So you’ve done all the research, weighed the alternatives, and painstakingly chosen your next cruise, hitting “book” with glee. Then, at that point, you discover days, weeks, or even months after the fact that your cruise price dropped after booking. So what do you do in these situations?
In all actuality, it depends – primarily on the window of time between booking and the last payment. On the off chance that you’ve booked a cruise only to see the value drop soon after, here’s what you can (and can’t) expect to happen as far as a cruise price drop.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. Please check out my disclosure for more information.
Price drop within 48 hours of booking
After you book, check the pricing on the cruise you booked over the next two days. Cruise lines often offer a 48-hour grace period to submit a claim if a lower price shows up.
Carnival’s Lowest Price Guarantee offers 110 percent of the difference (in publically available rates) in the form of an onboard credit. Norwegian Cruise Line has a comparable Best Price Guarantee that offers 110 percent in onboard credit or the option to re-price your cruise at the lower rate. Other cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, offer comparable price adjustment guarantees.
Price drop before final payment
There are upsides and downsides to booking early or late. The earlier you book, though, the more likely you are to see a price drop.
Most of the time, if you’ve only paid your deposit and not your final payment, it’ll be easy to get your price adjusted. Cancellation fees are usually waived before final payment, so it’s easier for the cruise line to adjust your price instead of canceling and re-booking you at the new rate. Remember that you may be offered the difference in the form of onboard credit or an upgrade.
Price drop after final payment
After making your final payment, it becomes a little more challenging to get a price adjustment. You could end up paying cancellation fees and re-booking (making sure the difference is in your favor in the end), or you can call the cruise line or your travel agent to negotiate on your behalf.
Depending on how huge the price drop is, you may be offered a cabin upgrade or onboard credit after negotiations, but it will rarely ever be a cash refund.
As with any other price difference, what’s included in the fare may change. Just because the price is lower doesn’t mean that the fare is better. For example, if the fare you booked includes a drink package, but the lower price doesn’t, you’ll have to determine if it’s worth the credit.
Also, be careful of the type of fare you’d be booking at the new lower price. If you’re unsure, I recommend you consult a travel professional, either with the cruise line or a travel agent.
As my Mom will tell you, once I book a cruise, I am glued to the price alert emails checking for price drops. I’ve gotten some really good drops and sometimes, depending on how popular the itinerary or ship is, I don’t get anything at all. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye out, right?! Happy cruising!