Common Cruise Booking Mistakes That Can Affect Your Trip

I want to share with you the really common and big mistakes that people make when booking a cruise.

1. Missing the best prices

Missing the best prices that are out there is a mistake that is common for many. And in order to do fight this, the most important thing of all is timing. Timing is absolutely key to getting the best price.

 

First of all, when is a price likely to be the lowest? When cruise lines launch new itineraries, they generally price them at pretty good prices. Often the lowest you’re going to find and that’s because they want to get people to sign up to book a cruise way in advance.

 

Cruise lines often launch itineraries one, two or sometimes even three years ahead of time. What they want to do is try and get people to book so they know how full it is and get the money and get the deposits in. So, if you are planning and are thinking far ahead, booking a cruise when it first comes on sale you’ll often get the best price or certainly if not, will get a whole bunch of extras added like onboard credits or free drinks or gratuities or whatever. So when itineraries launch is when you’re going to find some of the sharpest prices.

 

The second key time when you look for great prices is 90 to 60 days before a cruise. The reason for that is you have to pay your final deposit, as the way rules are at the moment, 60 to 90 days (depending on the cruise line) before the cruise goes. At that point in time, the cruise line then knows how full the ship is and they then want to clear the rest of the cabins – so they will start to offer really sharp prices, promotions and discounts to fill the ship.

 

The third really important thing when it comes to timing is what’s known as Wave season. Now, this differs a little bit based on country. But most countries will have the Wave season just after the Christmas period and into the New Year, the beginning of the year, as that’s when lots and lots of people start to plan their vacations for the year ahead.

 

This is when most cruise lines will launch big promotions and they have pretty aggressive sales targets to hit in the Wave season to lock down sales. So, you’ll normally find really sharp prices as well. What really important though is there will be ad hoc promotions coming along the way whether it’s Wave or it’s the 60-day late bookings.

 

So sign up for email newsletters!

 

This is something I strongly recommend. Any cruise line that you’re interested in because that’s normally where they will push out great deals. All through the year, there may be deals that happen out of these three other key periods that I was talking about.

 

The other critical thing when it comes to prices and timing is, don’t assume that you will get the best price always from the cruise line or from your agent. Shop around, look at online sites, look at the cruise line site, talk to your agent and take a look at what deals and offers are going around.

 

Now largely speaking, you’ll find prices are often the same across the different channels but what gets added is often the key difference. So you might find certain cruise agents will add in extra onboard credit or amenities so make sure that you’re shopping around and looking and comparing prices before you decide to book.

 

Critically important though when it comes to timing is, if you have booked way in advance, make sure that you track what’s happening with fares. So check in every now and again or get your agent to check in with prices. And if you find that your cabin has reduced in price, contact the cruise line and ask them what they will offer because they will normally give you an upgrade or add some more amenities in if your actual cabin price is now being sold cheaper.

 

The cruise lines won’t proactively come and offer you a better price, so really important is to make sure that you keep tracking. So, timing is everything but staying diligent and keeping an eye on prices is also important.

2. Not really understanding the detail of the itinerary

The second really big mistake and common mistake that people make when booking a cruise, is not really looking at the nuance and the detail of the itinerary. This is really important for a couple of reasons.

 

One of the big mistakes that people make is they look at the itinerary, say for example in the Mediterranean, and they see it includes Paris, Rome and Florence. However, the ports for all those places are a very long way away so you’re not to find that the itinerary might say Paris with little brackets from La Havre, it might say Rome little brackets from Civvichavechia, or Florence little brackets from Livorno. So you need to really understand what port are you actually go into, how close is it to the place that you really absolutely want to see.

 

Another mistake that a lot of people make is they look at the itinerary and they think they’re going to all these places, five or six beautiful islands in the Caribbean or wherever, but make sure you take a look at the detail of the itinerary and understand what time you arrive and what time you leave.

 

You might find that in some of those ports that you want to spend time in, you’re only spending a morning or an afternoon in. So a lot of people discover once they get right close up to the cruise, actually the place that they want to spend time in isn’t actually going to happen as long as they would want to be there.

 

Another critical thing when you look at the itinerary is to make sure you understand what the sea days are. One of the things that cruise lines sometimes do is they only list the port days. So, you take a glance at their itinerary and think “Oh that’s great I’m going to all these ports”, but you might find there’s a lot of sea days interspersed between those. And if you’re the sort of person that really doesn’t like sea days, you might find out the cruise is not really the one you want and you’ve booked on a cruise that has more sea days than you’re really comfortable with.

 

Another really important thing when you look at the itinerary is to look at which are tender ports and where you’re actually docking. Tender ports are those where you actually use the boat tenders. So, the ship docks outside the port and you get ferried backwards and forwards which does reduce, quite significantly in many cases, the amount of time you actually get to spend on land.

3. Not considering the significance of the time of the year and weather

The third big mistake that people make when booking a cruise is not really thinking in detail about the significance of the time of year and weather. Now, of course, some cruises are very seasonal so you can only cruise in certain areas and certain times of the year. But there are things you still need to watch out for. One of which is related to the weather.

 

So you might decide that it’s great “I’m going to go to the Caribbean in July” because it’s the middle of summer. However, that’s in the hurricane season! So make sure that as you look at the regions, although you can cruise in some of them, the weather’s not great.

 

So for example in Alaska. You get a lot of rain particularly as you head into the middle and towards the end of the season. If you’re going to Tahiti and the French Polynesian Islands, you’ll find the rainy season really runs up to the end of May into June time and then it gets really good weather after that with very little rain. So, when you’re looking at booking, also take a look in detail about what weather you like to have on that cruise because the cruise lines going there doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great time of the year to go to.

 

The other thing linked to that is to make sure that you’re understanding the type of travellers you’re going to have on different types of cruises. So again I’ll use the Caribbean as an example, if you’re heading in the middle of summer you’re going to have lots of families. If you’re heading during spring break time, you might have lots of partying people. If you head out in January or February, you might have an older crowd.

 

Think about what time of the year you’re taking the cruise because that could affect the type of person on board. So for example, I don’t have kids and I like to travel without kids on board so I would always choose to go to the Caribbean out of school holiday times. So perhaps in November or February because it’s going to be more people than are more couples, more solos and more of an adult crowd for example.

4. Not understanding the fine print, cancellation and refund terms

People in their enthusiasm to book a cruise and book a particular itinerary don’t always think through or understand the fine print, the cancellation and the refund terms and these are really important. One of the things we got more used to in the whole period of the shutdown and resuming of cruising is cruise lines introduced much more flexible cancellation, change and refund policies. However, as we look further ahead it’s reverting back to the old more traditional booking and cancellation terms – which are pretty rigid.

 

So when you’re booking a cruise, take a look at a couple of things. First of all, understand what the deposit level is going to be. Some cruise lines have very large deposits. Also, understand if the deposits will be refundable or you can move them. So that actually means you might want to book a cruise but you’re not 100% sure. But you know that you can get the deposit back.

 

Also carefully understand the cancellation terms. So a lot of cruise lines (certainly once you’ve paid the final balance) have very, very, very strict cancellation where you can lose between 75% and a 100% of your fare.

 

Even sometimes on some cruise lines, simply changing a passenger name is counted as a cancellation. So perhaps you’re cruising with somebody and they can’t come and you want to switch it, some cruise lines will actually take that as a cancellation and you will lose that fare for that person. Now, you can often normally negotiate around that if you’re good at negotiating and perhaps put your foot down. But it is a really big challenge.

 

Bear in mind that cruise lines within the cruise contract can change without any compensation for the itinerary. You might be heading to the Caribbean. It might have a certain amount of ports but because the ports are then closed or there’s an issue at the port or it gets too busy, they can chop and change out ports at will – pretty much without having to give you compensation. So really understand, as you book, some of those limitations and some of those rules.

5. Not getting a travel insurance

Another big mistake that people make when booking cruises is they get really excited about the cruise they booked but they don’t think through travel insurance.

 

Travel insurance is really really important. It’s important to take our travel insurance ideally at the time of making a booking and have a travel insurance that includes “cancelled for any reason”.

 

Some of the rules and regulations have got much tighter through the whole pandemic situation. And insurance companies are taking out some of the cancel for any reason. But you really want travel insurance when you book so that if you do have to pull out of a cruise at any stage, you have insurance to cover you.

 

Make sure that you understand what does it cover if there are any pandemic related issues that crop up. Now, with everything that’s happened, it’s not entirely clear how expensive or easy it is to get an insurance that includes cruises. So, for example, my partner recently got a notification from their insurance company which said they no longer, by default, carried cruise as part of their policy, so you have to contact them and pay quite a big premium to get cruise cover.

 

It’s really important to make sure that you can get travel insurance because if you’re older or have any pre-existing conditions before you make a booking, going on a cruise is very risky without having travel insurance. If something does happen to you, God forbid, you break a leg or something or you fall ill and you have to be evacuated or put in the hospital on land, the cost can be absolutely enormous. Cruising without travel insurance is a really bad idea.

Recent Comments
    0 0 votes
    Article Rating
    Subscribe
    Notify of
    guest
    0 Comments
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

    about us

    CruisesforSingles.net is dedicated to providing quality information on the subject of Cruises for Singles and in particular various other cruise ideas for customers and merchants online.

    Cruises for Singles

    Common Cruise Booking Mistakes That Can Affect Your Trip

    I want to share with you the really common and big mistakes that people make when booking a cruise.

    1. Missing the best prices

    Missing the best prices that are out there is a mistake that is common for many. And in order to do fight this, the most important thing of all is timing. Timing is absolutely key to getting the best price.

     

    First of all, when is a price likely to be the lowest? When cruise lines launch new itineraries, they generally price them at pretty good prices. Often the lowest you’re going to find and that’s because they want to get people to sign up to book a cruise way in advance.

     

    Cruise lines often launch itineraries one, two or sometimes even three years ahead of time. What they want to do is try and get people to book so they know how full it is and get the money and get the deposits in. So, if you are planning and are thinking far ahead, booking a cruise when it first comes on sale you’ll often get the best price or certainly if not, will get a whole bunch of extras added like onboard credits or free drinks or gratuities or whatever. So when itineraries launch is when you’re going to find some of the sharpest prices.

     

    The second key time when you look for great prices is 90 to 60 days before a cruise. The reason for that is you have to pay your final deposit, as the way rules are at the moment, 60 to 90 days (depending on the cruise line) before the cruise goes. At that point in time, the cruise line then knows how full the ship is and they then want to clear the rest of the cabins – so they will start to offer really sharp prices, promotions and discounts to fill the ship.

     

    The third really important thing when it comes to timing is what’s known as Wave season. Now, this differs a little bit based on country. But most countries will have the Wave season just after the Christmas period and into the New Year, the beginning of the year, as that’s when lots and lots of people start to plan their vacations for the year ahead.

     

    This is when most cruise lines will launch big promotions and they have pretty aggressive sales targets to hit in the Wave season to lock down sales. So, you’ll normally find really sharp prices as well. What really important though is there will be ad hoc promotions coming along the way whether it’s Wave or it’s the 60-day late bookings.

     

    So sign up for email newsletters!

     

    This is something I strongly recommend. Any cruise line that you’re interested in because that’s normally where they will push out great deals. All through the year, there may be deals that happen out of these three other key periods that I was talking about.

     

    The other critical thing when it comes to prices and timing is, don’t assume that you will get the best price always from the cruise line or from your agent. Shop around, look at online sites, look at the cruise line site, talk to your agent and take a look at what deals and offers are going around.

     

    Now largely speaking, you’ll find prices are often the same across the different channels but what gets added is often the key difference. So you might find certain cruise agents will add in extra onboard credit or amenities so make sure that you’re shopping around and looking and comparing prices before you decide to book.

     

    Critically important though when it comes to timing is, if you have booked way in advance, make sure that you track what’s happening with fares. So check in every now and again or get your agent to check in with prices. And if you find that your cabin has reduced in price, contact the cruise line and ask them what they will offer because they will normally give you an upgrade or add some more amenities in if your actual cabin price is now being sold cheaper.

     

    The cruise lines won’t proactively come and offer you a better price, so really important is to make sure that you keep tracking. So, timing is everything but staying diligent and keeping an eye on prices is also important.

    2. Not really understanding the detail of the itinerary

    The second really big mistake and common mistake that people make when booking a cruise, is not really looking at the nuance and the detail of the itinerary. This is really important for a couple of reasons.

     

    One of the big mistakes that people make is they look at the itinerary, say for example in the Mediterranean, and they see it includes Paris, Rome and Florence. However, the ports for all those places are a very long way away so you’re not to find that the itinerary might say Paris with little brackets from La Havre, it might say Rome little brackets from Civvichavechia, or Florence little brackets from Livorno. So you need to really understand what port are you actually go into, how close is it to the place that you really absolutely want to see.

     

    Another mistake that a lot of people make is they look at the itinerary and they think they’re going to all these places, five or six beautiful islands in the Caribbean or wherever, but make sure you take a look at the detail of the itinerary and understand what time you arrive and what time you leave.

     

    You might find that in some of those ports that you want to spend time in, you’re only spending a morning or an afternoon in. So a lot of people discover once they get right close up to the cruise, actually the place that they want to spend time in isn’t actually going to happen as long as they would want to be there.

     

    Another critical thing when you look at the itinerary is to make sure you understand what the sea days are. One of the things that cruise lines sometimes do is they only list the port days. So, you take a glance at their itinerary and think “Oh that’s great I’m going to all these ports”, but you might find there’s a lot of sea days interspersed between those. And if you’re the sort of person that really doesn’t like sea days, you might find out the cruise is not really the one you want and you’ve booked on a cruise that has more sea days than you’re really comfortable with.

     

    Another really important thing when you look at the itinerary is to look at which are tender ports and where you’re actually docking. Tender ports are those where you actually use the boat tenders. So, the ship docks outside the port and you get ferried backwards and forwards which does reduce, quite significantly in many cases, the amount of time you actually get to spend on land.

    3. Not considering the significance of the time of the year and weather

    The third big mistake that people make when booking a cruise is not really thinking in detail about the significance of the time of year and weather. Now, of course, some cruises are very seasonal so you can only cruise in certain areas and certain times of the year. But there are things you still need to watch out for. One of which is related to the weather.

     

    So you might decide that it’s great “I’m going to go to the Caribbean in July” because it’s the middle of summer. However, that’s in the hurricane season! So make sure that as you look at the regions, although you can cruise in some of them, the weather’s not great.

     

    So for example in Alaska. You get a lot of rain particularly as you head into the middle and towards the end of the season. If you’re going to Tahiti and the French Polynesian Islands, you’ll find the rainy season really runs up to the end of May into June time and then it gets really good weather after that with very little rain. So, when you’re looking at booking, also take a look in detail about what weather you like to have on that cruise because the cruise lines going there doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great time of the year to go to.

     

    The other thing linked to that is to make sure that you’re understanding the type of travellers you’re going to have on different types of cruises. So again I’ll use the Caribbean as an example, if you’re heading in the middle of summer you’re going to have lots of families. If you’re heading during spring break time, you might have lots of partying people. If you head out in January or February, you might have an older crowd.

     

    Think about what time of the year you’re taking the cruise because that could affect the type of person on board. So for example, I don’t have kids and I like to travel without kids on board so I would always choose to go to the Caribbean out of school holiday times. So perhaps in November or February because it’s going to be more people than are more couples, more solos and more of an adult crowd for example.

    4. Not understanding the fine print, cancellation and refund terms

    People in their enthusiasm to book a cruise and book a particular itinerary don’t always think through or understand the fine print, the cancellation and the refund terms and these are really important. One of the things we got more used to in the whole period of the shutdown and resuming of cruising is cruise lines introduced much more flexible cancellation, change and refund policies. However, as we look further ahead it’s reverting back to the old more traditional booking and cancellation terms – which are pretty rigid.

     

    So when you’re booking a cruise, take a look at a couple of things. First of all, understand what the deposit level is going to be. Some cruise lines have very large deposits. Also, understand if the deposits will be refundable or you can move them. So that actually means you might want to book a cruise but you’re not 100% sure. But you know that you can get the deposit back.

     

    Also carefully understand the cancellation terms. So a lot of cruise lines (certainly once you’ve paid the final balance) have very, very, very strict cancellation where you can lose between 75% and a 100% of your fare.

     

    Even sometimes on some cruise lines, simply changing a passenger name is counted as a cancellation. So perhaps you’re cruising with somebody and they can’t come and you want to switch it, some cruise lines will actually take that as a cancellation and you will lose that fare for that person. Now, you can often normally negotiate around that if you’re good at negotiating and perhaps put your foot down. But it is a really big challenge.

     

    Bear in mind that cruise lines within the cruise contract can change without any compensation for the itinerary. You might be heading to the Caribbean. It might have a certain amount of ports but because the ports are then closed or there’s an issue at the port or it gets too busy, they can chop and change out ports at will – pretty much without having to give you compensation. So really understand, as you book, some of those limitations and some of those rules.

    5. Not getting a travel insurance

    Another big mistake that people make when booking cruises is they get really excited about the cruise they booked but they don’t think through travel insurance.

     

    Travel insurance is really really important. It’s important to take our travel insurance ideally at the time of making a booking and have a travel insurance that includes “cancelled for any reason”.

     

    Some of the rules and regulations have got much tighter through the whole pandemic situation. And insurance companies are taking out some of the cancel for any reason. But you really want travel insurance when you book so that if you do have to pull out of a cruise at any stage, you have insurance to cover you.

     

    Make sure that you understand what does it cover if there are any pandemic related issues that crop up. Now, with everything that’s happened, it’s not entirely clear how expensive or easy it is to get an insurance that includes cruises. So, for example, my partner recently got a notification from their insurance company which said they no longer, by default, carried cruise as part of their policy, so you have to contact them and pay quite a big premium to get cruise cover.

     

    It’s really important to make sure that you can get travel insurance because if you’re older or have any pre-existing conditions before you make a booking, going on a cruise is very risky without having travel insurance. If something does happen to you, God forbid, you break a leg or something or you fall ill and you have to be evacuated or put in the hospital on land, the cost can be absolutely enormous. Cruising without travel insurance is a really bad idea.

    Recent Comments
      0 0 votes
      Article Rating
      Subscribe
      Notify of
      guest
      0 Comments
      Inline Feedbacks
      View all comments

      about us

      CruisesforSingles.net is dedicated to providing quality information on the subject of Cruises for Singles and in particular various other cruise ideas for customers and merchants online.

      Cruises for Singles