Wave of Covid related cruise line cancellations means thousands of people have future cruise credit (FCC). If you’re one of those people, you may have questions about using future cruise credit to pay for all or part of your next cruise.
Related: What you need to know about future cruise credit
Related: Shop for your next cruise at Dream Vacations by Jennifer and Joel
Cruise lines want you to use future cruise credit to book your next cruise because (unless you’re like me) once you’re on board, you’re likely to spend extra money. So the question is, how do you use FCC when you’re ready to book your next cruise?
First, understand the importance and value of using a travel agent. Your travel agent will save you time and money, ensuring a stress and worry-free vacation from the earliest stages of planning to the unlocking of your front door when you return home.
If, at the end of this post, the thought of navigating the long list of options, policies, and procedures makes your head spin, use the contact form, or call me (844-483-6669) for unbiased advice and assistance.
Future cruise credit expires. How long before the expiration date depends on many factors, including the cruise line, whether the FCC was issued due to the cruise line canceling, and the date it was issued. Buried in the fine print, there is both a “use by” date and a “sail-by” date. Those dates have shifted multiple times and in some cases have no expiration at all. The specific policies for your FCC’s will be listed on the cruise line website.
The question, then, is when do you want to sail? In addition to the fine print deadlines about book and travel by dates, you’ll need to consider the three seasons — peak, off-peak, and shoulder — that will affect your experience, pricing, and availability in cruise terminology. These seasons introduce even more details that need to be considered, including your budget, length of cruise, and destination.
Your next consideration is the destination. Do you have your heart set on going to the same place, following the same itinerary, or is this an opportunity to choose a different destination? For example, each of my scheduled cruises was canceled, so instead of booking the same cruise, I used my bonus future cruise credit to book a bucket list destination (Rome!) for Fall 2021.
Our clients have used their future cruise credit other ways, as well. Some have booked a longer cruise using either their bonus credit and/or applying their unspent “vacation fund” money in addition to future cruise credit. Others have decided to keep their itinerary the same but upgrade their stateroom.
Now that you’ve thought through the options and have a better idea of how you want to use your credit, it’s time to book your next cruise. When you call or book directly with a cruise line, realize they have their own best interests above yours. Of course, they want you to have an amazing vacation; however, the website is designed to return results benefiting the cruise line, and agents are encouraged to balance profit margin and guest experience. Whether you’re dealing with an agent or the website, the goal is the same: up sell.
Each cruise line has a system in place to manage and use cruise credit. Like the Royal Caribbean Group brands, some allow you to look up the value online and then apply the credit as a payment in the checkout process. Other cruise lines require you to call and speak with a sales representative.
If these steps are overwhelming, I’m here to help you cruise with confidence, guiding, assisting, and advising you before, during, and after your cruise; keeping you informed every step of the way, and monitoring the price helping you get the most value from your future cruise credit. Use the contact form or call me (844-483-6669) to begin vacation dreaming!
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.