What you MUST know about cruise ships T&C before you sail!

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I have been on exactly two cruises in my life. The first one was so good I wanted to become a permanent resident on the boat. The next, on the same ship BTW, opened my eyes to what you can be in for on a cruise ship ( that trip I will tell you all about another day )!

Here are some fun facts to know about cruising:

1) They want deposits early so you can not challenge the charge on your credit card if things go wrong ( you only have a certain amount of  time to do that after a charge )

2) They can switch your room or even the boat if they want

3) Once on board they can go anywhere they want and you have no right to complain

4) Most of the time if things go very wrong they will only pay a multiple of your purchase price or, then again, just a percentage of it.

5) You have no right to a class action lawsuit if anything goes wrong.

Do all of these points make your blood boil a bit and make you say:  NO WAY! That is just not right!? Well here is the thing no one thinks about. When you check in at whatever cruise line you like, and they get all your info, take your photo for your ID room card, and you sign the little box onscreen as required to be allowed on the boat, you are agreeing to a scary amount of stuff. Don’t believe me? No one ever reads the T&C before they sail ( I know I did not, but will now):

Now each of these talked about the five points I have outlined above. Keep in mind these are not American flagged ships most of the time and your rights are pretty much whatever they say they are, and you did after all agree to the terms as that is your signature when you checked in, right?

I am not saying I will not cruise again. I plan to next year for my 25th wedding anniversary, spending over 200,000 Chase UR points on a Royal Caribbean ship and had some outstanding help from my friend Marshall Jackson who I think would live on a RC ship if they asked him says:

“behave on a ship the same way [you would] behave in another country. Be aware…be smart… but still have fun!”

I have never been on RC, but I have yet to find anyone tell me of a bad trip with them. I am not the starry eyed child anymore after what happened to me and my wife on a BAD NCL trip (more coming soon on this), and I just want anyone new to cruise ships to know what can and does happen! – René

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  1. Let me thumbs-up Royal Caribbean. I’ve only been cruising for two years and already have 27 nights with them. Each ship and departure port has been a slightly different experience, but I have yet to have a negative experience with them. None of this is to say others aren’t similar, but I’m hooked on cruising and it will likely be with RCL until they screw it up.

  2. Yes, a lot of people forget that most (all?) major cruise ships are foreign flag carriers, and another nation’s laws apply. Personally I couldn’t stand being holed up on a boat for a week, but the onerous T&Cs don’t help either.

  3. No mention of SkyMilesCruises.com? Persons booking their cruise through the website can earn from 1500 to 10K Delta Skymiles depending on the length of the cruise and the type of suite. The website also has a best price guarantee where they will refund 110% of the difference if you find a lower price elsewhere.

  4. You really have to know your cruiselines before you cruise. Not surprised that an NCL cruise might be less than satisfactory, or that a Costa would end up on the rocks. After 25+ years and dozens of cruises it boils down to 2 things – a cruise ship is a vehicle with a hotel on it. The crew runs the vehicle and the hotel staff runs the hotel. Know who has the best crews and know what kind of hotel in sitting about the water line. Is that a *. **. **. ***. or ***** hotel? Match your hotel preference to what is on the ship and your travel risk preference to what crew is running the ship.

    Going for a round the world cruise? Costa ain’t a prudent choice, nor is an old ship with a history of engine breakdows – too high risk for an expensive cruise like that. Like ***** hotels, then Carnival might not be the right line.

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