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Carnival Cruise Line Cancellation Policy (2024)

Carnival Sunshine ship

Life is busy and things pop up, and sadly sometimes we need to cancel a Carnival cruise. While this is not a fun prospect, it is something we should be prepared for.

Before you book a cruise, it is a good idea to understand cancellation policies, especially as they relate to any promotional pricing and packages. Details regarding how much money you will get back, timeframes, and processes are all things to know ahead of time before you commit to making any booking. 

Carnival Cruise Line provides their customers with some options to get their money back, or at least credit, when cancelling a cruise.  

Here is an overview of Carnival's cancellation policy and whether or not you can get a refund. 

Carnival's deposits and payment schedule 

carnival refund

As with other cruise lines, guests booking a cruise with Carnival are required to make a deposit to secure their booking. 

The amount depends upon the length of the cruise, ranging from $100-$400 per person and double the amount for single occupancy. This means that if you're sailing solo on a 7-night cruise, you'll have to pay $800 for your deposit. 

Moreover, the date of final payment varies. If, for instance, you're going on a 3-night cruise, your final payment will be due 76 days prior to your cruise. The final payment date for sailings between 4 and 5 days is the same, with those 6+ nights increasing to 91 days prior to sailing. 

As a note, guests who booked prior to November 12, 2019 are subject to different rules. 

What is Carnival Cruise Line's cancellation policy?

Pay online

Carnival divides its cancellation policy based on whether the final payment has been made or not. 

If you are cancelling your cruise before you have made your final payment...

For cruisers cancelling prior to final payment, there is no penalty to cancel unless you booked your cruise with a specific promotion with a non-refundable deposit and/or fare.

If you booked with a non-refundable deposit, your only penalty would be that you wouldn't get the deposit back. You would not, however, be subject to paying the rest of the cruise fare in full. 

As noted above, for cruises 5 nights or less, the final payment date is 76 days prior to sailing, and for cruises 6 nights or more, the final payment date is 91 days prior to sailing. 

If you are cancelling your cruise after you have made your final payment...

Carnival Mardi Gras

Once final payment has been made, you are subject to whatever cancellation penalties apply based on how long it is until your cruise is scheduled to depart. Note that the penalty increases as your cruise date approaches. 

From the final payment date to 56 days prior to your cruise, the penalty is the standard deposit. 

Once you reach 55 days until your cruise, you are subject to paying 50% of the total fare or the standard deposit, whichever is greater. At 29 days, the penalty increases to 75% of the total fare or the standard deposit, whichever is greater.

Finally, from 14 days prior to the date of your sailing, the penalty is 100% of your total fare, and no refunds will be given if you are a no-show or depart from your ship once it has begun. 

What are the cancellation policies for special fares and promotions?

Aquaria Bar

Carnival offers several promotions, which can be a great money saver for cruisers; however, it is important to know that they come with additional terms and conditions, which can affect the cancellation policy and make your rate less flexible. 

If you're booking years into the future and are not fully certain that you'll be able to cruise or not, it might not be wise to book a more restrictive cruise fare. 

Early Saver


If you book an Early Saver rate, your deposit is non-refundable at any time after the booking is made. So long as you cancel prior to the final payment date, you will get a non-refundable and non-transferrable future credit in the amount of the deposit, minus a $50 service fee per person. 

Note that it must be used on a new booking made within 12 months and can only be applied to your fare, not cruise add-ons like shore excursions, drink packages, etc. 

Any unused money will be forfeited, meaning that it will not be refunded to your original form of payment. 

Super Saver


Another promotion is Super Saver. Once you have made your booking, your deposit is considered non-refundable. Unlike Early Saver, if you cancel before final payment, you won't get any sort of voucher to apply to future sailings— you simply lose the deposit money. 

Pack & Go

Bolt Carnival Celebration

Finally, if you're able to score a great last-minute rate with Carnival's Pack & Go promotion, you should be aware that 100% of the TOTAL fare is non-refundable after booking. It is important that you be certain that you can go and don't have anything that could interrupt your vacation plans. 

Since these bookings are made after the cruise's final payment date, you'll have to pay the entire cruise fare upfront, rather than placing a deposit and paying it off over time. 

My cruise fare dropped after I placed my deposit. Am I able to get the lower rate honored by Carnival?


Per Carnival's "Lowest Price Guarantee" clause, if you find a cheaper rate within two days (48 hours) of booking, you can submit a claim to be verified by Carnival. 

In order for them to honor the lower rate, it must be publicly advertised, meaning that it cannot be a travel agent's group rate or charter. Plus, it must be for the exact same ship, sail date, stateroom category, and number of guests. 

While Carnival won't refund the difference, you'll get 110% of the difference in onboard credit to spend on add-ons like a drink package, Wi-Fi, shore excursions, etc. 


If you booked an Early Saver rate and see that Carnival's website advertises a lower fare later on, you can call Carnival and see if they'll honor the lower rate. 

The Early Saver Price Protection form states that if the rate meets the Price Protection requirements, you'll get the option of requesting an upgrade or a non-refundable onboard credit for the fare difference. 

Reach out to your travel agent if you have any questions or concerns


Terms and conditions can be tricky to read, especially with numerous caveats intertwined in the legalese. It is best to review prior to booking with a trusted travel advisor or ask the cruise line directly for clarification.

If you have already booked a cruise directly with Carnival, all of the cancellation policy information can be found on their website. You're able to check and see if your cruise is subject to any cancellation penalties by logging into your account and clicking on the "My Cruise Details" section. From there, you'll want to select the "Is there a penalty for canceling this booking" link. 

For Carnival guests who have booked through a travel agent/advisor, you should contact them for additional clarification and information.

What happens if your flight is delayed?


First things first: you should always schedule your flight for the day before your cruise is scheduled to depart. The ship will not wait for you if your travel plans are delayed, whether that's because of a single delay or total flight cancellation. This is the most costly mistake you can make when it comes to your cruise vacation

If your flight is delayed and you happen to miss your ship, Carnival will not reimburse you. Note that the time onboard your itinerary is not the all-aboard time. It is often earlier, as cruise lines have to conduct mandatory safety drills prior to sailing away. 

Travel insurance can provide some relief; however, it won't make up for missing out on the family vacation that you have been looking forward to for months!

Carnival Cruise Line trip insurance

Medical Center

There are many independent advisors and companies that sell insurance products, including travel agents. Sometimes, you can even purchase an annual travel insurance plan! This, of course, only benefits those who plan to travel a considerable amount. 

When you make your Carnival booking, you will be asked if you want to add Carnival Vacation Protection.

This insurance plan is underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Note that, unfortunately, it is not available to residents who live in Quebec, Canada; New York; or Puerto Rico.


If you opt to add this add-on to your vacation, you'll receive the following benefits:

  • Trip Interruption Protection: You can get reimbursed up to the total cost of the cruise if you must start your vacation late or need to come home early due to illness, injury and more.
  • Baggage Protection: The insurance policy will reimburse you up to $1,500 if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged, and up to $500 to buy necessary items if your bags are delayed over 24 hours. 
  • Medical Protection: Up to $10,000 if you get sick or injured on your vacation.
  • Emergency Evacuation: Up to $30,000 for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation (services provided by LiveTravel). 

Read more: Cruise travel insurance and why you need it

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