If you're having a good time and know you're going to take another cruise on the same cruise line, the simple answer is yes. If you're enjoying the cruise and know you'll be on another but you're not sure it will be the same cruise line, the answer is a solid, "maybe."
You come to me for advice, the answer to a simple question, and I suddenly turn into a doctor or lawyer who can't just answer directly, sorry about that. As with so many questions, every situation is different, so let me answer the question directly and then dive a little deeper on why I'm being as clear as mud.
I think the question, "Should I book my next cruise while on a cruise," is really better asked, "Is the offer the cruise line makes while I'm onboard the best offer I'll find?" The answer to that question is simple. Yes. And maybe. But the maybe is just semantics.
The offer you'll get onboard is the best offer you'll get -- but in many cases that offer will also be available for 30 days after your cruise. The cruise lines won't mention that because statistics show that the "take rate" of the offer drops drastically once people step off the ship and back into real life.
Now that I've answered the question of whether or not the offer onboard is the best, lets get back to whether you should book your cruise while you're onboard. Let's assume for the first example that you're having a great time and can't imagine sailing another cruise line and you know you'll be back onboard within the time frame of the offer. Take the offer.
In the second example, you love cruising but you're wondering what the experience on another cruise line might be. For example you love being on Norwegian but you've heard good things about Virgin Voyages and may want to try that instead, but you're not sure.
Ask the crew member making the offer if the deposit is transferable. In most cases the answer will be yes. If the deposit is transferable, you can either decide to use it yourself or sell it to a friend, family member, or a complete stranger and have the deposit transferred to that person. In this case, you'd collect the money yourself and tell the cruise line you're transferring it.
Read: Everything Joel knows about Virgin Voyages
Usually there are two options to take advantage of the special offer: pick a specific cruise or use on a yet to be decided cruise. Either way, whether you're making a deposit on a specific cruise, meaning you already picked the date, itinerary, and ship or you're just making a deposit on a cruise to be named later, it makes sense to take advantage of the special offer.
If your current cruise was reserved with a travel agent, you know how much easier your life is when an expert is giving you advice and thinking of all the details. Can you still work with your trusted agent if you take advantage of the onboard offer? Yes. In most cases the crew member handling your deposit will add your travel agent to the transaction and they'll be notified and eager to help you plan your next cruise. If not, it's possible to transfer the deposit or reservation to your travel agent within a set period of time (usually 15-30 days) and it's a simple process.
Should you decide to make a decision after you're back home, the cruise line will call you -- repeatedly -- to remind you the loyalty offer is still on the table, I mean, ask how much you enjoyed your cruise. You could also call your travel agent (or find one) and they will be able to secure the very same offer. On the subject of travel agents, many have their own loyalty programs so it makes sense to book your next cruise either onboard or within 30 days of the cruise you are (or will be) on.
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.