Imagine this; You have been planning your cruise for over a year. You put down your deposit and made your full final payment on time. You have spent most of the previous year researching your ports of call and even pre-paid for your shore excursions.
The big day finally arrives, and as you present your boarding documents to the cruise line representative at the embarkation pier instead of handing you your room key she calls in her supervisor. The next thing you hear is, "We're very sorry, but we cannot let you board the ship!"
Adding insult to injury, it is too late to do anything to change the situation, and you learn you will not be reimbursed or compensated in any way. You are not only stuck at the pier, you have lost the money you paid for the cruise, your vacation time will be wasted, and you will have hundreds of dollars in added expenses! You need to find a place to stay for a week, or book a flight home the same day. Worst of all, you have no rights to compensation or a refund from the cruise line for what you paid for the cruise.
How could this possibly happen? Actually, there are several reasons why a cruise ship can deny you boarding.
Every passenger is personally responsible for having all of the proper documentation to board a cruise ship. This includes having a passport or a suitable alternative. You also may be required to have a visa for the countries the ship will be visiting. Lacking the necessary documentation, you are likely to be refused your cruise.
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In most cases, if you have a U.S. passport the cruise lines will notify you if any further documents are needed. Russia and Brazil require visas, for example. But if you have a non-U.S. passport you must do your research carefully, even if you are a U.S. citizen (by marriage, for example). I was once traveling with a young U.S.-citizen by marriage, but her passport was from Jamaica. When we flew into Athens she was denied entry because of her passport and despite her U.S. citizenship. She was put on a jet to London to try to get a Greek visa at the embassy, but it was closed for the weekend. She missed her cruise.
There are other completely different reasons why people are denied cruises. Just last week a cruise line told a young lady she was "too pregnant" to travel. She had done her research. The rule she read said no one more than 26 weeks along can cruise. She was just starting her 26th week. Unfortunately, the cruise line had changed the rule to 24 weeks just before her ship sailed. In this case, the cruise line did compensate her for her loss, but do not count on that
Being sick is yet another reason. At the time of boarding you are given a form to fill in asking you if you have had diarrhea or vomiting in the last 48 hours. The reason they ask is because they are on the lookout for norovirus. If they believe you have norovirus they will deny you boarding. Having the symptoms alone is not the issue. If you have food poisoning or a cold that is different. But if they determine it is norovirus you are out of luck.
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