Woman Making Cruise Mistakes

8 Cruise Booking Mistakes You’ll Regret Making

Are you planning a cruise? Before you book your cruise, read this first to make sure you don’t make cruise booking mistakes. I’m also sharing my cruise budget planner as a free printable below.

Cruise Booking Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not Checking Your Passport Expiration

Before booking your cruise, make sure you check the expiration date of your passport. If you have a resident alien card (greencard), check its expiration date as well. Several cruise lines will not allow you to travel if your passport is expired.

Even if your passport is not yet expired but within six months of expiration, boarding may be denied by the cruise lines. It’s important to check your passport expiration before you book your cruise, especially if you’re reserving a non-refundable last minute cruise.

2. Not Checking the Airfare and Hotel

It’s always a good idea to double check the airfare and hotel accommodations before booking your cruise. You don’t want to end up with expensive airfare or find out the flight to the cruise port is already sold out.

You also don’t want to be stuck with a cruise where there are no affordable hotel accommodations. To avoid any unwanted surprises, make sure you check the airfare and hotel details before booking the cruise.

Cruise Booking Mistakes

3. Not Booking During the Wave Season

To get the best deal on cruises, book your cruise during the wave season – the time when most cruise lines have their sales. This period typically runs from January to March and is known for the “wave season” in the cruise industry.

During this time, you can take advantage of sales and promotions like free beverage packages, free third and fourth guests, prepaid gratuities, and free upgrades. If you can wait for the wave season before booking your cruise, do it, it will save you money.

4. Not Comparing Cruise Prices

When it comes to booking cruises, it’s best not to assume that the deals are all the same. It’s worth checking out a few different places online such as Cruise Direct and comparing the deals.

Often, it’s the little extras that can make a difference, for example, one place may offer more onboard credit than another. So, take some time to compare and see where you can snag the best deal before booking your next cruise.

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5. Not Comparing Total Trip Cost 

Before you book your cruise, it’s important to compare the total cost of the trip rather than just the cruise fare. This means factoring in the cost of airfare and hotel accommodations as well.

For example, if you’re considering a Caribbean cruise, you may have the option to sail out of Miami or Tampa. Don’t just compare the cruise fare, but also the price of airfare to each city, along with the cost of hotel stays. While the cruise fare may be cheaper from Miami, you may find that your airfare and hotel costs in Tampa are lower, making the total cost of cruising out of Tampa more affordable.

Always include the cost of airfare and hotel when comparing cruise options to avoid booking a seemingly good deal that ends up being expensive due to added expenses.

Cruise Booking Mistakes

6. Not Reading the Terms & Conditions for Last Minute Cruise Bookings

If you’re booking last minute cruise deals, make sure to read the terms and conditions closely. Typically, last minute cruise deals require full payment at the time of booking instead of a deposit, which is what is required for bookings made further in advance. 

Also, most last minute cruises are non-refundable, so it’s important to double check the fine print before clicking the submit button. Make sure you’re aware of all the requirements before booking your last minute cruise. Check out my tips on booking last minute cruises.

7. Not Buying Travel Insurance

Many people don’t book travel insurance because the premium is expensive. Not buying travel insurance when you are traveling out of the country is a big mistake because many health insurance don’t cover medical emergencies outside of the US. Medicare does not pay for healthcare expenses incurred abroad. 

Also, if you’re traveling during hurricane season, you should buy travel insurance. There are higher chances of delays when you travel during the hurricane season so you want to make sure you are covered for it.

You should keep in mind that you need to buy travel insurance at least two weeks after booking your trip since you cannot buy it when you hear the news of an approaching hurricane. By then, it will be too late to buy travel insurance. Check out my article on mistakes people make when cruising during the hurricane season.

8. Not Booking Early for the Best Cabin Choices

I know I just said to wait for the wave season before booking your cruise. But let’s say you missed the wave season. In that case, it would be wise to book your cruise as soon as possible.

This is because the later you book, the fewer cabin options will be available. The most popular cabins, such as spa cabins, suites and family cabins, tend to sell out quickly. If you want to have more cabin choices, it’s better to book early.

It’s also important to book early if you plan to cruise during peak school vacation periods, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. To get the best cabins, it’s best to book early. Don’t wait too long. It’s not uncommon for people to book a year in advance! Also, make sure to check out my article on the 10 worst cabins on a cruise– you’ll regret booking.

Free Cruise Budget Tracker

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Cruise Budget Tracker
Cruise Budget Tracker

Check out these cruise packing lists with free printables

Alaska cruise packing list

Caribbean cruise packing list

Mediterranean cruise packing list

21 Smart and Easy Ways to Save Money on a Cruise

10 Ridiculous Time Wasters to Avoid on a Cruise

15 Things I Wished I had Known as a First Time Cruiser

10 Rookie Mistakes that Waste Money on a Cruise

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