You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Every other Friday we will bring you a piece of reader feedback and our response. Have a question about cruising? Notice an error on our site? Want to just drop a comment for our consideration? Submit your own feedback by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe we’ll select your submission for our next Feedback Blog.
This Week’s Feedback:
“Can anyone book a cruise that allows you to board at a port midway through its itinerary and sail the rest of its journey ?”
This is a question we’ve received so many times that we finally had to investigate a bit further. The generic response tends to be that policies on joining sailings halfway through the voyage not only depend on the individual cruise line, but where in the world you are cruising.
Royal Caribbean‘s website gets into the policies known as cabotage laws, which dictate passenger movement. In certain countries, including the U.S., Italy and Norway, vessels that fly foreign flags (which are most of the major cruise lines) are restricted from transporting guests from one port to another port in the same country. In the U.S., these laws are commonly called the Jones Act.
In countries that don’t have these laws, Royal’s policy is this: “If guests are pre-approved for boarding/departure… they are responsible for making all travel arrangements and will incur any additional expenses (for flights, hotels, transfers to the pier, etc.). “
We asked popular cruise line Carnival about their policy. Their response came back as more emphatic: “We do not allow guests to begin their cruise in a different port other than the original port of embarkation, i.e. you can’t join a cruise once it’s underway from a different port.”
So the bottom line is still squishy; there’s no blanket answer to this question. One thing that does seem common: If a cruise line does allow you to board at a stop other than the scheduled embarkation port, nothing prevents them from charging you the full cruise fare. You’ve been warned.
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