It’s never fun to have your cruise canceled, even when you recognize it’s for the better. In 2020, thousands of would-be cruisers saw their hopes dashed for a fun ocean-bound getaway. If your cruise was canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’s temporary halt of cruise travel, you’ve probably been presented with two options: either take a cruise refund for the trip or get a Future Cruise Credit to be applied toward another sailing in the (hopefully) near future.
You might be thinking, “Why wouldn’t I just choose to get my money refunded if I can’t take the trip?” As it turns out, there are some compelling reasons why opting for the Future Cruise Credit — which is essentially a voucher that can be used to book a future sailing — can be advantageous.
Below, we’ll cover the reasons one option or the other might be better for you, depending on your situation.
A Future Cruise Credit Might Be Better If:
You love perks and extras: One of the major differences between a Future Cruise Credit (also called Future Cruise Certificate or FCC) and a cruise refund is that in a way, you get even more value than what you originally paid when you opt for an FCC.
That’s because the cruise lines are incentivizing choosing the Future Cruise Credit by offering refunds of up to 125% of the original cruise fare. You can use this money to upgrade to an even better room than you originally booked!
In addition, cruise lines are sweetening the deal with hefty onboard credits — up to $600 in some cases. Onboard credit is basically free money for you to use for all kinds of fun stuff while you’re cruising. From spa treatments and drink packages to excursions and shopping, there are a lot of thrilling possibilities.
If you’re looking to get an even bigger boost than what’s offered, you can rebook your trip with a travel agent who can work to get you the perks you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
You had planned to rebook anyway: If you know you’ll find yourself sailing the high seas again sometime next year, or beyond that, a Future Cruise Credit simply makes sense. You’d be leaving money on the table otherwise. Just be sure you understand what your windows of opportunity are, not just in terms of booking your cruise, but in terms of sailing. Most cruise lines let you use the Future Cruise Credit for sailings through 2021, but each is a little different, so be sure to check.
A Full Refund Might Be Better If:
You need that money back: For those who have been recently financially impacted, every bit of money on hand helps, and there’s no shame in that. You’ll not only get your cruise fare, taxes, and port fees back, but also any payments you made toward extras like drink packages, excursions, and any other things you might have added on to your original booking.
Though each cruise line policy is different, most require you to fill out an online form to make it clear you’re opting for a refund, since in many cases they’re issuing Future Cruise Credits automatically.
You’re not sure when you’ll want to travel again: Whether for employment uncertainties, health concerns, or general skepticism about the state of travel, some cruisers aren’t ready to get another sailing in the books. If this sounds like you, a refund is probably your best bet.
Once the world returns to normal, you can bet there will be plenty of destinations to entice you to the world of cruising once again. And this unique situation has caused cruise lines to relax booking and cancellation policies, so you’ll have flexibility and peace of mind when you are finally ready to make plans for a trip.
A Future Cruise Certificate wouldn’t cover the cost of the cruise you have your eye on: A refund might be for you if you had planned to use your Future Cruise Certificate to book a trip similar to your original sailing but then found that prices had increased. It’s a bummer, but the reality is that cruise fares fluctuate depending on the season and other factors. Remember that a travel agent can help you get the best price for your cruise, so it may be worth consulting a professional to weigh your options.
To talk to a travel agent about the best way to use your Future Cruise Credit, visit CruisesOnly, America’s Largest Cruise Agency.