5 Things You Won’t Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year!

(Should’ve Done It Last Year!) 5 Things You Won’t Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year

There are five things I took for granted last year as a cruiser that have unexpectedly disappeared this year. The first massive one I experienced on a recent cruise. I was on the first leg of Silversea Silver Spirit’s 62-night Grand Voyage from Cape Town to Athens via the Seychelles, Dubai, and the Suez Canal.

A few days in, those booked on the Grand Voyage were told it would abruptly end halfway through in the Seychelles. All passengers had to leave the ship, as it was going to turn around and sail empty to Athens around Africa instead of via the Suez Canal. In time to start its Mediterranean cruise season.

Within days it was also announced they were cancelling the Silver Whisper sailing from Dubai through the Suez Canal to Athens. Seabourn cancelled a similar trip. Queen Mary 2 turned their World Voyage around to head back around Africa instead of going through the Suez Canal. While Virgin Voyages announced the Resilient Lady was going to sail back to the Mediterranean from Australia via Africa, not through Asia and the Suez Canal.

Last year lines were sailing Arabian cruises through the Red Sea with the bucket list transit of the Suez Canal, but now this year it’s not being offered. All those cruises have disappeared because of the attacks by the Houthi rebels on ships passing through the area.

This means we cruisers also have fewer Asian cruise options too as many of the ships sailing through were repositioning to Asia, like the Silver Whisper, Queen Mary 2 and Seabourn.

Of course, while for much of last year we could go on cruises calling into Israel. Since October no cruises call there and are unlikely to this year at all.

5 Things You Won't Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year!

Unrest & Disruption

As cruisers, our options are smaller than last year. We can also no longer be sure about the ports and destinations away from the Middle East it seems either. Ecuador fell off the cruise options for a while this year due to the civil unrest and even in the Caribbean there are issues.

The U.S. government, for example, issued travel advisory against travelling to Jamaica and the Bahamas due to crime levels, strongly suggesting that we avoid them. At this stage, cruises are still calling there, making me slightly nervous because the next cruise I’ve booked has both on the itinerary.

While lines are still calling on these islands, I have seen some changes to long-established excursions there because of crime issues. For example, there was an awful incident in the Bahamas when two women’s drinks were reportedly spiked at the Parrot’s Cove Resort in the Bahamas, and they were raped by employees. That excursion has been dropped as the investigation and case proceeds.

It seems we cannot be totally sure that the destinations, ports and even excursions that were possible to do last year will be this year.

That’s not the only thing that we could do cruising last year that we cannot this, and again I saw it firsthand on the cruises I’ve done, or have booked, this year.

5 Things You Won't Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year!

5 Things You Won’t Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year – Can’t Wait Until On Board

Unlike last year, we are unlikely to sail on ships that are anything other than sailing at full, or over capacity.

Every cruise line is talking about record-breaking bookings for this year and load factors higher than ALL previous years. Not only are the three big groups (Royal Caribbean Group, Carnival Corporation and Norwegian Group) saying it but smaller independent lines like Viking are too.

I have personally seen this make three things no longer possible versus my cruises last year.

Deals & Upgrades

First, there are dramatically fewer last-minute deals. They have pretty much evaporated on many routes, including even more exotic cruises like that Silversea South Africa cruise I was on. And, of course, fares are much higher this year too.

Second, over the last few years, I’ve often got upgrades by either bidding and always being successful, being upgraded because the ship is not sailing full, or paying relatively low fees to do so even after boarding.

Every cruise I have been on this year has had a sign at the desk saying the ship is full and so no opportunity for upgrades or even changing cabins if I have an issue, which last year I found easy to do.

Thirdly, and this is important, I found this year I absolutely cannot leave arrangements like dining bookings, especially speciality dining, excursions and shows until close to the cruise or once I am on board. If I do, I won’t have the experience I want and will miss out.

For example, that Caribbean cruise I mentioned coming up is on Oceania Vista and the fare includes all speciality dining. I went in about a week after online booking opened, and even then, the earliest I could get a table for myself was 9pm at night in any of them. No way I want to eat then, so likely going to have to miss them.


I am finding it is the same with excursions. Unless you go in when they are made available, you’ll often find the best have gone.

For example, on that Silver Spirit South African cruise, many of the excursions were game reserves, rides over the massive dunes in Walvis Bay and boat tours to view seals. So, all very popular. I went in very early and managed to secure them, but people who waited or tried on board found they were full or the best times for viewing animals were gone.

So unlike last year, getting what we want when we want it without lots of pre-planning seems impossible.

But while technology can help us get in early and make those bookings before the cruise, technology on the ship makes something else very different this year.

5 Things You Won't Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year!

5 Things You Won’t Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year  – Can’t Disconnect

A big change this year, as the lines finish rolling it out, is we can no longer tell the boss that we won’t have a Wi-Fi connection and must be logged off, and certainly cannot do things like Zoom calls or anything involving big files and lots of data.

Almost all the cruise lines this year have Starlink, providing good Wi-Fi at sea. This year we have lost the excuse we’re forced to disconnect due to poor and costly Wi-Fi.

On the plus side, for me though I can keep up to date with my channel as I can now upload and download large video files. But, for my partner Mark it is less good news as work knows he can log on and he feels he needs to.

Of course, it is up to us individually how we handle this. But this year we can be connected if we need or want to unlike even last year where I could not on most of my cruises.

Next, I want to talk about how one of the favourite and most successful tools to save money appears to have evaporated this year compared to recent years.

5 Things You Won’t Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year – Can’t Get Fares Matched

Up until this year, probably the most valuable piece of advice I gave cruisers was to track their fares on one of three sites, and if the fares fell, to go to the cruise lines and ask them to fare match, either with the lower price, giving an upgrade equivalent to the new pricing, or on-board credit.

I have had so many people contacting me saying how much money they saved. I have too, with in one case getting over $1,000 back from Azamara Cruises by fare tracking.

Things seemed to have changed this year. When ships were not sailing as full, cruise lines were being flexible and there was more fare matching. And although fares are not coming down as often due to high demand, when they do perhaps through promotions in “Wave Season” when lines traditionally make huge volume of bookings, cruise lines are refusing to fare match.

Cruise lines now are doing things like including in their terms that the price is locked when booking and they will not price match.

Fare matching this year has become extremely challenging, but I still am doing it and recommend you do and at least try. I have an article on my blog that tells you how to do this.

But there is another way some cruise lines are squeezing us financially this year too.

5 Things You Won't Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year!

5 Things You Won’t Be Able To Do On A Cruise This Year – Can’t Get As Much

One area that I’ve seen is a change in the supposedly all-inclusive package addons which are including less or squeezing us more.

For example, I have a Celebrity Cruise booked later this year around Canada and New England, this will in fact be a Group Cruise that I am hosting. But unlike my last Celebrity trip, their “Always Included” add on this year has dropped gratuities from the bundle, so it’s much less inclusive!

It’s important to keep checking what is and isn’t included in those add-on bundles this year as they look to be being squeezed.

They usually only have basic Wi-Fi and a classic drinks package, and I found I need to keep an eye on what they cover, for example most classic drinks packages only cover drinks to a certain price on the drinks’ menu, like say $15 maximum per drink.

And with the cost of drinks being increased this year, more drinks that used to be included within that price fall out of the package. On many cruise lines, for example on Holland America, you can order and pay the difference. So, do research as you look at adding those all-inclusive packages this year as they seem to be being squeezed.




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