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4 Reasons Your Cruise Itinerary May Change

What you see is not always what you get with cruises! Although you may have carefully chosen your cruise itinerary, the route the ship takes may be changed with little or no notice.

Cruise lines are completely within their rights to change the ports that they stop at, even after you have booked and paid for your cruise.

In this article, we look at the top four reasons that ships make itinerary changes.

If you decide to cancel your cruise after the final payment period because of an itinerary change, it is unlikely that you will get any money back.

Emma Cruises, Celebrity Infinity Greece

#1 Bad Weather

The main cause of last-minute itinerary changes is bad weather. This can mean that your itinerary can change a day or two before you’re expected to be in port – sometimes it can even be changed on the day!

This has happened to me on many occasions, and although somewhat annoying you can understand the motives behind the change.

Recently I had the port of Mykonos substituted for Heraklion because of bad weather. Cruise lines may be more likely to skip a port if it requires tendering to get to land.

The small tender boats cannot operate in bad weather. Find out more about that here:

What happens when a port is cancelled due to bad weather?

I recently took an eventful cruise on P&O’s newest Ship Arvia. We had a last-minute change from a port stop in Lisbon to Gibraltar because of bad weather.

We also had to make an extra port stop later in the cruise due to a medical emergency – and circle back round to pick up an inflatable life raft that had fallen off another ship – luckily the life raft was empty!

Find out about that memorable cruise here:

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#2 Political Unrest

I recently took a very cheap last-minute cruise on one of Celebrity’s older ships, Infinity.

I later found out that the reason it was so cheap was because they had to make itinerary changes – instead of visiting Israel, the cruise went to Turkey and the Greek Islands instead. This was because of the war between Israel and Gaza.

Lots of passengers who had booked early for the original itinerary seemed to have decided not to go ahead with the cruise, meaning that there were plenty of cabins available that the cruise line wanted to fill.

They were selling these cabins off relatively cheaply, and I got myself a real bargain.

You can understand the reasons for this itinerary change, cruise lines do have to put the safety of passengers first.

If a port is going to be cancelled/substituted due to political unrest you will usually be told months in advance, and a new route will be planned for the ship.

Obviously, if the change of route is due to some surprise event like a terror attack, there is little the cruise line can do about it.

Find out about my cheap last-minute cruise on Celebrity Infinity here:

#3 A Booking mistake

In exceptional circumstances, your itinerary can change completely.

Once when on board a Norwegian cruise I booked my next cruise with a travel agent that they had onboard.

Their representatives told me that the cruise would be going to the Bahamas and NCL’s private island.

When I got home and looked on the Norwegian website I quickly realised that the itinerary that I had booked didn’t exist on that date and ship that I had booked.

It turned out the cruise I was going on was one around Mexico, Honduras and Belize!

This is probably a very rare occurrence but still goes to show that you don’t necessarily always get what you signed up for itinerary-wise.

Fred Olsen Bolette itinerary map
No matter how carefully you choose, the itinerary you choose isn’t always the itinerary you will get!

#4 A Change Of Heart!

The last reason why your itinerary may change is quite simply because the cruise line decided that they wanted to make the change. There doesn’t really have to be any reason for the switch!

I’ve heard rumours of cruise lines picking different ports which have cheaper taxes, or having to change ports because there were too many cruise ships in the original port.

Cruise lines can and do change their itineraries at any time. It is written in the terms and conditions of your cruise contract that they can do this.

To find out what else you might have unknowingly agreed to when you book a cruise, read this article next:

9 Things You’re Agreeing to When You Book a Cruise Without Realising

What you see is not always what you get with cruise itineraries – but please don’t let this put you off cruising. Think of it as a magical mystery tour!

Before You Go

There are such things as “Mystery Cruises.” You don’t know where your ship will be sailing to, it is all a complete surprise! Find out all about that in the article below:

What Everyone Should Know About MYSTERY CRUISES

Find out why ships aren’t being built with my favourite cruise ship design feature anymore here:

My Favourite Cruise Ship Design Feature Isn’t Being Built Anymore – Here’s Why

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