Celebrity Cruises has reached out to guests to let them know that the shore tour cancellation policy has been changed, effective January 1, 2024.
Guests will now need to cancel their tours earlier to receive a refund, but certain excursions do have different policies and much different cancellation windows.
Celebrity Cruises Shore Excursion Policy Change
Booking shore tours through Celebrity Cruises is a great way to ensure amazing experiences in different ports of call, but guests need to be aware of an update to the tour cancellation policy.
The cruise line recently began reaching out to guests with booked tours to notify them of a timing change for the cancellation window.
“Beginning January 1, you’ll have up to 48 hours prior to arriving in port to cancel your shore excursion,” the notification reads. “This update applies to all new and existing bookings.”
Previously, the cancellation window was up to 24 hours “prior to scheduled tour departure” according to the Celebrity Cruises website.
Not only was the prior cancellation window smaller, but it also changes to “prior to arriving in port” rather than relying on the departure time of different tours. This makes the policy more uniform regardless of whether guests have chosen an early or late tour on the day of a port visit.
Furthermore, the wider cancellation window should help eliminate the sometimes inconsiderate practice of passengers booking multiple tours long before setting sail, but then cancelling the day before when they decide which tour they want to participate in.
This tactic effectively makes reservations without any cancellation penalty, but does not permit other guests to make their own reservations because tour spaces will fill up. Now, the wider 48-hour cancellation window gives time for other guests to take advantage of any late cancellations and for tour operators to be sure tours will be as full as possible when the ship arrives.
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This cancellation change only applies to shore excursions booked through Celebrity Cruises. Guests who make independent arrangements for different ports of call will need to check the terms and conditions of cancellation or rescheduling with their individual tour operators.
Even Bigger Cancellation Windows for Some Tours
Guests should be aware that some specialized tours have much broader cancellation windows. Tours with flights, trains, special events, overnight stays, and other exclusive arrangements must be cancelled 30 days before sailing – before the cruise embarks, regardless of what day the tour will take place, even on longer voyages.
Because these unique tours have much more elaborate arrangements, it is perfectly reasonable that they would have more restrictive cancellation requirements. For now, there is no change to the 30-days-before-sailing window, but the terms and conditions of shore excursions could be adjusted at any time.
Benefits of Cruise Line Shore Excursions
Booking shore excursions through the cruise line – Celebrity Cruises or any other cruise line – not only offers guests a great way to explore various ports of call, but guests can feel reassured about the tours they select.
Cruise lines only offer tours from reputable operators who have met rigorous safety standards. Furthermore, because cruise lines will be in touch with tour operators at every port, if a tour is delayed for any reason, the cruise ship will wait in port for the tour to return and passengers will not be left behind.
If guests have booked an independent tour and run into difficulties, there are no guarantees that the ship will wait for a delayed tour to return before departing.
Of course, guests do not need to book any excursion at all when they visit different ports of call. Some cruisers have visited the same ports many times and prefer to stay onboard the ship to enjoy its many amenities while other guests are ashore and crowds are smaller, or they simply not be interested in a specific destination.
Do you book tours through the cruise line or make independent arrangements? Have you ever had to cancel a tour at the last minute? Share your experiences on the Cruise Hive boards!