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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman

More Than Insurance
Cancellation Options for Cruise Passengers

by Linda Coffman

It can't happen to me... or can it?

"It can't happen to me" Scenario 1: You receive a grand jury appointment the week before your scheduled departure and can't wiggle out of fulfilling your civic duty.

Right there in the fine print, the cruise line literature says that cancellation at this late date will cause you to forfeit the entire fare. However, IF you purchased travel insurance and IF jury duty is a "covered" situation, the insurance will reimburse you. That’s why you bought it in the first place. Before buying insurance, read the policy carefully to determine what's covered and what isn't. Generally, you are covered for illness, a death in the immediate family, certain listed perils, and jury duty — however, a "business emergency" is probably not covered.

"It can't happen to me" Scenario 2: Your boss announces a corporate take-over and cancels all vacation time during the lengthy transition. All your pleading fails.

"It can't happen to me" Scenario 3: Rover, the family golden retriever has taken sick with a mysterious illness. Your conscience won't allow you to leave until he's well.

An all critical "penalty period" usually kicks in after your final payment is made, often as far out as 75 days before your cruise. What can you lose? Everything from your initial deposit to the entire cruise fare.

Under Scenarios 2 and 3, you stand to forfeit a significant investment in your trip if you are in the penalty period — unless you are covered by a cruise line cancellation program that recognizes extraordinary situations. 

Silversea's Reassurance Program

For peace of mind when planning your cruise, Silversea’s Reassurance Program protects you from any unforeseen circumstances. The ultra-luxury line offers the option of canceling your cruise for any reason. Enrollment in the Reassurance Program insures that you can cancel your cruise 1-14 days before sailing and receive 100% Reassurance Cruise Credit on a future cruise to be used within one year.

The Reassurance Program is in addition to "Silversea GuestCare" Optional Insurance Program, which covers typical incidents — trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay, accident and sickness medical expenses, emergency evacuation, baggage and personal effects, baggage delay, and traveler’s assistance. At this time, the Reassurance Program will be available through May 31, 2002.

Holland America Line's Cancellation Protection Plan

Under Holland America Line's Standard Cancellation Protection Plan (CPP), passengers also have the flexibility to cancel up to twenty-fours hours prior to their cruise and receive an 80% discount on a future cruise. Also included is $500 in liability for lost, damaged, or delayed baggage. CPP does not include any other insurance.

For additional coverage, Holland America's CPP Platinum Plan supplements the Standard coverage with insurance, travel assistance, and a 90% future booking discount. Discounts are valid for two years and may be applied to any Holland America sailing.

Princess Love Boat Care & 
Norwegian Cruise Line Travel Care Free

Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line offer similar insurance programs that include the extra feature of voluntary cancellation clauses for non-insured reasons. Reimbursement is a credit applicable for a future cruise and is equal to 75% of the non-refundable fee at the time of cancellation.

Upgrade to Love Boat Care Gold or Norwegian Travel Care Free Platinum for an additional $50 premium and the cruise credit is bumped up from 75% to 90% for cancellations that are otherwise not covered.

The Choice is Yours

Unspoken, but included in these plans, is flexibility and unprecedented choice — the choice to postpone traveling for any personal reason or if you just feel like staying close to home in troubled times.

More about insurance — Going "Bare" has nothing to do with sunbathing au natural. Here's the scoop on protecting your cruise investment and yourself.

What can you expect if you get ill on board? Share our "sick bay" experiences in Cruise Care.

More Articles

Information Courtesy of Silversea Cruises, Holland America Line, 
Princess Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line