Cruise Travelers Can Join a Standby List But There’s a Catch

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For passengers who want the very best prices on what can be stunning cruise vacations, Holland America Line has introduced a unique program in the industry – a standby list.

Cruisers can be put on the standby list for select sailings at rates of just $49 (USD) per person, per day, but there are certain restrictions that apply to these incredibly low fares. For flexible travelers, however, this new program can be an amazing value.

Cruise Standby With Holland America Line

Holland America Line is offering a new standby program for cruise travelers on select voyages in the coming months. For just $49 per person, per day, guests can join the standby list for their preferred cruise, and possibly score a tremendous deal on an amazing cruise vacation.

The way the program works is this – guests commit to a particular sailing and pay their cruise fare up front at a rate of $49 per person, per day for the first two guests in a stateroom. If a third or fourth guest will be traveling in the same stateroom, those additional guests sail free.

Port fees and taxes are not included and will be added to the final price. Similarly, add-on packages such as Wi-Fi, beverage packages, or specialty dining are not included but can be added at an extra cost if desired.

Holland America Cruise Ship in Florida
Photo Credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Guests can make these standby reservations months ahead of the sailing date, but fares must be paid in full when booked. This is not a guarantee that travelers will be on the selected cruise, however!

Holland America Line will clear standby travelers approximately seven days before the select cruise’s departure date. If a guest is assigned a stateroom, they are cleared to sail and have scored a great cruise at an amazing bargain price. If, however, a guest is not assigned a stateroom and will not be setting sail, they will be given a full refund.

What’s the Catch?

With such great rates available, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of this deal? It’s important to understand that there are strict terms that apply to the standby list.

First, guests have no choice in their stateroom selection, not even to guarantee a stateroom type. This does not mean that all standby cruisers will be receiving interior cabins in less desirable locations, but if a traveler has specific stateroom preferences that might make-or-break their vacation, this might not be the program to try. Furthermore, upgrades will not be available for standby stateroom assignments.

Second, passengers cannot cancel a standby cruise or remove themselves from the standby list, even months before sailing. Only if they are not assigned a cabin will they receive a full refund, otherwise the money that has been paid remains with the cruise line, even if the passenger is assigned a stateroom but does not show up for the cruise.

Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Ship
Holland America Rotterdam Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock)

“Guests wanting the ability to remove themselves/not be charged for the Cruise if they elect not to sail should instead opt to go on a cruise waitlist (and pay at prevailing rates), not this non-refundable Program,” the program details explain.

Because travelers will not know whether or not they are setting sail until just days before embarkation, Holland America Line specifies that the program “is intended for those residing within driving distance from a port.” While guests could take their chances with arranging airfare at the last minute, the cruise line will not assist with that process.

Standby cruises cannot be combined with other discounts, offers, or promotions, even if such offers create lower cruise rates or better deals.

Sailings Available for Standby

At this time, Holland America Line is offering standby lists for select sailings from Vancouver, San Diego, and Fort Lauderdale. A wide range of itineraries are available, however, with voyages from 4-22 nights in length. Some sailings are roundtrip, others are repositioning or one-way cruises.

Hawaiian cruises, Panama Canal transits, Pacific Coast journeys, and all manner of Caribbean itineraries – Eastern, Western, and Southern – are all available on the standby list, with departure dates from December 2023 through April 2024.

Of special note are the two available Solar Eclipse sailings. The 14-night Solar Eclipse & Mexican Riviera aboard Zaandam, departing on March 30, 2024 from San Diego and the 22-night Solar Eclipse & Circle Hawaii from San Diego to Vancouver aboard Koningsdam, departing on April 5, 2024 are both available for standby guests.

Available itineraries are subject to change at any time. Would you be willing to sail standby? Share your thoughts on the Cruise Hive boards!

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