Princess Cruises Makes Guests Think Twice Before Cancelling

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Princess Cruises has announced significant changes to its cancellation policies, prompting guests to reconsider their cancellation plans. The updated rules, set to impact all bookings made from March 4, 2024, onwards, introduce a more stringent timeline for cancelling cruises without incurring a 100% cancellation fee.

This policy is designed to discourage last-minute cancellations, providing Princess Cruises with additional time to allocate previously booked spaces. Yet, this approach could also be interpreted as another strategy by the Los Angeles-based cruise line to secure financial benefits at the guest’s expense.

Princess Cruises Unveils Revised Cancellation Timelines

Princess Cruises, part of Carnival Corporation, has unveiled a new and much stricter cancellation policy, affecting all cruises booked on or after March 4, 2024. 

Under the new policy, guests planning to cancel their cruise must do so with more notice than previously required to avoid losing the full cost of their trip. Reservations made before this date will still be subject to the existing cancellation conditions.

For cruises ranging from 1 to 24 days, a cancellation made 30 days or less before the departure date will result in a 100% forfeiture of the total cruise fare. For longer cruises of 25 days or more, the penalty threshold extends to 60 days before embarkation.

In a statement, the cruise line said the following: “Effective with new bookings made on or after Mar 4, 2024, our 100% Cancellation Fee policy will shift to 30 days prior to sail date, as the current policy of 14-days prior to sail date will be discontinued. All existing bookings will follow the outgoing policy.”

Also Read: Princess Cruises Announces Surge in Alaska Bookings

“This change simplifies our policy as there will only be two cancellation schedules, shown below. It’s important to note that voyages of five days or less will now have a final payment due date of 90 days, rather than 75 days prior to sail.”

Cancellation Fee Structure

For guests embarking on shorter cruises between 1 and 24 days, the cancellation fee structure will be as follows

  • No fee for cancellations made 90 days or more before the sailing date.
  • A 25% fee applies if cancelled 75 to 89 days prior.
  • A 50% fee is levied for cancellations made 61 to 74 days before departure.
  • Those cancelling 31 to 60 days prior will incur a 75% fee.
  • A 100% fee is charged for cancellations made 30 days or less before the departure.
Ruby Princess Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Lisa Bronitt / Shutterstock

For itineraries of 25 days or longer, such as World Cruises, the cancellation fees are even stricter, potentially costing guests tens of thousands of dollars in case of a cancellation. 

  • No fee if cancelled 120 days or more in advance.
  • Cancelling between 113 and 119 days before departure incurs a fee equivalent to the amount of the deposit or 30% of total charges for World Cruises.
  • A 50% fee applies for cancellations made 61 to 112 days prior.
  • A 100% cancellation fee is enforced for cancellations 60 days or less before the cruise begins.

Under the old policy, penalties began for cancellations made between 45 and 90 days before sailing. 

More Nickle and Diming From Princess?

The recent adjustment to the cancellation policy by Princess Cruises presents yet another example of how the cruise line appears to be increasing fees and a broader trend of the Los Angeles-based cruise line finding ways to extract more value from its guests, which includes the introduction of new package deals.

Discovery Princess in Los Angeles
Discovery Princess in Los Angeles (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

As Princess Cruises enforces these tighter cancellation windows, guests now face the challenge of losing significant amounts of money or being locked into their travel plans much earlier. 

While there are certainly ways in which guests can minimize the risk, comprehensive travel insurance being one of them, for many, the cost of these insurance policies represents a financial burden that is hard to justify on top of their cruise fare.

The new rules highlight the growing concern about the fine line between efficient business practices and what many perceive as nickel-and-diming tactics from Princess Cruises. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that many of the current policies are those initiated during the pandemic, and Princess Cruises is attempting to revert to its pre-pandemic policies.

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