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As you read this I am home after a simply wonderful first ever Holland America cruise on the Eurodam. I can not wait to share my feedback on this sorta-free-but-not-really-free cruise from my Caesars match offer.
I was not booked on Nieuw Amsterdam that is just coming off of scheduled dry dock maintenance but has now had a sailing delayed by two days with passengers stuck in the Fort Lauderdale departure port waiting for the ship to arrive. Had I been book on this I would not have been that sad if I had in fact paid for the cruise. Let me explain.
Cruisehive was told by Holland America that: “We are writing to advise you that due to adverse weather conditions in the Bahamas and along the coast of Florida, Nieuw Amsterdam will be delayed in returning from her scheduled dry dock maintenance,” the notification read. “As a result of this delay, embarkation for your cruise will now take place two days later than originally scheduled, on Monday, December 18, 2023.”
Well that does not sound great does it. But holy cow did Holland go above and beyond to compensate passengers for the delay. Everyone gets either hotel rooms provided for the extra days, of if you booked your own night (I would have on points with a rewards card) then you get $300 per day onboard credit (sweet)! Oh there is more. Everyone gets (again per Cruisehive):
- 100% future cruise credit (even though you get the 5 night cruise to enjoy still)
- 25% refund of the original cruise fare back
- $75 (USD) per person, per day missed
I mean just wow. They are basically “comping” everyone for the shorter cruise with so many credits that you can use to book shore excursions or whatever, cash back and then you get to do it all over again when you can through 2025!
Yes, please delay me by two days Holland America!!!
Now not all cruise lines are as wildly generous when things go wrong and sometimes they can be down right stingy. We recently reported here on the blog how Oceania dumped a bunch of ports turning the cruise into mostly a many days at sea cruise with zero compensation. I have seen other situations where, with more advance warning, cruise lines simply offering a full refund and nothing more!
So if you are impacted what can you do? Let’s start with the obvious bits everyone who is a Frequent Floater should know:
- Have Travel Insurance
- Arrive at lease 1 day early to departure port
- Be flexible and proactive
- Push for compensation if not offered.
Anyone who has followed me as a blogger for over a decade knows I hold a yearly Allianz travel policy. It is not huge and there are months where I let it lapse (when not traveling much) but most of the time it is in place. The policy, if I had a massive cruise cost, will not cover everything but it will make a bad situation tolerable and the same goes for situations like the above. I would likely have been able to have my insurance pay for the rooms and then get sweet onboard credits Holland was offering i.e. a win-win. If you don’t travel very much consider a policy to at least cover your full cruise journey from door to door.
Next up is another obvious one that I see so many dismiss, that is, arrive early to your departure port. Unless I have something massive in the way I always, either domestically or internationally arrive 2 full days before the ship sails. This way, even with a massive storm, I can find some way to get to port – even if it takes all the extra time booked. If all goes like butter I can enjoy my time at port before the cruise and yes I tend to use hotel points to stay for free! Stress, folks, is something you must avoid when taking a cruise vacation.
Then we have a very important one – don’t freak out, that is, be flexible. This does not mean put up with everything a cruise line sticks you with but be aware of the situation and be ready to react. Take as an example the time I was on a cruise and they changed the final arrival port from Barcelona to Tarragona (about an hour away). I arranged for a taxi to take us to the airport since it would be the only way to make our flight (with the additional transit time) and then I turned the approximately 200 Euro bill in to my travel insurance and got a check in a few days.
The last one is a bit harder and depending on the line and the circumstance you make have some success or none. First up if a line offers you nothing – don’t expect to be able to sue them or have a cruise attorney take your case because the latter will not care about something as small as your case and the previous is just not realistic with the contract you digitally signed when you booked the cruise. That said if you go in with kindness and explaining all the things you had to do after the cruise line stiffed you – you may get something big like 50% off your next cruise or a free cabin upgrade or onboard credit to make the situation better. Bottom line try for something but be nice going about it.
From airlines to hotel to cruise lines – every part of your trip wants you to have a great vacation and should be willing to help you if you calmly explain the situation and give them a chance to not just help you but make it right. Worst case, if all goes south after all your best efforts, you can always appeal to my good friend Chris Elliott and his team to see if they can accomplish what you could not! – Rene
Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.
Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.