Norwegian Cruise Line has implemented changes to its cancellation fee schedule for bookings made on or after Jan. 1, 2016, in many ways simplifying the graph of penalty fees while making them stricter and costlier, too. Also gone now are fees specific to Hawaiian sailings and holiday and Haven bookings specific to cruise length.
Now on cruises 1-6 days in length, if the voyage is canceled 75-57 days prior to the sailing, passengers lose their deposit, whereas before it was lost only 60-45 days before cruises of 1-5 days in length. The timescale for penalties of 50 percent of the cruise fare have also been moved up, but those for 75 and 100 percent of the fare remain nearly identical.
As for cruises seven days or more in length, 25 percent of the fare is lost 89-76 days prior to departure, as opposed to the deposit being forfeited 75-56 days before cruises of six days or more in length. For these longer sailings, fees of 50, 75 and 100 percent of the fare also apply sooner.
Lastly, fees for canceling holiday sailings (those that run through Christmas and/or New Years) of any length have become the most strict. While there is no penalty for canceling them more than 120 days before departure, 25 percent of the fare is lost if canceled 119-90 days before and 50 percent of the fare is lost if canceled 89-56 days before instead of losing these amounts only 75-63 days or 62-42 days respectively before those of any length. Closer to the sailing date, the penalties reach 100 percent of the cruise fare 55 days or less to departure, whereas previously this applied only 20 or 14 days or less before the sailing.
Of course, these changes are in the best interest of the cruise line, especially understandable for the more popular holiday sailings. What remains to be seen is how greatly, if at all, this will affect consumers’ decisions to book, as cancelations are sometimes unavoidable. If nothing else, it’s a good reminder to insure your trip to cover penalties under certain circumstances.