A common question from our clients about cruising is: “If I book my cruise now, and later the price goes down, will I be able to get the lower price?”
Unfortunately, this decision to re-ticket at a lower rate is not made by Rainbow Travel Inc. It is made by the respective cruise line, and we must abide by the cruise line’s policy. To help our clients understand how this works, I’ll describe the three main types of price protection policies that are currently enforced by the cruise lines (these are subject to change at any time).
Of all the world’s major cruise lines, only Crystal offers an unconditional price-protection policy. If you book a Crystal cruise, and at a later time the price is reduced for the category you reserved, Crystal will automatically adjust the price for your cruise to the lower rate. Kudos to Crystal for having such a customer-friendly policy.
Next, there are several cruise lines that will, in most cases, adjust the price for your cruise if a lower rate becomes available for the category you’ve reserved, but only upon request, and only if the lower price is still being offered for new bookings at the time of the request. These cruise lines do not notify their customers who have already booked about subsequent price reductions. However, if you find an advertisement where the price for the category you reserved has been reduced, our travel consultants can request the new price on your behalf. Cruise lines that fall into this category include Azamara, Celebrity, Cruise West, Cunard, Disney, P&O, Princess, Regent (Radisson), Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea, Star Clippers, Windstar and Voyages of Discovery. Sometimes there are exceptions when a cruise line introduces a promotion that specifically states it applies to new bookings only.
Finally, many cruise lines have policies similar to the major airlines. They do not reduce the fares of ticketed passengers when they cut the price for new bookings. Prices are locked in at the time of booking, and if the price falls, the new lower rate applies to new bookings only. If prices are reduced outside of the penalty period, which typically begin about 75 to 90 days before the departure, these cruise lines may allow us to cancel your reservation and rebook you at the lower rate, although in some cases a nominal rebooking fee may apply. But if you are within the penalty period, you would have to pay the applicable cancellation penalties before rebooking, and the penalties almost always cost more than the savings. Cruise lines that fall into this category include Carnival, Costa, Fred.Olsen, Holland America, Hurtigruten, Majestic America (American West & Delta Queen), MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Oceania, Peter Deilmann, Uniworld and Viking River Cruises.