Holland America Line has debuted a new booking offer for select cruises that sees guests pay for a cruise they might never travel on.
The offer is a new standby list for cruises, designed for people who living within driving distance of a departure port or who don’t mind arranging flights at short notice, with the chance to secure sailings at a heavily discounted rate.
Guests will book and pay for a cruise in advance, but will only find out if they have a place on the ship within a week of it setting sail. If there’s room, they will travel, otherwise they’ll get a full refund instead.
The cruise rate for the standby list is $49 per person, per day. This doesn’t include port fees and taxes, or any extras such as drinks packages or WiFi. It is significantly cheaper than Holland America’s usual cruise fares, and 3rd and 4th guests in the same stateroom can travel free on the offer.
Aimed at travellers who are flexible and don’t mind the risk of not sailing at all, it’s a great chance for the cruise line to guarantee the ship sells out sooner too. And if they sell all the cabins, they just refund the extra money back to the standby list guests.
Guests also can’t choose what stateroom category they’ll be assigned. They’ll be given what’s available, which could be interior cabins in less desirable locations although it could be something better. Upgrades, however, won’t be available.
The other major drawback is that the standby reservations can’t be cancelled, even months in advance. Once a guest has put themselves on the list and paid, they are locked in. And if the guest is assigned a stateroom, they won’t get a refund even if they no-show.
The sailings available for the standby list range from 4 to 22 nights and include two popular Solar Eclipse sailings in 2024.
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Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.