I buy cancellation insurance? Is it worth it? What does it cover?

Without insurance, if you cancel your cruise after final payment, you will suffer penalties. It could be $50 per person or could be the full cost of the trip. You will not get your money back after final payment without insurance.

We recommend insurance to everyone. Points to consider:

Insurance can typically cost about 10% of your total trip and usually covers baggage, trip delay, trip interruption, medical expenses, medical evacuation, and more.

Is Insurance worth it? If you have to use it - definitely? But insurance also buys peace of mind, which is not a bad reason to have it either?

Can I extend my cruise vacation?

Yes. We can arrange pre- or post-cruise land packages at the same time you book you cruise, or after.

Do the cruise lines ever give free upgrades?

Everyone either knows someone, met someone on a ship, or they themselves have been upgraded to a higher category than they paid for. Yes, it does happen and but not as frequently as people think. How do upgrades work? There is no set formula, but here is our theory.

Most upgrades go to passengers who book early and buy the lowest category on the ship in the form of a "Category Guarantee." A "Category Guarantee" means that when you book your cruise, you are not assigned a cabin number, you are simply guaranteed that category or better. Since most people who cruise simply want to get the best price, "Guarantees" are a great way to fill the ship with people looking for a good rate.

The cruise lines always sell more guarantees in a category than there are cabins in that category.

Most upgrades are often from low inside cabins to higher inside cabins, or low outside cabins to higher outside cabins. Rarely do passengers get upgraded from inside to outside but it does happen. But don't book an inside cabin expecting a free upgrade to an outside. It probably won't happen.

If you are assigned a cabin when you deposit on your cruise, your chances of an upgrade are very small. If you are travelling in a quad, your chances are very rare in that there are relatively few quad cabins on a sailing. Cabin assignments on guarantees are usually made between a few weeks and the day of sailing. If you don't like the cabin they give you, tough luck, you're stuck. So if you're afraid of being at the front, back, top, bottom, under the dining room, then don't take the chance. Choose your preferred cabin at time of booking.

Why Can't I Just Deal With The Cruise Line Directly?

You can actually make reservations with some cruise lines, but usually this is not to your advantage. As a Top Producer with most cruise lines, we often get special rates that are not available to other travel agents, much less the public. Furthermore, you deal with one agent with whom you've developed a relationship. Most cruise lines have hundreds of reservations agents. To them, you'd be just another passenger. To us, you're a valued client.

If you booked directly with the cruise line because we weren't available or you didn't know about us, some cruise lines will release your booking to us provided you do so prior to your final payment.

Do the cruise lines have Senior Citizen Rates? Family Rates? Last Minute Discounts?

Most of these promotions are available in the off peak booking seasons. Anyone can qualify for a senior rate provided one of the passengers in the cabin is 55 years or older. Usually these rates can be $50 to $100 per person lower than the normal rates.

Family Rates are programs that cruise lines use to fill the third and fourth berths on cruises on soft sailings. For example, the third and fourth person in a cabin may pay $499 per person on a typical seven night cruise. However, to help fill a ship, the cruise line may reduce this rate to $99.

Last Minute Discounts are less popular than in the past. Today, cruise lines are trying fill the ships with better early booking discounts. They can tell about three months prior to sailing if a departure needs help and then drop the rates if necessary.

You're always better off booking early.

Can I book at short notice?

Even the most popular cruises sometimes have space available because of late cancellations. But, to get exactly the ship, cabin, and sailing date you want, you should plan and book early. Most cruise lines also offer early booking discounts for customers who plan ahead. Then, just sit back and anticipate all the fun you're going to have!

Is it better to book early or wait for a last minute discount?

It depends on your level of flexibility, but overall, it is better to book early. Some guidelines are listed below for when you should consider booking, but again what they really come down to is flexibility.

Book early (at least 6 - 8 months in advance) if:

Book late if:

Some cruise lines will now guarantee dinner seating and take a lower deposit when you book early (this may only be for repeat passengers).

Most people book 8 months to as much as 18 months in advance. You can always cancel, but of course you have to outlay the money for the deposit. Refunds on deposits are slow, however, and may take up to two months.