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Future Cruise Credit Expiration Dates: Do I Need to Worry?
Promenade Deck on Ruby Princess

Future Cruise Credit Expiration Dates: Do I Need to Worry?

Future Cruise Credit Expiration Dates: Do I Need to Worry?
Promenade Deck on Ruby Princess
Melinda Crow
Contributor
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Cruising these days means more flexibility is needed on everyone's part. Changes can happen on very short notice, from last-minute itinerary changes due to shifting port regulations, to your own COVID-19 test results on embarkation day. And while outright cancellations and sweeping itinerary changes have slowed from previous months, they remain a distinct possibility going forward.

Add to that the generous policies most cruise lines have of offering Future Cruise Credits, or FCCs, for passengers denied boarding on embarkation day due to COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result pierside, and the level of concern has begun to rise over just how long all those FCCs will be honored and how many times they can be used to re-book repeatedly-cancelled sailings during these uncertain times.

Cruise Critic members are reporting success throughout the rebooking process using FCCs, though some readers indicate that skipping the FCC process altogether by opting to rebook one of the recommended replacement cruises offered by the line is equally simple.

The news from the cruise lines has been encouraging. As additional changes happen and sailing and deployments are announced, FCC expiration dates have been rolled forward and all FCCs are issued with specific instructions regarding their terms and use. Some cruise lines are lenient regarding splitting these credits between multiple cruises and follow-up cancellations and re-bookings using FCCs, though cancellation fees may apply.

We dug into the details offered by the major lines regarding the use of Future Cruise Credits. Here is what we found.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Legend TA Listings Page Image

Carnival offers guests deemed unfit for travel at the time of embarkation a 100 percent future cruise credit, and pro-rated amounts for those required to quarantine or disembark mid-cruise, provided they have adhered to the company's COVID-19 protocols while onboard.

FCCs are not transferable and are valid for 12 months, but only for one booking at a time. Any unused amount is forfeited. Cruise Critic members report having successfully rolled FCCs from one cancelled cruise to another (and often to another). The only hitch for some has been the question of whether their initial deposit was retained and can be re-applied to the new booking or whether they had to pay a new deposit before their FCCs could be applied (in many cases, FCC's may not be used for the initial deposit).

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Millennium

Celebrity offers 100 percent future cruise credits to anyone unable to travel due to a positive test for COVID-19 immediately prior to embarkation. Details on policies for use and expiration are included with the FCC. Rebooking can be made by phone prior to receipt of FCCs.

The current book-by date for all existing FCCs is April 30, 2022, with a sail-by date of September 30, 2022, or one year from original sailing date, whichever is later. FCCs may be used across multiple bookings and may be eligible for a one-time transfer to someone other than the original passenger. There currently are no limits on the number of times an FCC amount can be re-used in cases where re-booked cruises are also cancelled.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Dream

All Disney Cruise Line FCCs issued due to COVID-19 currently expire September 30, 2022. They may be used to pay for any new or existing booking and though they have no cash value, are refundable for the value of the original cancelled cruise if you are unable to use them before the expiration date. There are no current limits, other than applicable cancellation fees, on the number of times FCCs can be used for re-bookings.

Holland America Line

Nieuw Amsterdam in Icy Strait Point, Alaska on August 11, 2021 (Photo: Aaron Saunders)

FCCs are being issued to passengers who are denied passage on embarkation day due to positive test, symptoms, and/or exposure to COVID-19. Specific policies and expiration dates will apply to those FCCs.

Holland America FCCs are set to expire on December 31, 2021, but that's a book-by date, not a sail-by date. Cruises selected for use with the FCCs should sail by December 31, 2022. They may be split among multiple cruises and are accessible in the guest's online account. There currently are no limits on FCCs used for bookings that are later cancelled, other than the final expiration date.

MSC Cruises

MSC Seaside (Photo: MSC Cruises)

MSC Cruises FCCs issued have a book-by date of December 31, 2021, and a sail-by date of April 30, 2022. Refunds are available in lieu of FCCs by calling 866-420-3584, but only after you have received the applicable FCCs. FCCs are not transferrable to other passengers.

In many cases when cancellations are necessary, MSC is offering replacement dates rather than FCCs. Guests can accept the replacement dates or choose from other options before deciding on accepting either a refund of the original fare paid or FCC.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Dawn (Photo: Cruise Critic)

Norwegian issues either a full refund or future cruise credit for passengers denied boarding at embarkation due to a positive COVID-19 test at the pier, provided they have a valid pre-arrival negative test (PCR or antigen) taken within 72 hours of embarkation. The line will also aid with travel and quarantine costs in those circumstances. Passengers who have not taken a COVID-19 test pre-cruise will not be this assistance: "Guests who are denied boarding due to a violation of protocols, for example not testing in advance, will not receive a refund," says the Norwegian Cruise Line website.

FCCs issued through July 2021 must be booked by December 31, 2021, for cruises sailing before December 31, 2022. FCCs issued after August 1, 2021, must be redeemed within one year from date of issue. FCCs used on bookings that are subsequently cancelled retain their original expiration dates. A one-time request for transferring FCCs can be made by emailing fcctransfer@ncl.com. All FCCs can be managed from the guest's online account.

Princess Cruises

Sky Princess (Image: Princess Cruises)

Under the line's COVID-19 Protection Plan, Princess passengers denied embarkation at the pier are offered a 100 percent future cruise credit and a pro-rated credit if they test positive onboard and are required to quarantine, either onboard or in port. Assistance with quarantine and travel arrangements are also covered with the plan, which is offered on all sailings through April 30, 2022, booked by December 31, 2021.

All FCC's must be booked and sailing by December 31, 2022. When Princess cancels a cruise, options are provided for moving to similar itineraries, often as far into the future as 2024. These options are not affected by FCC expiration dates.

FCCs are managed online in the guest's account and can be split across multiple cruises.

Royal Caribbean

Spectrum of the Seas TA Listings Page Image

Royal Caribbean offers a 100 percent future cruise credits to anyone unable to sail due to a positive test for COVID-19 immediately prior to embarkation. Details on policies for use and expiration are included with the FCC. Rebooking can be made by phone prior to receipt of FCCs.

The current book-by date for all existing FCCs is April 30, 2022, with a sail-by date of September 30, 2022, or one year from original sailing date, whichever is later. FCCs may be used across multiple bookings and may be eligible for a one-time transfer to someone other than the original passenger. There currently are no limits on the number of times an FCC amount can be re-used in cases where re-booked cruises are also cancelled.

Viking Cruises

Viking Star

Future Cruise Vouchers offered by Viking can be used within 24 months of date of issue on any Viking cruise, river, ocean, or expedition. They are transferable. Once the voucher has been issued and redeemed it cannot be re-issued and any unused credit is lost, making it impossible to split across multiple cruises. Guests deemed to be at risk of having COVID-19 at embarkation are offered the opportunity to re-book their cruise for a later date.

Updated September 14, 2021

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