Booking cruises aboard the ship.

| Monday, 05 Mar. 2001

You're on a cruise, extremely relaxed, enjoying all the comforts, good food and great ports of call. The thought crosses your mind that booking another cruise before this one is even over would be a great idea. But then you begin to question the idea, wondering if it's prudent, and perhaps if the cruise lines are preying on your relaxed state. Should you or shouldn't you? That is the question!

In my opinion, booking another cruise while on a cruise is a fantastic idea. The cruise lines know that you might be most inclined to book another cruise while you're enjoying your current one, so they make it easy for you to do so. Most major cruise lines employ on-board cruise consultants or have a member of the Purser's Staff who is extremely knowledgeable about future bookings. Most lines will also offer you a few extra perks to make it that much more appealing.

I surveyed many of the major cruise lines to see what their policies and perks were in this matter. After sifting through the responses, I've concluded that booking on board offers tremendous value and some great perks if you wish to sail with the same line again.

Here were the major concerns that I outlined:
  1. What are the benefits to (re)booking on board (discounts, shipboard credits, upgrades, etc.)?
  2. Is the booking automatically credited back to the travel agency that handled the current cruise?
  3. Can the passenger choose to credit the booking to another travel agent/agency if they choose?
  4. Can any benefits/bonuses/perks be combined with another promotion if their travel agent has one available? What if a lower price becomes available?
  5. What are the requirements for booking on board? Must the passenger pay a deposit while on board, or can they wait until they return home?

As a general rule, most lines will offer you the lowest currently available pricing, along with some form of extra savings, shipboard credit, upgraded accommodations or a combination thereof. And most will indeed price-protect the booking and allow you to keep all the additional perks if a lower price becomes available before final payment is due. You simply choose the ship, sailing date and accommodations, and provide the line with a deposit, and they will either credit your new booking to your current agent, or give you the option of choosing a new agent. Some lines will even let you to defer deposit until you've returned home.

Here's a look at what each line offers:

Celebrity Cruises

  • Perks A shipboard credit of $100 per stateroom for a seven-night cruise, $200 per stateroom for a cruise of eight nights or more.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes.
  • Combinable with other promotions: Yes. Consultants on board Celebrity have direct access to the Miami reservations system, and can take advantage of any promotions available at the time of booking. Celebrity will also price-protect passengers if a lower rate becomes available before final payment.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A credit card deposit is required at the time of booking to secure the on-board booking benefits.

Crystal Cruises

  • Perks Rebooking while on board entitles the guests to additional savings on their next cruise. The savings vary depending on the sailing and the promotional fare applied to it.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes. The passenger has a two-week window of opportunity from the time they return home to choose a new agent.
  • Combinable with other promotions: This varies by promotion and by sailing date.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A deposit of $100 is required at the time of booking to secure the on-board booking benefits. This is charged to the guest's on-board account.

Cunard Line

  • Perks Guests receive an additional 5% discount.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes.
  • Combinable with other promotions: The 5% on-board booking bonus discount can be combined with Cunard's advance purchase fares and 10% past guest savings.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A credit card deposit is required at the time of booking to secure the on-board booking benefits.

Holland America Line

  • Perks Guests receive a shipboard credit of $100-$200 per cabin. This amount is determined by the ship and sailing date.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes.
  • Combinable with other promotions: The on-board booking benefits are combinable with alumni rates, advance purchase discounts and agency-specific fares/promotions.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A deposit is not required at the time of booking, but is strongly encouraged.

Norwegian Cruise Line

  • Perks Guests may receive additional discounts, shipboard credits, upgraded accommodations or any combination of perks depending on the ship and sailing date.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes.
  • Combinable with other promotions: No.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A credit card deposit is required at the time of booking.

Orient Lines

  • Perks Orient Lines offers stateroom upgrades, discounts and special incentives that vary from cruise to cruise, but more importantly, it guarantees the lowest price in the market for all cruises booked on board. "If Orient Lines at any time offers a lower price from your hometown for the cruise and stateroom you choose, you will automatically be charged the lower rate. No exceptions." Passengers can leave the ship with a confirmed stateroom and price for their next cruise with Orient Lines.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes. Within 30 days of the passenger leaving the ship, the agency with which they booked their most recent Orient Lines cruise will be notified.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: This can be done only if the passengers specify in writing that they want the booking credit to go to another agent/agency.
  • Combinable with other promotions: No.
  • On-board deposit requirements:$25 per person. Then within 30 days of returning home, they or their travel agent must send Orient Lines the balance of the normal cruise deposit ($500 in the United States) less the amount already paid. Thereafter, the normal final payment policies outlined in the company's brochures apply.

Princess Cruises

  • Perks A significant benefit to booking a future cruise while on board a current Princess cruise is being able to hold staterooms at Captain's Circle (i.e., past passenger) rates with a minimum deposit of $100 per person. Normal deposits range from $350 per person for a Caribbean cruise to $1,800 per person for the World Cruise. Additionally, the $100 deposit can be for friends and family who are not Captain's Circle members, but who would like to join the current passenger on the future cruise Also, passengers who book on board their current cruise are entitled to a future shipboard credit, which is combinable with any other existing deal. The credit ranges from $25 to $150 per person, depending on length of cruise and stateroom category booked.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes.
  • Combinable with other promotions: Varies by ship and sailing date. Princess will also protect passengers at a lower rate if one becomes available before final payment is due. Passengers may change their ship and sailing date once they return home without losing any of the perks.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A $100 credit card deposit is required at the time of booking

Radisson Seven Seas

  • Perks $100 per person cruise discount combinable with all other offers, including the prevailing Immediate Deposit Reward for that particular cruise (typically $100 per person shipboard credit) and the 5% Seven Seas Society savings (past-guest club). Other benefits include first look at future schedules.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes
  • Combinable with other promotions: Yes. As per their standard policy, if they change a promotion to offer better savings or value-added enhancements, all existing bookings are protected (not just those made on board).
  • On-board deposit requirements:Guests must make a $100 per person deposit. The deposit must be "topped-up" to the usual 10% amount within 14 days of returning home. The $100 deposit is fully refundable as per existing terms and conditions (outside of 120 days prior to sailing); they also may transfer it to a different cruise if they change their minds, and the original benefits are protected.

Royal Caribbean

  • Perks A shipboard credit of $50 per stateroom for three and four-night cruises, $100 for a seven night cruise and $200 for a cruise of eight nights or more.
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes.
  • Combinable with other promotions: Yes. Consultants on board Celebrity have direct access to the Miami reservations system and can take advantage of any promotions available at the time of booking. Royal Caribbean will also price-protect passengers if a lower rate becomes available before final payment.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A credit card deposit is required at the time of booking to secure the on board booking benefits.

Seabourn

  • Perks Guests receive an additional 5% discount
  • Credited to Agency of Record: Yes, unless otherwise specified by the guest.
  • Ability to choose an alternate agent: Yes.
  • Combinable with other promotions: The 5% on-board booking discount is combinable with Cunard's advance purchase fares and 10% past guest savings.
  • On-board deposit requirements:A credit card deposit is required at the time of booking to secure the on board booking benefits.

As you can see, the cruise lines want to make it easy and painless for you to book another cruise with them, so the benefits can be quite substantial. But also bear in mind that these policies, like any others, are subject to change--so it is always best to confirm these details in writing at the time of your inquiry.

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