Think of a cruise and it’s likely images of a warm, sunny beach that come to mind. Feet in the sand, shade from an umbrella, and a cool drink in your hand… it’s the perfect vacation.
But the truth is that the weather in warm spots like the Caribbean can be unpredictable. From afternoon showers to full-blown hurricanes, weather can have a big impact on your trip. What you might have thought would be a sunshine-filled vacation can turn into a rain-soaked mess.
Of course, that begs an important question. If your cruise is filled with rain, can you get your money back?
Weather and Cruise Refunds
The short answer is no. There aren’t refunds for rainy days on a cruise. It doesn’t matter if an afternoon shower that keeps you from enjoying your port of call or if it’s stormy for an entire week that makes even getting off the ship a soaking experience.
Cruise lines don’t have control over the weather and if it’s simply rainy, that’s not enough to entitle passengers to a refund.
That said, there are some exceptions where you might be receive some compensation, or the cruise line may change the schedule to keep passengers safe and happy.
Specifically, cruise lines have clauses in the ticket contract (which you agree to when you purchase a ticket) that allow them to make changes based on weather.
For example, Carnival says the following:
“The Guest acknowledges that the cruise may be booked in a location that is susceptible to severe weather systems, including but not limited to, hurricanes, tropical storms and depressions, and that Carnival reserves the right to alter the ship’s course, ports of call, itinerary, activity and shore excursions to avoid such weather systems and insure the comfort and safety of the Guest and crew.”
“The Vessel shall be entitled to […] return to or enter any port at the Master’s discretion and for any purpose, and to deviate in any direction or for any purpose from the direct or usual course, and to omit or change any or all port calls, arrival or departure times, with or without notice, for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to safety, security, adverse weather, […] all such deviations being considered as forming part of and included in the proposed voyage.”
In other words, if there is a hurricane bearing down on a port of call on your schedule, the cruise line can decide to head to another port or just stay out at sea and aren’t required to offer you any compensation. The same thing goes for a rainy day in port. Weather happens, and the cruise ships aren’t responsible.
Truth be told, however, the cruise lines are in the business of making passengers happy. That’s why it’s not unheard of for the cruise lines to offer compensation if there is a major disruption due to weather. This usually happens only if a port is completely cancelled or there is a major change to the schedule.
For example, Royal Caribbean recently offered a 100% credit toward a future cruise when one of its ships had to divert to New Jersey for three days to avoid a hurricane:
Hi Michelle. Grandeur will now stay in New Jersey from Sunday to Tuesday . Guests will receive a 100% future cruise credit.
— Royal Caribbean (@RoyalCaribbean) October 10, 2016
Bottom line: If there’s a little rain on your cruise or you have to make a change to a port of call, you aren’t likely to get a refund. However, major disruptions due to weather can mean some compensation.