Trip Planning - 11 min read

Carnival Cruise Cancellation Policy (3 Different Options!)

Alexis Musgrave

Alexis Musgrave, Updated October 30, 2022

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Carnival Cruise is a popular cruise line with trips around the world available to its clients! Booking a cruise can be exciting, but sometimes plans do not go as smoothly as you would prefer. Cancellation policies can help you decide which trips to book and show you what you could back if you need a refund for your vacation. Carnival Cruise has a pretty straightforward cancellation policy!

Carnival Cruise has three tiers to its cancellation policy. The first is if you cancel before the final payment, where you will receive no penalty. The second is canceling after the final payment, where you will be penalized based on how close you cancel to the start of the trip. Finally, if you cancel a trip booking with a special offer, your refund options vary.

There are different penalties and refund options for these different tiers. The Carnival Cruise cancellation policy can feel a bit confusing and overwhelming. Follow along to learn about the other cancellation options with this cruise line. As well as the various processes to expect if you need to cancel your trip.

What is Carnival Cruise’s Cancellation Policy?

The cancellation policy for Carnival cruise may feel overwhelming but is based on the time you cancel in relation to the beginning of your booking. Much like with other reservation companies, cancellations closer to your reservation are less likely to be refunded in full. There are two main tiers to the cancellation policy for typical cruises. 

First is for those who cancel before the final payment, or roughly 90 days before the reservation. Here you will get a full refund for your cruise. For those who cancel after the final payment, the refund and fee breakdown varies depending on the proximity to the upcoming trip. We will break these details down in the next section. Finally, it should be noted that special offers or deals rarely adhere to this standard structure.

This is the simple breakdown of Carnival Cruise’s cancellation policy, however, there are a few more details that pertain to each situation. We will simplify them as much as possible. If you have more questions or a particular case it is best to speak with a Carnival Cruise representative!

What are the Carnival Cruise’s Cancellation Options?

Carnival Cruises’ cancellation options are solely based on the time you cancel in proximity to the date your cruise leaves. So there are not necessarily cancellation options, but tiers set of how much of a refund you can expect. The closer to your reservation that you cancel, the more fees you face and the less money you receive back.

You are allowed a 24-hour free cancellation policy, as mandated by law. But beyond that point, you will fit into two main categories, before and after the final payment. If you book with a special promotion, the cancellation policy differs slightly. However, the main date to keep in mind is 90 days before your cruise. That is the cut-off for full refunds and anything after that will face fees.

Cancelling Before the Final Payment

This is the most simple and convent tier of Carnival Cruises’ cancellation policy. If you cancel before you make your final payment, then you are likely to get a full refund. This tends to be about 3 months before you set sail, so you may want to mark that in your calendar just in case.

If you booked a very short cruise, your deadline will be later than a longer cruise. For cruises less than five days, the final payment date is 75 days before sailing. Whereas cruises are 6 days or more, the final payment date is 90 days prior to sailing. Meaning if you booked a 3 or 4-day cruise than you will have a few more weeks to cancel and get the full refund!

However, if the cruise you booked was of a specific promotion it may be non-refundable for both the deposit and the fare. So it is great to keep a look out for this if you find an amazing deal but are not sure on if you will be able to make the trip.

Your best chance at getting the most money back is to cancel your cruise at least three months or 90 days before you are supposed to set sail. You will not face any stiff cancellation fees and have the best chance to get all your money back. This is the best idea regardless of the length of the trip. If you cancel after these dates, then you will face the fees outlined in the next section.

Cancelling After Final Payment

If you need to cancel after the final payment date, you will find a structured penalty system that will deduct from your refund. Once final payment has been made, cancellation penalties do apply and increase as the departure date approaches. It is best to pull out a calendar and see what penalties you will face depending on when you cancel your cruise.

The first tier is between 89 and 56 days prior to your sailing date, between 12 and 8 weeks of your departure. Here the penalty is only your standard deposit amount. The rest of your money will be returned to you if you cancel within these margins.

Next is from 55 days prior to sailing to 30 days prior to sailing. Between 8 and 4 weeks, the penalty for your cancellation will be 50% of the total fare or the standard deposit amount. Whichever amount is greater is the fee you will need to pay, with the rest being refunded.

Then there is the tier between 29 to 15 days prior to sailing. At this point, your fee will be 75% of the total fare or the standard deposit amount, whichever is greater. This is because it will be more difficult to fill your spot canceling this late.

The final tier is between 14 days and 0 days before sailing to the day of the cruise. Now the penalty is 100% of the total fare. You will not receive your fare returned, but extra packages you may have booked will be. You will receive no refunds if you are a no show to the reservation.

It should be noted that when calculating the number of days prior to the cruise, the day of sailing is considered the first day of the cruise. If you need to cancel your Carnival Cruise you should do it sooner rather than later. Even after the final payment deadline, you will receive more of a refund the sooner you make the cancellation.

Special Deals

The Early Saver promotion offers great prices to Carnival cruisers. The company describes it as the lowest available core rate when open. Additionally, these Early Saver promotions provide price protection for up to 2 business days prior to sailing! However, with this promotion, the deposit is non-refundable at any time after the booking is made.

The Early Saver cruise prices are available up to 76 days prior to sailing for short cruises (5 days or shorter) and up to 91 days prior to sailing for long cruises (6 days and longer). Meaning they are available up until the typical final cancellation dates, so there is not much opportunity to get a refund.

If you do book an Early Saver promotion and need to cancel before the final payment, you will be able to get a cruise credit. The credit is a non-refundable and non-transferable future cruise credit (FCC). Which comes with a $50 per person service fee. You must use this credit within 12 months from the date of cancellation. You can only use this credit with cruise fares and any unused portion will be forfeited.

Another type of promotion is the Super Saver, which can be priced lower than the Early Saver! Unfortunately, it does come with more restrictions. For example, you will not be able to select your cabin with this promotion. The deposit is also non-refundable at any time after the booking is made.

Finally, there are the Pack and Go promotions! Pack and Go are the last-minute deals available on the cruise line’s website and are great for spontaneous travelers! However, it does mean these bookings have an even more restrictive policy than Early or Super Savers. You will not be able to customize your package too much and can expect that 100% of the total fare will not be non-refundable any time after the booking is made. So be sure of your trip before you pay for these deals!

How Late Can I Cancel a Cruise?

You can cancel a Carnival Cruise reservation at any time! There is no restriction on when you can no longer cancel your reservation. However, if you cancel after 14 days before the cruise launches then you will receive no refunds.

One of the worst things you can do is simply not show up to the cruise. You will get none of your money back and it puts the cruise line in a poor situation. Canceling as early as you can help both yourself and Carnival Cruises immensely, so take action as soon as you can!

There are no fees for canceling before 90 days from your reservation date. After that, the fees increase as the cruise date approaches. But you are not allowed to cancel, you just will not get all of your money back.

To simply break down these fees after the final payment date, take a look here! This is a quick table to see the fees you would face if you cancel after your final payment:

  • 91 days: you will only need to pay $100 per person
  • 61 to 90 days: you must pay 50% of your gross fare
  • 31 to 60 days: 75% gross fare
  • 0 30 days: you must pay 100% of gross fare

How Long Does It Take For Carnival Cruise’s Refund?

Generally speaking, it can take 90 days or more to process a cruise refund. There is no need to stress if the refund does not return within a few days. This can be for a variety of reasons, but the processing of your request and the transferring of money between accounts tend to take some time. However, it can be frustrating that this processing time does tend to be longer than others. 

It is possible to contact a Carnival Cruise representative to try and speed up the process. It is never a guarantee. With others trying for refunds as well, these phone lines may be busy and exhausting. Both for the representatives and clients themselves. But a calm tone and a few kind words can increase your chances of getting your refund sooner!

You may see a refund before these 90 days, but it is not likely. Patience is the best method after canceling your Carnival Cruise reservation, and it could help you get your refund faster. So do not stress and take it easy, vacation style!

Conclusion

Here is a simple summary of the Carnival Cruise cancellation policy! The most simple option is to cancel before the final payment date. Which is between 75 and 90 before the cruise takes off, depending on the length of the cruise. This is the easiest way to get your money back without a large penalty. Otherwise, you will find a bit more hassle and more fees. 

The second most important point is if you cancel 14 days before the cruise, then you will face a 100% fare penalty. Unless there is a large weather disturbance or global pandemic, you will see stiff fees for canceling close to the cruise date. Finally, the cancellation process can take roughly 90 days to process the refund. So do not be concerned when the refund does not immediately appear in your account! 

This is the basic information that you will likely run into if you need to cancel a Carnival Cruise. If you are needing to cancel for a special reason or do not sit within these outlines, then it is best to contact the company. A representative will be able to explain the information you need in more detail, but hopefully, this article gives you a great understanding!

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