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Sunday 7 January 2024

The dirty secret the cruise industry would rather you did not know about

It is the little secret that cruise lines would rather passengers did not know.

Your cruise ship can change its itinerary at any time - with little or no recourse for customers.

You may recall last month when cruise passengers on board the P&O ship Pacific Adventure had booked for a cruise to some of the best ports in New Zealand - only to find themselves visiting Hobart and Eden in Australia after their ship was denied entry to New Zealand.

And also had a proposed docking in Port Arthur scrapped due to bad weather.

Some the guests from Hobart were less than pleased to find themselves back in their home city rather than exploring New Zealand.

Cruise schedules are created by cruise lines many months in advance - but passengers are never certain of actually visiting the ports advertised.

Guests sailing on board Regal Princess (above) on January 21 out of Galveston, Texas, will be missing out on a highlight destination: the island of Roatan off Honduras.

Princess Cruises announced that instead of sailing to the tropical island paradise of Roatan, guests will spend the day at Belize City, Belize, instead.

The change in itinerary was made by Princess Cruises in light of congestion in Roatan. The small island has a limited number of berths and can only accommodate three cruise ships at the same time.

In a statement sent to guests booked onboard, Princess Cruises said: “Itinerary Change, please be advised that due to cruise ship congestion in Roatan, Honduras, Regal Princess will no longer call on Roatan on Thursday, January 25, 2024. Instead, we will now visit Belize City, Belize from 7am to 5pm on the same day."

If you booked because you wanted to visit Roatan: tough luck.

It is a fact that cruise lines are fully within their rights to make changes to itineraries for a wide variety of reasons.

This can include port congestion, as is the case with Regal Princess, but also adverse weather conditions, or even to make an itinerary more fuel effective. 

Like it or lump it. Check the terms and conditions before you pay. Caveat emptor.

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