Sometimes – rarely – something can go wrong with a cruise ship, or there might be a wider issue in the world (here’s looking at you, 2020), which means your cruise might have to be cancelled.
When this happens, cruise lines will often offer Future Cruise Credit (FCC) to entice them to rebook their cruise for a future date.
This guide to Future Cruise Credit will tell you everything you need to know about cruise credit so that you can decide whether it’s for you or not, and what to expect when it comes to rebooking your cruise.
What Is Future Cruise Credit (FCC)?
Future Cruise Credit (FCC) is a voucher that can be used to book another cruise with the same cruise line. This means that your money stays with the cruise line, and can be used to book another cruise within a specified time period.
Future Cruise Credit (FCC) is not to be confused with On Board Credit (OBC). On Board Credit is money that can be used to pay for things on-board the ship, such as drinks, spa services and souvenirs. OBC is often given as part of a promotion or booking incentive.
In What Circumstances Do Cruise Lines Give Future Cruise Credit?
Cruise lines offer Future Cruise Credit when cruises have been cancelled or have had their itinerary significantly changed.
If a cruise has been cancelled, you may get a credit note that is equal to or greater than what you paid originally.
When cruises have been cancelled and the cruise line is partly at fault (such as a mechanical fault with a ship), then you may receive a full refund back to your original payment method and also an additional amount of FCC as a gesture of goodwill.
How Much Future Cruise Credit Do Cruise Lines Give?
The amount of Future Cruise Credit varies depending on the cruise line and the circumstances. Cruise lines usually give between 100% and 200% of the booking value as credit. (100% would mean that you get the full amount as a voucher, 200% would mean that you get a voucher worth double what you paid).
As a guide, most cruise lines offered 125% FCC for cancelled cruises in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic caused cruising to essentially shut down.
See all Future Cruise Credit Policies:
- Celebrity Cruises Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- Costa Cruises Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- Cunard Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- Holland America Line Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- MSC Cruises Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- Norwegian Cruise Line Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- P&O Cruises Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- Princess Cruises Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
- Royal Caribbean Future Cruise Credit Terms and Conditions
How Is Future Cruise Credit Calculated?
The calculation method used to work out the Future Cruise Credit varies by cruise line and also depends on the country you live in.
Some cruise lines convert everything you’ve paid into FCC. Others may refund taxes, fees, upgrades and other purchases back into your bank account and only apply the base cruise fare as Future Cruise Credit.
To know exactly how FCC is calculated in your individual case, you should ask your cruise line or travel agent.
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Do I Have To Accept Future Cruise Credit?
You’re under no obligation to accept Future Cruise Credit. When your cruise is cancelled, you have the option to receive a full refund back to your original payment method or to choose to rebook your cruise using FCC.
If you can’t decide, there’s no rush. You can keep the FCC until you decide that you’re ready to rebook or apply for a refund.
Should You Take Future Cruise Credit Or Get A Refund?
If your cruise is cancelled, it’s entirely your decision whether to take Future Cruise Credit or to ask for a full refund. There are pros and cons to each option.
Some reasons you might want to take Future Cruise Credit:
- You can get a great deal with 125% or more FCC
- Taking FCC helps to support the cruise lines
- If you booked using a gift card or other credit, you can’t get a refund
Some reasons you might want to take a refund:
- The terms of the FCC don’t suit your future plans
- You want or need the cash for other things
- You’re not sure that you want to cruise again
You can read comments from real cruisers about why they chose to accept either Future Cruise Credit or a refund here.
How To Apply For FCC
You don’t need to do anything to apply for Future Cruise Credit. Your cruise line will have a record of your booking, and if it’s cancelled, they will automatically place the credit on your account. It can take a couple of weeks for this to happen, so look out for emails from your cruise line.
If you wish to have a refund instead of Future Cruise Credit, you will need to apply for this either with the cruise line, if you booked directly with them, or with your travel agent. Refunds can take much longer than FCC to process, and it may be a few weeks until you get your money back in your bank account/on your credit card.
What Can Future Cruise Credit Be Used For?
Future Cruise Credit can always be used to book a new cruise. Policies about what else Future Cruise Credit can be used for vary depending on the cruise line.
Many, but not all, cruise lines are also allowing passengers to apply their FCC to existing bookings where a balance is outstanding. In this case, you may be able to spread your FCC across two or more future bookings if there is a remaining balance after its initial use. Some cruise lines may also allow you to use FCC to upgrade your cabin on an existing cruise, or for extras such as excursions.
Some cruise lines allow you to transfer FCC between passengers or to gift it to other people, whereas other cruise lines fix it to each passenger’s name and do not allow it to be transferred.
You won’t be able to use your FCC on a different brand. For example, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises are both part of the Carnival Corporation, but you can’t use your FCC interchangeably between Princess and P&O Cruises.
How To Book A Cruise Using Future Cruise Credit
To book your cruise with Future Cruise Credit, just call the cruise line or your preferred travel agent.
FCC is linked to your account with the cruise line, not your travel agent. This means that you could switch your booking to a different travel agent and use your FCC. Some travel agents offer extra discounts for people who are booking with FCC to encourage this.
What If Your New Cruise Is A Different Price?
If your new cruise is more expensive, you will have to pay the difference. In this case, if you’d rather not pay any more money, try to look for alternative ships or itineraries with the same cruise line, which may be cheaper.
If your new cruise is cheaper, you can retain the excess credit for another cruise. Alternatively, you could upgrade to a better cabin with the excess credit.
My Cruise Hasn’t Been Cancelled, Can I Get Future Cruise Credit?
If you have a cruise booked and know that you won’t want to travel, you may be wondering if you should cancel your cruise and receive Future Cruise Credit.
If you cancel the cruise, your options may be a refund (with loss of deposit) or 100% Future Cruise Credit. But you’ll need to check your cruise line’s policy.
If you’re looking to cancel close to your sailing date, you might not get a full refund and the cruise line might not offer FCC either, because they’ll have more difficulty re-selling the room. This is why it’s also good to have travel insurance, in case something outside your control means you can no longer sail.
How Long Is Future Cruise Credit Valid For?
The expiry date on cruise credit notes varies. There will often be a date when you have to use it on a booking as well as a date you have to cruise by. Make a note of both of these. Whilst you don’t need to be in a rush to spend your FCC voucher, you definitely won’t want to let it expire.
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