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Will I lose my cruise deposit?

Hannah Jolliffe / 01 February 2019

Does booking a cruise far in advance mean you could lose your deposit if you have to cancel due to illness?

woman leaning on rail of cruise ship looking out to sea
Does booking a cruise far in advance leave you risking your deposit if you cancel?


I’d like to go on a cruise next year but with booking so far in advance I’m worried what would happen if I fell ill and couldn’t travel. Would I lose my deposit?


‘Different companies have different terms, so look before you book – check if there are any cancellation charges and whether the deposit is refundable,’ says Katie Whitehead, associate solicitor, Ramsdens. Cancellation charges depend on the reason for cancelling.

When checking terms and conditions, look at whether there’s a fixed period when you can cancel and have the deposit refunded. Will the deposit be refunded upon payment of a cancellation fee covering the admin costs and, if possible, replacing you with another passenger? Are there specific circumstances where your deposit will be returned, such as in the case of illness? And will this require a doctor’s note?

Always take out travel insurance from the date you book the cruise – this may allow you to recover some or all of the cruise costs. But check what’s covered before you buy.

Keep all relevant documents (confirmation of appointments with your GP, receipts for medicines) and act promptly if you become ill – let your insurer know as soon as possible.

Top tips for first-time cruisers

‘Notify your insurer of any pre-existing conditions,’ says Tom Christie, associate solicitor at Slater Heelis LLP. ‘If the reason for cancellation is a pre-existing condition it’s unlikely you’ll obtain a refund unless you notified your insurer of this.’ And let your insurer know if you are diagnosed with a new medical condition.

What not to pack for a Saga Cruise

Tom also advises checking if your cruise provider is a member of ABTA as it may give you enhanced protection. And contact your cruise provider’s customer services team to see if they can use their discretion to return some or all of your deposit.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.