Can You Transfer Your Cruise to Another Person?

by SharonKurheg

It’s a relatively well-known fact that if you have a flight reservation on most airlines, you can’t transfer the reservation to someone else. There are a few exceptions to this, and even a loophole someone tried, but for the most part, especially in the U.S., transferring a plane reservation from one person to another isn’t allowed.

On the other hand, it’s usually very possible to transfer the name of the registered guest of a hotel reservation. And there’s even a totally legal way to transfer Membership Rewards to a family member’s account airline or hotel account (here’s how to do it).

But what if you have a cruise reservation, something happens and you can’t go? Can you transfer the reservation to someone else?

It’s complicated.

Essentially, it depends on the cruise line. Some of them let you transfer your cruise to another problem with no problem at all, and some explicitly say that their cruises are non-transferable. Here’s what the major cruise lines that depart out of the U.S.. say:

Carnival Cruise Line

Transfer to someone else? Yes, with caveats

A name change is the cancellation of one guest and the addition of a new guest on a booking. An original guest must remain on the booking, otherwise, this is considered a full stateroom cancellation and applicable cancellation penalties will be assessed to the original guests; new guests will be subject to prevailing cruise and air rates.

If your booking is made under a restricted/non-refundable fare*, please check the Terms and Conditions of the specific promotion to see if name changes are permitted. If name changes are not allowed, the original guest will be subject to a non-refundable deposit (or full fare) or applicable cancellation penalties. An additional deposit will be required for the new guest.

Celebrity Cruises

Transfer to someone else? Maybe

Celebrity offers non-refundable, refundable with fees, and refundable tickets. Changes, including name changes, may or may not be an option, depending on the type of ticket you purchased.

Disney Cruise Line

Transfer to someone else? No

If the cruise reservation is booked under your name, you may not transfer the cruise to someone else. You would need to cancel your reservation if you are unable to sail, and a fee for that may apply. You can call Disney Cruise Line to discuss options.

Holland America Line

Transfer to someone else? No

Holland America Cruise Line cruise contracts are non-transferable. Name changes and departure date changes are considered reservation cancellation / re-bookings and are subject to cancellation fees.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Transfer to someone else? No

Name changes and departure date changes are considered reservation cancellations and are subject to the above cancellation fees.

MSC Cruises

Transfer to someone else? Yes (well, maybe)

A name change fee of $75.00 per name change will apply for any name change made within 89 days prior to sailing. Limit
of 1 name change per reservation.

Cruise contracts are non-transferable. More than one name change or a cruise date change is considered a reservation
cancellation and is subject to the above cancellation charges.

Princess Cruises

Transfer to someone else? Yes, with caveats

Princess only allows reservations to be transferred within 60 days of their initial creation date, so long as (a) the request is made outside the Final Payment period, and (b) the booking is not paid in full.

Royal Caribbean

Transfer to someone else? Yes

Customer may transfer their reservation within 60 (sixty) days of original booking (must be outside of final payment)

Virgin Voyages

Transfer to someone else? Yes

You may sell, assign or transfer your booking up to 48 hours before the Cruise, in which case the buyer, assignee, or transferee is bound by this Contract.

What if they don’t let me transfer my cruise?

Some cruise lines are more strict than others and don’t allow transfers. However, depending on how far out your cruise is, and your reasoning for needing to make a change, they may allow date changes, with or without a fee. Check with your cruise line for specifics.

How do you transfer a cruise reservation?

For the cruise lines that allow name changes/transfers, if you’re transferring your cruise to someone you know, it’s easy enough; call your cruise line (or have your travel agent contact them) and do what has to be done in terms of name changes and contact information, with any money exchanged being done privately.

However some people will try to sell their cruises to strangers. This happens with Virgin Voyages cruises quite a bit, since they currently have the most open policy for transferring your cruise to someone else.

When a cruise is being sold to a stranger, both parties want and need to be careful. The person selling the cruise wants to ensure they get the agreed upon amount, and the person buying the cruise wants to make sure the person selling the cruise actually has a cruise to sell.

What some people do is use an escrow company. Similar to buying a house, the person buying the cruise gives the payment to the escrow company. They hold the money in question until both parties are satisfied (read: the transfer has been done and the cruise company is satisfied on their end) and once it’s done, the money is released to the seller.

The escrow company, of course, receives a fee for this service. Who pays that fee can vary – the seller, the buyer or a split of the two.

Although I’ve never used them, appears to be a well-known, trusted company. I mean, they’ve gotten awards from the Better Business Bureau, and eBay uses them, so…

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