Last Minute Cruise Program Launches for $49 Per Day

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Holland America Line has found a novel and creative way to make the most of canceled and unsold cruise bookings—selling them at bargain prices with a few special conditions.

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(HOLLAND AMERICA)

For $49 a day, you can sail with the cruise line for 4 to 22-day sailings that will leave from ports like San Diego, Fort Lauderdale, and Vancouver. The cruise destinations for 2023 and 2024 are the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii.

However, this low rate means that you’ll be on a waitlist and only find out if your booking will push through about a week before your embarkation date. 

Here are other rules of the Standby Program you should be aware of:

  • You need to pay in full upon booking. It’s $49 a day each for the first two passengers. Guests 3 and 4 can sail at no extra charge as long as they are in the same stateroom
  • You can get a full refund if you weren’t assigned a stateroom by the deadline. Once booked, guests cannot remove themselves from the waitlist or cancel. If they don’t show up, they forfeit their payment.
  • The $49 a day doesn’t cover port fees, taxes, and add-on packages for internet, beverages, etc. These can be availed for an additional price.
  • Passengers have no control over which staterooms they get. They also cannot purchase upgrades.

The fine print can be challenging for cruisers, especially the majority who plan their cruise vacations months in advance.

Holland America clarified that they will not assist participating passengers with their flights and other travel arrangements. But for those who live near these cruise ports, it’s a tempting and viable offer. 

Offer will soften the impact of last-minute cancellations

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A Holland America off the coast of Lahaina, Hawaii (Photo courtesy of Holland America)

As the demand for cruises is remarkably high, Holland America says that the bargain rate it’s offering is meant to cushion the negative impact of last-minute cancellations. Instead of losing potential revenue altogether, the company can recover some of its losses. 

Company Vice President Dan Rough described it as a “unique challenge for our industry because a week before a cruise is too late to resell to most travelers.”

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