You’ve looked forward to your cruise vacation for months, but the morning of your trip you find yourself stuck at the airport, your flight delayed. You won’t get to the port before the cruise ship departs. What happens next depends on how you booked your trip, your travel insurance coverage and how much cash you have to deal with your dilemma.
What happens if it’s the airline’s fault?
Airlines communicate with cruise ships, so arrangements can be made for the ship to wait for passengers to meet it in the next port. The first thing to do is let customer service know as soon as possible, so they can try to locate another flight.
The airline and cruise line may be able to work together to resolve your problem. At the very least, the cruise line will know where you are and whether to expect you to join the ship later on.
If you purchased airfare from the cruise line, you’d be booked onto a flight to the next port of call without any change fees. Though your new flight will be handled by the airline, the cost of a hotel stay, food and other incidentals you incur at the port city are likely your responsibility.
Check your travel insurance coverage for this situation, if you do have coverage, contact the insurance company to get instructions. The insurance company’s representative will assist you with further reservations to the next port city, or issue you a refund for the trip. If you don’t have travel insurance coverage and you purchased your airfare, getting to the next port is going to cost you.
What if you missed it because you were late?
Cruise lines are strict about departure times. If you’re tardy, you may be left standing on the dock when your ship leaves port. The bad news is that if you miss your ship, the onus is on you to pay to be transported to the next destination. Otherwise, you are responsible for any expense incurred to meet the ship at its next port of call. For this reason, many guests find it is easiest to arrive a day prior to sailing and stay in a hotel the night before to avoid any possible delays. If the cruise leaves without you and you left your papers behind, find a port agent and the nearest US Consulate. They can expedite an emergency passport for this particular emergencies.
Remember: it’s unwise to take out your actual passport (or even your credit card if you don’t think you’ll need it) but if the worst happens it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before you leave for your cruise take copies of your passport and credit cards. Leave the originals in the safe in your cabin but take these copies with you.
How to avoid this situation?
Rule #1: be on time!
Plan your activities and give yourself plenty of lead time and know your schedule by heart. Carry copies of your documents and important phone numbers.
Have any questions? Let us know! We’re here to help.