Cancellation and Payment Policies
Before you book, you will want to be familiar with the cancellation policy for the cruise and rate you are booking. Some will vary depending on the itinerary booked. Most rooms will have a date by which you need to cancel in order to get a full refund. You will want to know what date this is (many times it is the final payment date, but that too can vary). You’ll also want to know if you add insurance prior to the final payment date if that is refundable should you have to cancel. Some exceptions to this would be for suites or concierge rooms. Many times the deposits on these are non-refundable though you can sometimes switch dates or even categories without losing the deposit (however, they will still be non-refundable if you cancel later). Most date changes will need to be made before the cancellation penalties start.
Payments start with the deposit which is either a percentage of the cruise fare or a set dollar amount per person. After the deposit, many cruises will not require additional interim payments and will just have a final payment date at which time the balance is due. If payment is not received by this deadline, you may not be able to get an extension and your reservation could cancel. The penalties that would set in at this time would be taken from the amounts you have paid and the remainder (if any) refunded to you. This is a date you absolutely do not want to miss. Longer cruises and some of the luxury lines will require interim payments. Again it is important not to miss any of these deadlines. Some of the cruise lines do not give you any leeway with the deadlines.
Some cruise lines have non-refundable deposits and fully non-refundable rooms. Most of these cannot be changed without penalty. Make sure you understand the risks of booking these rates.