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The 4 Big Mistakes To Avoid

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“Ship happens”, but there are a few simple things you can do to avoid the most common blunders.

# 1 – The most common mistake can occur at the moment you decide to book your cruise. DO NOT pay the deposit you make to book your cruise, or make your final payment, using cash or by writing a check to a travel agent!

While the vast majority of travel agents are honest, ethical, and trustworthy, their financial circumstances can change, and if the agent you are using finds themselves in difficult circumstances, there can be a serious temptation for them to use your monies for things other than to pay the cruise lines the money you have trusted in them to pay for you.

And you may not know this has happened until months later,… or worst case… until you try and board the ship.

You wouldn’t be the first for this to happen to you. It has indeed happened previously, and on occassion to large groups traveling together.

Pay for your deposits or cruise fares using a major credit card, and then verify that said charges on your card are made directly to the cruise line.

You can verify this immediately with your credit card company, as well as checking the booking reference number you are given when booking online, at the cruise line’s web site.

# 2 – Just prior to embarking on your cruise, during the check in process, you are required to supply payment information guaranteeing your responsibility for charges you incurr on board. Cash deposits are accepted, and then once on the ship, if you’re closing to reaching the amount of deposit you’d left you’ll be required to deposit more.

The most commonly used method of deposit used for on board spending is by use of a credit card (also the best). However, as Debit Card use is becoming more common, many people have turned to using these same debt cards to guarantee their on board charges. This is a mistake!

The method banks use for debt card transactions is different than that used for credit card transactions. A credit card can pre-authorized, but the monies are not charged against it until the final transactions are processed at the end of the cruise. When using a debit card however the pre-authorization is withdrawn from your account at the moment it is processed.

This makes that amount of funds from the debit card account at your bank unavailable to you for other use. When your final tab at the end of the cruise is calculated the amounts are corrected to reflect the actual charges. However, until those corrections (and credits if they are due) are calculated you could find that the withholding made leave your account short of being capable to cover charges you want to use the debt card for.

Use a credit card to secure your on board charges and you are safe.

# 3 – Choosing the location of your cabin on a ship can be a bit of a minefield. Ideally, you want to be sure that your cabin is not directly above or below any of the ships busy public rooms and areas. That can be accomplished relatively easily by examining a ship’s deck plan, and choosing a cabin with passenger decks above you, as well as below you.

Your not likely to enjoy a cabin that is directly above or below the ship’s main showroom, dance clubs/discos, or the ship’s galleys. The noise at odd times of day and night may be disturbing to you. Cabins directly below the pool/lido deck and buffet restaurants may also be less desirable to you, as crew will be moving furniture and setting up quite early in the morning, and you’ll be very likely to hear it.

# 4- Don’t assume the cruise line is solely responsible for your good time. The cruise lines do a wonderful job of supplying the environment, activities, and atmosphere for you to really enjoy your experience. But that is truly only 50% of the equation.

You are the final determining factor. You get to make the choices of how many, or how few of the activities and amenities available to you you’ll use to make certain you enjoy the experience. And, inevitably there are going to be a few small glitches along the route. How much you choose to allow them to impact your experience is, in many ways, up to you.

– A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time April 29, 2013 at 6:08 am

This could be and probably should be mistake no. 5….. These offer “advanced” and so called “guaranteed” reservations, placed on your credit or debit cards.

Some cruise lines will let you pre-book shore excursions and prepay for them – that is not a good idea since they, the cruise line or tour operator for land tours, may cancel out, for whatever the reason, and you may – most likely – not get your deposit of pre-paymet back as a credit to your debit or cresit card.

Added to no. 5, prebooking alternate restaurants before boarding the ship – some lines actually will reserve the perfect meal in the alternate venue, some even as part of a package, say, three reservations, at the time of you choice – BUT – you may not get the exact time, and along with other “unknown” circumstances, may not have the actual reservation(s) and god forbid you forgot to cancel the reservation(s) you will be charged – its that simple. This also goes for wine and other prebooked sailing packages.

And lastly, do not EVER book any spa treatments or packages before you actually board the ship and check out the spa to see if you like what you expect the spa and attendants to be.

Comment from Dana Strickland
Time May 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

You are so right about the withholding of your money if you use a debit card!! I thought that I was being smart by using a pre-paid debit card. But one day off the ship; I wanted to make a purchase only to be told that my card was declined!! I know that I had money on that card; but what I didn’t know was that the cruise ship had put a hold on my card!! So the purser told me the next time I cruise; just put cash on my account and when I run low; they would let me know to bring more money to put on my account.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time May 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Added to mistakes —NEVER EVER NEVER take your tips off of your credit card and do not EVER NEVER skip having them charged –

Believe it or not, the crew that will serve your cabin and MDR KNOWS who takes the tips off or does not add them prior to the moment of sailing –
The crew is TOLD who is a cheap carp from the outset.]
OK they don’t know that you removed them on the last night –

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