Q – We are, for many of the reasons stated in your reviews, anxious to take our first Crystal Cruise – likely to Scandinavia and Russia next year. My mother-in-law has taken ill and it could be a long haul. I am wondering about whether or not Crystal will be understanding should we need to cancel and how much, if any, of our deposit would we lose? I am also wondering about the best tome to pay for this cruise. It will be for next year and I wonder, with Putin and all, if the prices to Russia will come down and you would advise we wait? Very helpful site – the best we’ve found. 

A – No cruise line we have ever worked with makes cancellation decisions based on need and levels of understanding and kindness. Instead, cancellation policies are adhered to in a manner dictated by the lawyers up on the fifth floor. Exceptions are almost never made. But the good news is that illness in the immediate family is almost always covered by any of the major cancellation policies available. Your agent is your advocate so we’re gotten in insurance coverage fights on behalf of clients any number of times during the past three decades. The quote you always hear is “But that’s why we offer insurance”. Insurance is a huge profit center for the cruise lines and they do not want it known that some travel consultant can get them to change their brochure cancellation policy.

Crystal has special BOOK EARLY rates that go up when they reach capacity. You are always going to get the best pricing if you book the first 30% of the ship. Their deposits are refundable up to 90 days prior to sailing – a fairly generous policy as these things go.