Exploring the Benefits of Standby Cruise Fares

Having flexible travel plans is key to finding a great cruise fare, especially to book a last-minute trip. Though it can be an effective strategy, waiting for last-minute deals might not always yield results, as the itinerary of your choosing could sell out, and the burden of monitoring cruise fares is on you.

To provide an alternative, Holland America Line created a program that allows you to get on a standby list for select last-minute cruises. The cruise line has set a fixed fare for these cruises of $49 per person, per day, which is lower than most last-minute cruise deals.

How Do I Get on Holland America’s Standby List?

The program works by identifying a sailing from a list posted on Holland America’s website, then calling the cruise line at 877-724-5425 to request to be placed on the standby list for the itinerary of your choosing.

At the time of writing, the list of eligible cruises included sailings to Alaska, Hawaii and the Caribbean on voyages ranging from four to 22 days. The list of embarkation ports for these eligible itineraries includes Seattle, Fort Lauderdale and San Diego.

To be placed on the list, you’ll have to pay the reduced fare of $49 per person, per day upfront. This payment only guarantees you a spot on the list; it doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically be placed on the sailing of your choosing.

According to Holland America, you will be notified within seven days of the cruise if there is a cabin for you on the ship. If you don’t clear the standby list, the cruise line will refund you the amount paid when you were placed on the list.

What are the limitations of Holland America’s Standby Program?

Holland America’s Standby Program is available to passengers 21 or older and, according to the cruiser line, it’s intended for people residing within driving distance from the port of embarkation of their cruise of choice.

The $49 per person per day fare does not include taxes, fees and port expenses, which will be the responsibility of the passenger if approved for the cruise.

Due to the nature of this program, you won’t have the ability to select or request a cabin category of your choosing. The cruise line will automatically assign a stateroom to you depending on what’s available. This also means that cabin upgrades are not available through this program.

It’s also important to note that once you’re added to the standby list, you won’t be able to remove yourself. So if you clear the standby but can’t make it on the cruise, you won’t get a refund for the money paid upfront.

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