Help for newbies: Booking your cruise

If you haven’t booked a cruise before, you might be surprised at how booking a cruise differs from other types of travel such as airfare and hotels. For instance:

  • Although cruise fares fluctuate just like airfares, you can lock in a rate by putting down a deposit. Once you do this, your cruise fare won’t increase – but it can go down! More on that later.
  • When I book a cruise for my clients, they have between 24 and 72 hours to make the deposit payment. What this means is that you can lock in a rate for your cruise for no charge while you quickly check with traveling companions, work, etc. to make sure that you’ll be able to travel at that time.
  • Final payments for a cruise are due between 90-120 days before the sail date, depending on the cruise line. Up until that final payment date, however, your agent (that’s me!) can call and have the cruise re-priced, which could lead to a lower final cost to you.
  • The correct spelling of cruise passenger names can be changed at just about any time during the process: before or after the deposit, even after the final payment. It’s imperative that your name on the reservation match your name on your travel documents, so if you notice at any point that your name is misspelled on your cruise documents, make sure to notify your travel agent immediately.
  • More than just a correction in spelling, many cruise lines will actually let you replace one passenger with someone else, up until about a week before sailing. If you’re scheduled to sail with someone and that person finds out she can’t go, you may be able to add another person to go in her place – just let your travel agent know as soon as possible so that she can make the necessary calls.

Cruising can be a little confusing*…but, it’s worth it! Working with a travel agent is a great way to navigate the complex waters and ensure that you have a great cruise vacation.

*As my grandma used to say, “I’m a poet and I didn’t know it!” 😂