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Travel Tip: Cruise Secrets

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Thinking about booking a cruise? Listen up because there may be some fine print hidden in that contract.

Cruise lines have cancellation policies that are stricter than you think. Just recently, Carnival quietly tightened its cancellation policy on some cruises, requiring 56 days notice just to get back half your money!

And those ports of call advertised by the cruise line? They’re not set in stone. The itinerary might change based on the captain’s discretion—which can be anything from weather conditions to safety concerns.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: You can save by booking your own shore excursions. For example, Viator has an excursion from Naples to Capri that costs about 33 percent less than the major cruise lines.

Remember that healthcare at sea isn’t free! Even an aspirin will cost you. And while the doctors on board cruise can treat minor illnesses and provide short-term emergency care, alert them ahead of time if you have a major pre-existing condition.

Last, but certainly not least, notify your credit card company before you go. Since you’re traveling to several ports, your bank might put a freeze on the card, which is not an easy problem to solve at sea.

For more information, visit the Cruise Travel archives.

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