How to Deal With Cruise-Related Problems: Lost Luggage, Missing the Boat & More

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Before most people go on a cruise, they often worry about the worst-case things that might happen. For example, the ship might sink, or you might get attacked by a giant octopus.

The chances of most of these things happening are extremely slim, so you would be far better served thinking about the far more likely (but slightly less dramatic) situations that might occur.

Some common scenarios that people face every year include:

  • Having some of your luggage stolen during the cruise
  • Injuring yourself while onboard
  • Falling victim to flight delays (meaning you miss the start of the cruise)
  • Missing your flight home (as the ship had to change its itinerary)
  • Getting left behind at one of the ports (because the ship left early)

In order to (hopefully) make sure that none of these things happen (or to know how to deal with them if they do), follow the advice given below:

Problem #1: You Injure Yourself During the Cruise

Generally, injuring yourself during a cruise isn’t a massive problem, as most cruise ships these days have excellent medical facilities (to the point where minor surgeries can be done on board).

Of course, if your injury/illness is serious, you’ll be flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital.

You can’t really avoid getting injured (except by being careful and responsible), but you can avoid having to pay massive medical bills by making sure you have travel insurance.

When going on a cruise, it’s vitally important that your travel insurance covers you in the event that you need to be evacuated by helicopter, as you won’t want to be the one responsible for paying this (inevitably) astronomical cost.

Cruise ship

Problem #2: Your Flight is Delayed, Meaning You Miss the Cruise

As we know, flights are delayed all the time (for a variety of reasons). A lot of the time, people going on cruises will be flying in to the place where the cruise departs from (usually somewhere like Miami, Florida). If your flight in is delayed, there’s a chance you could miss the start of the cruise.

Planning to fly in the day before the cruise sets off is a good idea, and will mean you aren’t constantly stressing about your flight being delayed.

If that’s not possible, you can insure yourself by making sure you have ‘Cruise Fare’. If you’re booking your flights through the cruise line or via a travel agent, make sure ‘Cruise Fare’ is included. This means that it’s their responsibility to get you to the next port to meet up with the cruise.

If you’re not booking directly through the cruise line or via a travel agent, make sure your travel insurance policy has it included (and make sure it covers you for weather-related flight delays as some don’t).

Problem #3: Something (e.g. a Laptop Computer) Gets Stolen From Your Cabin

In the event that you have something stolen from your room on board the ship, be sure to contact the staff right away. Upon doing so, an onboard investigation can begin, and the staff can go about trying to retrieve your lost possession(s).

On a lot of modern cruise ships, the staff will be able to find out when each cabin door was opened and which key card was used to do so (making it easier to pinpoint when the event happened and who it might have been).

Thefts can rarely be avoided, but making sure you have travel insurance (so you can be reimbursed) will surely soften the blow.

Problem #4: The Cruise Ship Changes Its Itinerary/Planned Route

Of all of these potential problems/scenarios, the cruise ship changing its itinerary is perhaps the most likely to occur.

These changes to the planned route could be for all sorts of reasons (e.g. because they’re expecting bad weather or because of unstable political situations arising).

Whenever this occurs, passengers are usually given the option of staying on the cruise or receiving credit towards a future cruise (similar to getting store credit at a retail outlet).

How can you avoid this from happening? It’s a little difficult, but your best bet is to keep up with current events and try avoid booking cruises that travel to countries where there are ongoing political situations or potentially high levels of crime (such as the Middle East or Egypt).

Problem #5: You Arrive Back at the Port, Only to Find that the Ship has Left Early (and Without You)

A lot of cruises will dock at various ports as they go, allowing passengers to get off the ship for a few hours and explore new places. Unfortunately

Occasionally the local authorities will order cruise ships to leave the port early if they anticipate potentially dangerous weather (such as a hurricane).

This is a scenario that often happens when there is a hurricane (as it did with Hurricane Irene) or other extreme weather. If you get left behind at a port (because the ship left early), sometimes the cruise line will pay for you to fly to the next port and sometimes they won’t. To ensure you won’t have to shell out on plane tickets to meet up with the cruise ship at its next stop, make sure you’ve purchased travel insurance.

To reduce the risk of this happening at all, avoid taking a Caribbean cruise (where hurricanes may occur) during the hurricane season (late August through early October). Also, if you are docking at a port and you think a tropical storm may be coming, make sure you get back to the cruise ship nice and early.

Related posts:

  1. Booking a Family Cruise – The Beginner’s Guide
  2. When is the Best Time to Book a Cruise?
  3. Cruise Ships, Yachts and Driving – How to Get Paid to Travel (By Working Your Route)
  4. How to Get a Great Deal on a Rental Car
  5. Travel Disasters – How to Avoid Them or Deal with Them if They Happen

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