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If your cruise vacation was just canceled, look at your options before rebooking or asking for a refund. Wochit

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Future cruise credit (FCC) is a bit like store credit from a cruise line, and many cruisers are getting them for the first as the coronavirus pandemic has interfered with their cruise plans

Many times, in lieu of a direct cash refund, a cruise line will take the price of a refunded cruise and issue it as a kind of gift certificate to be used toward booking a new sailing.

When cruises are greatly affected or canceled, or if passengers are given compensation for any reason, a nonrefundable future cruise credit is a common form of payment.

The amount of FCC that a cruise passenger qualifies for is calculated on the base fare that they paid, less any taxes, fees, upgrades or additional purchases like excursions. (Those are often reimbursed to the original form of payment, like a credit card.)

Have you qualified for a future cruise credit but aren't sure how to use it? Check out the following tips from CruiseCritic.com.

Cruise canceled due to coronavirus? Here's how experts say you should navigate refunds, credits

How can I apply my future cruise credit?

A future cruise credit is typically delivered via email within a few weeks' time, depending on how long it takes the cruise line to process it. The voucher can be used per person, with or without a travel agent. The credit is typically broken down by each individual guest on the reservation and their charges.

Cruise lines slow to issue refunds: Coronavirus 'dwarfs any disruption we've experienced'

The full amount of your FCC can be applied to the base cruise fare on a new booking, but only if the passenger whose name it is under is the one who is booking. (A future cruise credit is nontransferable, so it cannot be applied to cover the cost of someone else's cruise.) It also cannot be used to pay the initial deposit.

If the amount of your credit exceeds the cost of the new cruise, then the balance will be reissued as a new FCC voucher (but likely the same expiration date). Any unused portion of the credit will be forfeited after the expiration date. If the amount of the credit falls short of the new cruise fare, you'll pay the difference out of pocket.

What charges does future cruise credit not cover?

Depending on the cruise line, an FCC will likely not cover future charges such as:

  • Port taxes and fees
  • Initial deposits
  • Prepaid gratuities
  • Shore excursions
  • Onboard spending

Important FCC tips

With each cruise line's form of credit comes its own stipulations on when and how to use it. Take note of the fine print, and when in doubt, call your cruise line to clarify important things like expiration date or any blackout dates.

If the cruise you booked with future cruise credit is canceled, the full amount may again be refunded in the form of an FCC, and the expiration dates will likely be adjusted accordingly.

Don't rely on the cruise line to keep track of your credit; bookmark, print or save the email with your future cruise credit information so you have everything you'll need – or your agent needs – when you're ready to rebook.

It's easy to confuse future cruise credit with a future cruise program; the latter is a benefit, like onboard credit, offered for booking another cruise while you're on board a current cruise. FCC is almost always a compensation due to a canceled, interrupted or rebooked cruise.

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