I would appreciate your suggestions on the information I should gather on the pricing terms and conditions of a cruise before booking. Hopefully this list will help other people new to cruising and avoid unwelcome surprises. Till now my list consists of:
1) The terms and conditions of both the cruise line and the travel agent (TA) if you will be using one. These will vary depending on the promotional code of the booking.
2) Make sure you understand the cancelation policy. This varies depending how far away you are from your cruise. You may loose all your deposit.
3) Check if you will be entitled to a free upgrade or onboard credit (OBC) if you find out the price has dropped closer to the cruise date.
4) Check if you will be able to upgrade at the current prices or whether you will be charged at your original promotional code.
5) Consider any charges you may incur for changes to your booking.
6) If you are European and are using an American TA confirm whether that TA can sell all cruise lines to Europeans.
7) Confirm that the price quoted includes all taxes, fees and gratuities. Some TAs will charge you extra for using a credit card rather than a debit card.
8) Use forums such as this to compare pricing and clear difficulties you will be surprised how helpful people can be.
NB: Always get this information in writing.