Despite the challenging economy, the cruise industry continues to grow, year over year, according to information released during the Cruise Lines International Association’s seventh annual conference, Cruise 360.

Last year, in the US alone, the cruise industry contributed $40 billion to the economy and created 350,000 jobs. And although 15 million passengers enjoyed one or more cruises in 2010, with 72 percent of them being from the US, Canada, or Mexico, only 20 percent of Americans have ever been on a cruise, indicating a large, untapped market of future cruisers.

Timeshare Exchange for Cruises

Obviously not all timeshare can be exchanged for cruises. In some cases, timeshare exchange for a cruise is made through the timeshare company; in other cases, it is made through a timeshare exchange service. And sometimes timeshare points are “spent” to “buy” a cruise instead of their typical use for timeshare vacation weeks. Because of the variety of ways to exchange timeshare for a cruise, the protocols and requirements of each avenue vary.

When you exchange timeshare or use timeshare points for a cruise, be sure you ask about any additional costs that may or may not be covered by the exchange. One example is your port fee.

Port fees are typically included in the cost of a cruise when you buy the cruise directly, but when you are using timeshare exchange or timeshare points to cover the cost of your cruise, the port fees may be an add-on. Port fees cover the change for the cruise ship to dock and include a wharf or passenger charge; a port entry fee; and a dockage fee depending on the ship’s size and length of stay.

Other fees that are not always covered by timeshare exchange could include things like taxes, transportation to and from the ship or while in port, and charges that would be add-ons for any cruiser, no matter how you paid for the experience.

Bottom line: Be sure you understand fully what your timeshare exchange covers and which expenses will be up to you to cover out of pocket. Then pack your flipflops and your suntan lotion for a Bon Voyage!

Additional Timeshare Resources