Future Cruise Credit: What you need to know
- Future cruise credit (FCC) is like store credit or a voucher issued by cruise lines in the event that your cruise is canceled.
- Depending on the cruise line, FCC’s may be transferable to another person.
- Whether your original (canceled) cruise was booked online or direct with the cruise line, FCC’s can be used as payment when booking with a travel agent.
- Future cruise credits have expiration dates.
Even before 2020 future cruise credit, abbreviated as FCC, was issued when receiving a refund wasn’t an option. For example, if a client had to cancel their cruise after the final payment was made and cancellation policies were active. Instead of taking a complete loss plus miss out on a cruise, future cruise credit (FCC) was normally offered. In 2020 with the cruise industry shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, FCC’s are being offered — assumed to be taken, really — to everyone who was booked on a cruise.
Related: How to use your future cruise credit
Future Cruise Credit: During and After Covid
Simply stated, future cruise credit is exactly what it sounds like: in exchange for keeping the money you paid toward your cruise, the cruise lines offer vouchers that can be redeemed for a cruise at a later date.
In 2020, with the Covid pandemic, future cruise credit is the default option for cruises that have been canceled by the cruise lines. While the cruise lines are burning cash at a rate that seems scary, there is no danger of the big cruise lines going out of business so any talk about guests losing their money is hype driven by paranoia. Cruise lines are doubling down on their future with new ship builds (Carnival delays (not cancels!) Mardi Gras) and incentives to encourage clients to accept a credit toward their next cruise.
Read: Royal Caribbean suspension and FCC options
Every major cruise line has adjusted their cancellation, refund, and payment policies as a result of the pandemic. These changes include — depending on the cruise line — lowering deposits, making final payments due closer to the sail date, giving the option to cancel at the last minute without penalty, and of course, offering incentives to take a credit instead of requesting a refund.
Instead of 100% (or less) future credit before the ongoing suspensions, guests are being offered 125% in many cases (and with Virgin Cruise Lines up to 200%) which has a number of benefits for both guests and the cruise lines. Guests have the option to upgrade their vacation using the extra bonus credit which could mean taking a longer cruise or different itinerary or upgrading their stateroom. Cruise lines benefit by not having to refund monies paid, but also ensuring guests are going to cruise again in the future.
I personally have (unfortunately) canceled a number of personal cruises this year. I had a cruise planned for April 2020 which canceled. I accepted the bonus credit and booked a longer cruise for later in the Spring — which I naively assumed would sail. When that cruise canceled I booked for the next “return to service” window in an upgraded stateroom. This happened a few times, and I am currently booked on a European cruise for Fall 2021 which was paid for in large part by the bonus FCC. I’m also booked on a New Years Eve cruise, which I’m assuming will cancel (but hoping not!) and will then use the bonus future cruise credit to pay a large chunk of my Alaska cruise next Summer!
I share this for two reasons, first because I believe the time to book your next cruise is “now o’clock” because of the incentives, safety protocols and cancellation policies. Second because if your next cruise sails you get to go on vacation (who doesn’t need a vacation at this point?) and if it doesn’t there will be a bonus toward your next vacation. It’s win-win and I practice what I’m preaching here!
Redeeming Future Cruise Credit
If you were scheduled to be on a cruise that has already canceled, or at the moment your cruise is still scheduled but you’re uncomfortable going, you have (or will have) FCC applied to your account with the cruise line. Now what?
- Know how much future credit you have. Each cruise line calculates the amount differently.
- Be aware of the expiration dates. FCC does expire. It must be used to book by a certain date and sail by a certain date.
- Credit is generally issued per person, not cabin total, and is split based on per person prices.
- Future cruise credit is usually not transferable to other people. There are some rare exceptions.
- Your credit is only valid on the original brand even if there are others under the same umbrella. For example, Royal Caribbean credit is only valid for RC cruises even though Celebrity is owned by the same parent company.
- No matter what you’re told, you can use your FCC when booking with a travel agent, even if you booked online or directly with the cruise line originally.
- Your future credit does not change the promotions or prices that are available at the time of booking.
In these uncertain times, having an advocate in your corner is more important than ever. If you want unbiased information, advice and assistance, use the contact form or call 844-483-6669 and I will joyfully answer your questions and help you navigate the cancellation, booking (or rebooking) process.
About the Author
Joel is a co-owner of JJ Travel Associates (a Dream Vacations franchise), blogger-in-chief at JoelKnowsTravel.com, lover of all things travel (especially UNESCO World Heritage Sites), wannabe comedian, and the person you should call if you're thinking of planning a vacation.