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Cruise Line Cancellation Policies: A Closer Look
MSC Cruises Refund Policies
MSC Seashore (Image: MSC Cruises)

MSC Cruises Refund Policies

MSC Cruises Refund Policies
MSC Seashore (Image: MSC Cruises)
Melinda Crow
Contributor
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Knowing your refund options is almost as important as knowing where your ship is headed. Here's what we know about MSC Cruises when it comes to refunds.

On bookings made by May 31, 2021 for sailings on or before September 30, 2022, MSC is offering Total Cruiseflex, that allows cancellation and rebooking (but not refunds) up to 48 hours before cruising.

For standard refunds triggered by guest cancellations beyond that date, MSC's policies factor in the length of the cruise, the remaining time before sailing, and unlike many cruise lines, even the category of booking. Refund policies for those booked in MSC Yacht Club have different cancellation penalties.

The Refund

The Sun Decks on MSC Seaside

COVID-19 specific refunds: While MSC has an extensive COVID-19 plan in place, it does not address the possibility of refunds for denial of boarding or disembarking due to infection immediately prior to or during a cruise. The line does, however, offer a COVID-specific protection plan that covers cancellation, repatriation, and medical charges. The cost of the plan is 25 euros per person for Mediterranean and Northern European cruises and 29 euros for Caribbean cruises.

Pricing guarantees: MSC does not have a stated policy regarding refunds due to price drops after booking, but it never hurts to check with the Contact Center if you spot a lower price. They may be able to move you to the lower price if you are within the change period applicable at the time.

When you cancel the cruise: Outside the dates with Total CruiseFlex offered, the following standard refund policies apply. The deposit is never refundable on Yacht Club or World Cruise reservations and cancellations less than 90 days from sailing for Yacht Club and 120 days for World Cruise reservations incur cancellation penalties as outlined below. Full refunds on short cruises of 4 nights or less are available on cancellations through 60 days before departure. Guests cancelling cruises up to 14 nights in length have 90 days before departure to get a full refund, and on cruises of 15 nights or longer, a refund is available only until 110 days before sailing. All other cancellations incur penalties as outlined below.   

Taxes, fees, and port charges are refundable on all cancellations other than mid-cruise early departures and no-shows.

When MSC cancels the cruise: MSC is automatically issuing future cruise credits for all guests who have paid in full and are affected by cancellations in the amount of 125% of the purchased fare. To opt for a full refund, guests must wait for their FCCs to be issued, then are directed to contact the cruise line between specific dates, usually a window of roughly one month.

On cruises cancelled or shortened due to mechanical issues prior to or during sailing, passengers should expect full or partial refunds.

Important Dates

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve (Photo: AP Images for  MSC Cruises)

Final payment dates are 90 days before sailing on cruises 5 nights or longer and 60 days before sailing on short cruises of 4 nights or less.

If you must cancel the cruise: On MSC's shortest cruises of 4 nights or less, you will be penalized in the amount of your deposit between 59 and 49 days before departure. From day 45 to day 31 you suffer a 50 percent penalty, which increases to 75 percent on day 30 and 100 percent on day 15.

Mid-length cruises up to 14 nights have slightly stricter fees, beginning with loss of the deposit from day 89 to day 61. Between days 60 and 46, the penalty is 50 percent, which increases to 75 percent on day 45 and jumps to 100 percent from day 15. On cruises 15 nights or longer, loss of the deposit happens on day 109 before departure and the full 100 percent loss jumps to day 30.

As we said, deposits are non-refundable on Yacht Club or World Cruise bookings. On Yacht Club reservations, you forfeit the deposit until 90 days from sailing, 50 percent of the fare from days 89 to 60, 75 percent of the fare from days 59 to 30, and 100 percent of the fare inside 30 days.

World Cruises have far stricter cancellation fees. On all cancellations through 120 days before departure, you forfeit the larger of your deposit or 15 percent of the fare. Between days 119 and 60 cancellations will cost you 25 percent of the fare. Between days 59 and 15 before sailing, you lose 50 percent. Between days 14 and 10 you lose 75 percent, and you forfeit 100 percent of your fare on cancellations made inside 9 days before departure. 

If MSC must cancel the cruise: MSC has strict dates for requesting refunds in lieu of FCCs. Guests affected by cancellations will be notified of those dates, but they may also be found on the MSCCruisesUSA.com website, organized by ship name.

Future Cruise Credit

Atmosphere Pool on MSC Meraviglia

Future cruise credits are issued for the fare for guests who have paid in full at the time of cancellation. Refunds are issued for prepaid services, taxes, and fees. Guests must have received the automatically issued FCCs before requesting a refund.

FCCs are non-transferrable and non-refundable. FCCs used to reschedule a lower priced cruise may be used for upgraded accommodations or onboard credit.

The Fine Print

MSC Divina Balcony Cabin (Photo: Cruise Critic)

To take advantage of the Total CruiseFlex 48-hour cancellation privilege, you must contact the call center by 5 pm Eastern time two days before sailing, so if your ship is scheduled to sail on Sunday, you have until 5 pm EST to make the call and have your reservation cancelled and rebooked on a sailing departing before September 30, 2022.

When either you or the cruise line cancel a cruise, any additional travel plans made through a third party must be cancelled independently. Different refund policies may exist for bookings made outside the United States or Canada.

More information

MSC Magnifica Sun Deck (Photo: MSC Cruises)

Standard cancellation policies are found in the terms and conditions. Cruises cancelled by MSC can be found on the changes and cancellations page. If you need assistance by phone, customer service can be reached at (877)665-4655. If phone wait times are too long, there is an online contact form available.

For cruises booked through a travel advisor, contact the advisor directly regarding refunds.

Updated April 19, 2021

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