photo: Acrogame |

There's no such thing as a perfect vacation, so it's probably unrealistic to expect that you'll have a flawless cruise.


    Various things—small and large—can go wrong. Try to remember that no one—not the cruise line, not the crew, not your travel agent, and most of all not you—wants problems to occur. Every staff member on your ship has the same goal: to meet passenger expectations and provide a safe and satisfying voyage. The more you know as a passenger, the better you’ll be prepared for addressing problems that might arise during the cruise.


      Your Luggage Is Missing

      If your luggage hasn’t arrived by 8 pm on embarkation day and if it appears that the luggage has already been fully distributed (i.e., you don’t see any more in the passageways or being delivered), check with the Reception Desk. Sometimes the tag affixed to a suitcase with cabin number information has been damaged. In that case, your bag would be set aside until the name on the luggage identification tag could be matched with the manifest. In rarer instances, luggage may have been loaded on the wrong ship or accidentally left behind in the cruise terminal. Rest assured, guest services staff will do whatever they can to have misdirected suitcases delivered to the ship in the next port of call.

      INSIDER TIPIf your luggage is lost, ask for a shipboard credit so you can purchase anything you might need immediately in the ship’s boutiques.


      You Need to Switch Staterooms

      If you received a last-minute complimentary upgrade (lucky you!) or were able to purchase an upgrade to better accommodations at check-in, be sure to tell your room steward about the change and request that s/he ensure that your luggage gets to the correct stateroom.

      Perhaps there’s something wrong with your accommodations: the air-conditioning doesn’t work or there’s a major plumbing problem that can’t be easily fixed. You may be fortunate enough to be moved to a similar cabin, but when ships sail full, there isn’t always one available. If you’re offered a less-expensive category—for instance, your stateroom is outside, but all that is open is an inside—you should expect full compensation for the downgrade. Don’t count on moving if you simply don’t like your cabin; these days, most ships sail full.


      Your Dining Arrangements Are Unsatisfactory

      When you booked your cruise, you requested early seating, but once on board, you discover a late dinner-seating assignment (or vice versa). Perhaps you requested a romantic table for two, but find that you’re assigned to a table for eight. While dining rooms have only so much space, cruise lines do want to please their passengers. The maître d’ will be available on embarkation day to iron out any problems.

      INSIDER TIPAsk for any dining changes as soon as possible; it may take a while to work out your arrangements.


      Your Ship Skips a Port of Call

      Sometimes weather conditions or mechanical problems cause a cruise ship to bypass a particular port of call. If you read the Contract of Carriage on your ticket, you’ll see that cruise lines reserve the right to change the itinerary for just cause. They don’t make itinerary alterations on a whim. Don’t take it personally—they’re not trying to ruin your vacation plans. And, unfortunately, in this case, there’s not much you can do. Shore excursions booked through the ship will be cancelled and result in an automatic credit.

      INSIDER TIPIf you book your own shore excursions and your port call is cancelled, try to contact the company (ideally by email) to see if you can get a refund; policies vary.