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In the event of severe weather, a technical malfunction or political unrest in your port of call, it’s possible that your cruise operator will make the decision to change your cruise’s route which can in turn effect the itinerary and the ports visited. Each cruise line has the right to cancel, advance, postpone or substitute any planned sailing or itinerary without much prior notice.
Although itinerary changes rarely happen, and when they do it’s because of a serious reason, it’s best to know what happens should this situation arise.
For example, say you booked a cruise around the Caribbean but were then notified of an itinerary change which meant you would no longer be visiting the majority of ports you originally booked to see, and additionally could be missing out on pre-booked excursions that you’ve already paid for, and which offer no refund in the event of cancellation. In this circumstance, you have the right to request a full or partial refund from the cruise line, as the product you bought is no longer the same product. Alternatively, the cruise line can refuse to give a refund but offer you a transfer onto another cruise of equal value.
If the changes to your itinerary are significant, you have the right to cancel your trip, although this may result in an expensive cancellation charge from the cruise line should it be against their recommendation.
The only way you can avoid the extra costs of an itinerary change or cancellation is by investing in a good quality cruise insurance policy which covers against the costs incurred should your ship have to change its scheduled route. Some cruise insurance policies specifically cover the costs of itinerary change and offer benefits which specifically cover the pre-paid, non-refundable, non-rescheduled shore excursions in a port of call, or a scheduled stop on a tour itinerary that you miss due to a change of cruise or tour itinerary.