I think a lot of cruise lines are guilty of "customer abuse" when it comes to cruise cancellation, etc. We went througha period about two years ago where mainstream cruise lines were throwing people off of ships for the slightest infractions - with no refunds.
It is funny because cruise lines are famous for exemplary service onboard, but when it comes to the actual booking process they can be merciless.
Look at the new Princess/Cunard cancellation policy.
If you do not make your final payment the day it is due there is NO grace period at all - you lose your deposit. And there is no guaranteed warning that your final payment is due.
Obviously, this is a real reason to use a travel agent, but people who self-book are solely responsible for knowing when the final payment is due.
But to answer your question, it does look like some cruise lines are really starting to crack down on customers who cancel at the last minute.
I think it is all related to the commoditization of cruises. The cruise lines don't have time to molly coddle people in the sales process - they want that booking done and over with. It's a sign of the times.
If anything this recession has taught us that efficiency can be a very effective tool for profits. Every business is finding ways to get more out of one person than they ever could before. One way to do that is to raise performance expectations - even from customers.