2025 FAQS

2025 FAQs

Formulaically Anticipated Quandaries…

 

Taking over a ship for a Carribean voyage is a huge endeavor with a lot of metaphorical and literal moving parts, and you’re bound to have some questions. Here’s a compendium of knowledge to help you get an overview of the JoCo Cruise, and to answer your questions large and small.

What The Heck?

What is this “JoCo Cruise” thing?

JoCo Cruise 2025 is a full-ship charter, seven night cruise aboard Holland America Line’s ms Nieuw Amsterdam, with music, comedy, and other performances and events from Jonathan Coulton and friends. Since the first JoCo Cruise sailed in 2011, it’s become a popular vacation choice for technophiles, tabletop gamers, and creative-minded people of all stripes. It departs from Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, March 2, 2025 and returns Sunday, March 9, 2025.

For a more thorough overview of the event, check out the What is JoCo Cruise page.

What is the itinerary for 2025?

The JoCo Cruise 2025 itinerary is as follows:
  • Sat 3/2 (Day 1):  Fort Lauderdale, FL (depart 5 pm)
  • Sun 3/3 (Day 2):  Half Moon Cay, Bahamas (9am – 4pm)
  • Mon 3/4 (Day 3):  At Sea
  • Tue. 3/5 (Day 4): San Juan, Puerto Rico (10am – 11pm)
  • Wed 3/6 (Day 5): Philipsburg, St. Maarten (11am – 6pm)
  • Thu 3/7 (Day 6):  At Sea
  • Fri 3/8 (Day 7): At Sea
  • Sat 3/9 (Day 8):  Fort Lauderdale, FL (arrive 7 am)

Itinerary is subject to change. Bookings cancelled due to itinerary change will be subject to any applicable Cancellation fees.

What can you tell me about the Nieuw Amsterdam?

The Nieuw Amsterdam has hosted JoCo Cruise since 2020. It’s the slightly larger sister of the Oosterdam and Westerdam (which also hosted previous JoCo Cruises). Fun Facts about the ms Nieuw Amsterdam:

  • It’s in the ideal size range, with enough spaces to make things interesting, but not so large that it’s overwhelming
  • Lots of room for gaming and gathering
  • Really great food and friendly service

We’re also thrilled to once again be sailing with Holland America Line, who have been incredible to work with on JoCo Cruise.

What kind of entertainment can I expect?

Flashier details can be found on our What Is JoCo Cruise? section, but broadly speaking our cruise comprises:

  • Live Performances: Music, comedy, and more, presented in the main theater and throughout the ship
  • Participatory Events: Cocktail hangouts, karaoke, dance parties, meetups/drinkups with both fellow attendees and JoCo Cruise performers and invited guests
  • Gaming Events: Shipwide, non-stop tabletop gaming, console gaming; plus meetups, playtesting sessions and more
  • Crafting Events: Special sessions and equipment in the Crafting Room, and throughout the ship
  • Writing Events: Formal and informal gatherings, panels and meetups with bestselling authors and writers of all sorts, discussing all aspects of writing, the writing process and the creative life
  • Shadow Cruise Events: A multitude of events organized, planned and run by you, the JoCo Cruise Community of passengers

But to find out what your fellow attendees are already planning, or start a discussion about an event you’d like to hold, visit the JoCo Cruise Discord server, the community-run JoCo Cruise 2025 Facebook group, or this community-run Slack server (signup here) to get in on the action.

Do we have the whole ship?

Yes! JoCo Cruise is a “full ship charter,” which lets us do a bunch of neat things:

  • Program whatever we want, whenever we want. With a full-ship charter, we don’t have to juggle and fit our programming around the rest of the passengers and their schedules. Because we are the rest of the passengers!
  • Bring a wide variety of performers, gaming experts, authors, raconteurs, and creative/makerfolk of all stripes, both to entertain and for general mingling/chilling.
  • Take the ship wherever we want (within reason), including some less-visited ports of call.
  • Do lots of things to foster community, such as shipwide theme days/nights; our own shipboard TV and radio channels; and generally creating a fun and energizing environment where you know that everyone you meet “gets it.”
  • So. Much. Tabletop. Gaming. EVERYWHERE.
  • Destroy Alderaan. (We wouldn’t—it’s peaceful, they have no weapons—but it’s nice to know that we could.)

Are kids allowed?

Definitely. Although be warned that there’s often some “adult” material. All ages may attend the shows, but they will not necessarily be “family friendly;” so use your own judgment and parental standards.

THAT SAID…there will be plenty to keep the young ‘uns occupied if they’re not interested in Beardy McInternet and his rabble, including the ship’s fully staffed Kids Club activity centers. So go ahead and bring the whole family.

Are there age restrictions for passengers?

Holland America Line requires a minimum age of 6 months (as of the sailing date of March 2, 2025) for their cruises. Tough luck, newborns!

Also, guests under 21 years old must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or chaperone aged 21 or older.

What is your privacy policy?

JoCo Cruise is a small business composed of people who’ve been working on the internet for years and who are already subscribed to all the worst mailing lists. When it comes to the privacy of your data and the sanctity of your custom, we feel your pain, thank you for your patronage, and respect your privacy.

In the course of providing cruises and related products and services we may collect various demographic data along with email addresses, names, usernames and passwords for jococruise.com, physical addresses, and receipts for past purchases. There may be other data you are asked to provide in the course of our providing a cruise to you, which we may retain on our servers. In the course of providing customer service and corresponding with those who write to us and call us, we may receive other information that is provided to us over email or voicemail, which will be retained by us or our vendors (e.g. gmail, Google Voice). We will not and never have stored payment data on our servers. Any data you post publicly on the JoCo Cruise Forum or any JoCo Cruise related public site may be stored by JoCo Cruise or a contracted party and will be visible to others.

Finally, there are some automated metrics that we collect when you visit our sites. Think cookies, logs, your user agent, data that is used for statistical and marketing purposes. In certain circumstances, this data may be connected to your name in our system (e.g., we know the user-agent and IP that completed a booking for a cabin).

We use the information we collect to provide the JoCo Cruise to you to monitor the performance of our site and marketing activities, and to market the JoCo Cruise. Some of these activities are enabled by third parties to whom we provide information when necessary. We only provide personal information to outside parties if it is necessary to provide a service (e.g., our travel agency and cruiseline needs to know your name and date of birth in order to get you a berth on the ship; Mailchimp sends our emails; address information for shipping and fulfillment, etc.) and we would not provide these data if we thought they would be used for purposes beyond our own.

We do not furnish email lists or other personally identifying data to our sponsors or other entities for their own marketing purposes or for any purpose other than conducting the business of JoCo Cruise, which is providing the JoCo Cruise and related products to our customers, selling the JoCo Cruise and related products, and monitoring our effectiveness at performing the aforementioned activities.

If we receive court orders or are required to furnish data by law we will either comply with these requests (be prepared for this option) or take a Spartan-like stand against the man (be prepared for this option). JoCo Cruise may also provide data to companies providing investigatory, anti-fraud, or compliance services (data will not be provided to these entities for commercial or marketing purposes.)

We strive to protect all the data we hold by, first, never retaining customer payment data and, second, watching over our servers and codebase with care and using HTTPS. We cannot guarantee that a breach will not happen. In the event our websites are hacked or otherwise breached we will make reasonable attempts to notify the affected parties if we believe there is a risk to them. As necessary we will involve specialists and law enforcement and share data with them as well if necessary (again, not for commercial or marketing purposes).

This policy applies only to the JoCo Cruise and its website, not to the site of any vendor or entity with whom we are associated or have mentioned. Information provided to third parties is not governed by the JoCo Cruise Privacy Policy.

Booking Questions

Can I “upgrade” my booking (e.g., book an Interior now, then switch to a Verandah later)?

Hecks yes! No penalties of any sort will be applied when moving up to your AMAZING NEW, SWANKIER CABIN, pending availability of desired cabin category. Please join the wait list if you’d like to upgrade your cabin type.

Upgraded bookings will retain any applicable Early Booking and Returner discounts. If applicable, Pay In Full discount and early bird pricing will also be retained, but will NOT be adjusted to reflect the cost of your new cabin.

What resources are available for LGBTQ+ guests who have concerns about traveling through Florida to attend JoCo Cruise?

Recent legislation and legislative efforts in Florida should be concerning to everyone. They are attempts to undermine basic liberties to which all citizens are entitled, and are especially concerning for many JoCo Cruise attendees, including our transgender, non-binary/GNC, and LGBTQ+ guests. We are proud to run an inclusive and welcoming event. We stand together with our LGBTQ+ friends, and the many Florida residents who agree with us, against the politicians who want to take away our rights to be ourselves, and gather when and where we choose.

We understand and fully support anyone who decides they cannot attend JoCo Cruise due to these issues and concerns. For those who do plan to attend in 2025, we have gathered some resources that we hope will make it easier for LGBTQ+ guests to travel through Fort Lauderdale on their way to the cruise. There are also imperfect but practical options to avoid spending any significant amount of time in Florida at all.

For guests wishing to stay overnight in the Fort Lauderdale area:

  • Open Doors Florida maintains a list of Florida businesses that support equality, including hotels and restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area and beyond.
  • Visit Lauderdale similarly lists LGBTQ+ community-friendly hotels in the greater Fort Lauderdale area, and members of the LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce.
  • Equality Florida has put together a Transgender Resource Guide, including crisis hotlines, statewide and national legal resources, support centers and social groups.
  • Equality Florida also offers monthly online volunteer training sessions in LGBTQ+ activism, where you can discuss the work Equality Florida does and learn how you can best stay involved and help effect change in Florida.

For guests wishing to minimize the time between arriving in Fort Lauderdale and boarding the ship:

We understand why some people may wish to avoid spending time (and money) in Florida. In such cases, we suggest booking a direct flight early on the morning of departure (March 2nd) from a major airport—preferably no more than 3 hours’ flight time to FLL—on a major airline offering multiple same-day direct flights to Fort Lauderdale arriving in time to depart on JoCo Cruise.

In the event of a flight delay or cancellation, you would still have options for a later flight that would arrive prior to sailaway. Please note that in practice this strategy is only feasible with a direct flight; flights with multiple legs are far less likely to be rescheduled such that you could still make it to the cruiseport in time.

You may pre-arrange for a Holland America shuttle to take you to the cruiseport directly from FLL upon arrival, and for a Holland America shuttle to return you to the airport upon disembarkation. As always (and emphatically in this case), we recommend that you secure travel insurance to protect your investment from travel delays.

Our community is strong and supportive, and many of you have already reached out to us with suggestions and offers of help. We will add to and update this FAQ as we gather additional information and resources in the coming weeks and months. If you wish to share any thoughts, please write to us at [email protected].

What does it mean to be the Primary Contact for a booking?

The Primary Contact ultimately bears sole responsibility for all billings within a cabin. If one or more of your roommates cancel, the primary contact is still responsible for the cabin’s full cost. 

Please bear this in mind when booking a cabin, particularly if booking a cabin for multiple occupants where some or all of your other occupants are not known yet. (i.e., “I’ll just book this cabin now, and I’ll find someone to room with me later.”)

Note, for example, that the total single-occupancy cost of a cabin is generally nearly as much as the total double-occupancy cost. Please also take careful note of the cancellation fee schedule and of the fees for passenger name changes, berths additions and cancellations, and booking transfers.

In summary: YOU, as the Primary Contact, are responsible for the full balance due on your cabin, regardless of what happens with any roommates.

If you need help finding roommates, please see our “Where can I go to find roommates” FAQ item for suggestions. Please note that JoCo Cruise does not provide assistance in searching for or securing roommates.

What if I don’t make the minimum required payments on my booking?

If a booking falls delinquent of the minimum payments required according to our Deposit/Payment deadlines, The JoCo Cruise Home Office will make best efforts to contact the booking in question and attempt to resolve the matter. However, JoCo Cruise reserves the right to cancel any booking that has not met the minimum payment schedule. Any booking cancelled by JoCo Cruise for this reason will incur any cancellation penalties due at the time of cancellation.

Can I make stateroom placement requests—i.e., a specific stateroom number, a particular deck or location (fore/aft, near elevators, etc.), or that my stateroom be next to or near a friend’s or family’s stateroom?

Yes! Once your booking is completed, there will be an option in your JoCo Cruise User Account to list any stateroom placement preferences you may have, including all of the above types. We will do our best to accommodate everyone (given the restrictions of the ship map and available cabin classes), but we cannot guarantee that we can fulfill all requests.

If you have a more general placement request, such as a specific deck, side (port or starboard) or location (forward/midship/aft, near elevators, etc.), please consult the Nieuw Amsterdam deck plan before choosing your stateroom type to make sure it’s located in your preferred placement area.

If you desire a specific stateroom number, we recommend you include two or three additional options that would work for you, in the event we can’t accommodate your first request.

If you’d like to be next to or near another specific booking (such as another family member or friend), the best strategy is to talk to them prior to booking and choose the exact same stateroom class. As in: L cabins are definitely next door to other L staterooms, and VD cabins are definitely next door to other VD staterooms.

If both parties don’t wish to book the exact same stateroom class, we suggest you check the Nieuw Amsterdam deck plan together before choosing your cabin type. Example: if one party wants an Ocean-view stateroom and one party a Verandah stateroom, then your best bet is an H, HH, or G stateroom and a VA, VB, or VF stateroom respectively, because all of those cabin types can be found on deck 4 relatively near each other.

Note that the “closest” placement options may not be intuitive—e.g., staterooms a deck apart but near the same elevators/stairs may be closer to one another than available options on the same deck.

Please be aware that the number of guests in your booking can further restrict your placement, particularly for triple- and quad-occupancy bookings. For example, only five of the Nieuw Amsterdam’s 73 VE staterooms can accommodate four passengers, so placement options for quad-occupancy VE bookings are far more limited.

There are various reasons that we might not be able to fulfill your cabin requests, including:

  • Your request is not physically possible, given your booked cabin class(es), number of guests, and/or constraints of the ship
  • You booked your cabin later than another guest or guest(s) who made the same or similar request
  • The cabin or placement you’ve requested is in a section already blocked for HAL use or for JoCo Cruise Operations

Please see the “Cabin Selection and Preferences” section of our Pricing page for more information on how cabin placement works, and email [email protected] with any further questions regarding placement requests.

Can I pay for my JoCo Cruise booking all at once/in installments?

You can do either! Please see our Pricing Page for the complete deposit/payment schedule. You must pay, at a minimum, the amounts listed by those given dates, but you are welcome to pay more than those minimums, or make additional payments at other times, or just pay your balance in full at any time.

What is your cancellation policy?

WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND PURCHASING TRAVEL INSURANCE. Many options and packages are available online, though the most flexible ones require purchase within 14 days of your initial booking.

If you would like to cancel your reservation please email us at [email protected].

  • Bookings made on or before December 14, 2024 may be cancelled within 7 calendar days of original booking with no cancellation fees.
  • Bookings made December 15, 2024 or after may be cancelled within 24 hours of original booking with no cancellation fees.

Outside of the above “penalty-free” grace periods, cancellation fees are as listed below, assessed per the following schedule:

  • Cancellation on or before April 30, 2024:  Full refund
  • Cancellation from May 1, 2024 through June 6, 2024:  20% of the cost of your booking
  • Cancellation from June 7, 2024 through August 25, 2024:  50% of the cost of your booking
  • Cancellation from August 26, 2024 through December 8, 2024:  75% of the cost of your booking
  • Cancellation on or after December 9, 2024:  100% of the cost of your booking (no refund)

NOTE: if two or more existing bookings are merged into a single booking, this counts as a cancellation of the “discarded” booking(s), which is (are) subject to any applicable cancellation fees.

If you are seeking to “downgrade” your cabin type (e.g., switch from a Verandah to an Interior), please see our our FAQ item on the subject.

For dropping berths within a booking (i.e., dropping one or more persons but not completely cancelling the booking), see our “am I allowed to make changes to my booking?” FAQ item.

No exceptions will be made to our cancellation policy under any circumstances (including but not limited to personal financial and/or health issues, adverse weather, or being denied boarding by Holland America Line for any reason, including health reasons). JoCo Cruise recommends purchasing travel insurance to protect against unforeseen circumstances that could hinder your ability to sail on JoCo Cruise 2025.

In case of cancellation, any applicable refund amounts due may be remitted either by check, bank transfer, or a credit issued via the original method of payment, at the discretion of JoCo Cruise. For check refunds we may require documentation of your current address, and for some bank transfers we may need documentation of your bank account transfer information. All refunds should be processed within 45 days of initial request.

What about travel insurance?

Travel insurance is not included in the JoCo Cruise price, but we strongly suggest purchasing it through a third party (we recommend Yonder, which aggregates plans from many providers.)

Each year there have been people who have needed to cancel for a wide variety of reasons (including adverse weather, cabin mates backing out, and unforeseen health or financial hardship), so we highly recommend it. For complete peace of mind, you may wish to consider a policy that allows “Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) coverage.

While travel insurance can be purchased just about any time, the most flexible plans generally must be purchased within 14 days of your initial booking; some trip insurance policies require purchase within one day of booking in order to be covered for pre-existing conditions.

If you use our link to Yonder, you can select the United States as your destination; if you’ve used the above link, on the next screen it’ll automatically select “Cruise” for your type of trip further in the quote process.)

Can someone else pay for some/all of my trip?

Yes. If they will be the sole payer for your booking, be sure you have all of the payment information ready when you start the booking process. If the person paying is already a member of your booking, the process will operate as outlined in the “Can my roommate(s) and I pay separately?” FAQ. If someone who is a not a part of your booking would like to make a partial payment towards your booking, please contact us at [email protected] for instructions.

Can my roommate(s) and I pay separately?

Yes! In the Payment section of the booking process you will have the option to pay a partial amount. Your cabin will remain reserved while you coordinate everyone’s payments through the JoCo Cruise User Account system, but it won’t be finalized until the full initial deposit amount has been made.

Once you’ve gone through the initial booking process, each party in the booking may be invited by the primary contact to link their existing JoCo Cruise User Account, or if they don’t have one, to create their own. Via these accounts, individual passengers within that booking with a JoCo Cruise User Account will be able to make payments directly towards the remaining balance at any time. You’ll receive complete details about User Accounts when you book.

Though multiple people may make payments for any given booking, calculating the amounts owed by individual parties is not a service we provide; it is up to the individual members of the booking to determine how the balance should be divided. Final responsibility to pay rests with your booking’s Primary Contact (the person who created the booking), and regardless of how payment gets divided, the balance must be paid in full by the Final Deposit date (see Pricing page for deposit dates and amounts.)

And obviously, if your initial booking deposit remains unpaid for too long past the deadline, we’ll have to cancel it in order to free that cabin up for someone else. But we will do our best to get in touch with you and resolve the situation before we take that action—our preference is to find a way for YOU to join us for the fun.

Where can I go to find roommates?

The following options are available if you’re seeking roommates for your JoCo Cruise stateroom:

Our fanbase has proven to be extremely friendly, resourceful and helpful, and many folks find roommates (and subsequently, new friends!) with no difficulty. It’s our fervent hope that everyone who wishes to find a roommate can find one, but we make no guarantees.

What is the charge for single-occupancy of a cabin?

All cabins are charged at double occupancy rates, but single-occupancy cruisers receive $300 off of the double-occupancy total. For specific cabin categories see our Pricing Table, and the correct total will appear automatically when you book.

Can I attend only one/a few events—or no events, just be on the ship—at a discounted rate?

Because JoCo Cruise is a full-ship charter, there’s no option to “just sail as a passenger, but not attend any of the events.”

The sort-of potential exception is joining Club SRO. Members of Club SRO will not have guaranteed seating at the evening main concerts in the ship’s World Stage Theater (they may instead either just skip the concerts, watch them simulcast or on-demand via their in-room TVs, or wait to occupy open seats (if available) after a given show starts) in exchange for a credit to their onboard stateroom accounts.

Please see our Club SRO FAQ for complete information.

If I make a deposit first, and pay my balance later (like in a few days), can I still get the “Pay in Full” discount?

No, sorry. Your booking’s balance must be paid in full at time of booking to receive the Pay in Full discount; balances paid in installments are not eligible.

Are there discounted rates available for children and infants?

Yes! See our Pricing page for discounts for infants/toddlers (under 3 years old) and for children aged 3-12.

What’s NOT included with the cruise price? How are they going to “get me”?

Although every last dollar needed to sail on JoCo Cruise is indeed included in our published prices*, there are some goods and services for which Holland America Line charges extra. A complete list of such items can be found on our Pricing Page.

Additionally, while it is not a fee, during your online check-in process, HAL will preauthorize (i.e.,place a hold) a credit or debit card for each booking member’s onboard account—as of this writing, for $30 per day per person for anyone aged 18+. Some banks may keep these holds in place for up to 30 days. If you prefer, you may also use cash or a prepaid gift/rewards card to pay this amount at the ship’s Guest Services desk on the day of boarding.

*JoCo Cruise reserves the right to pass along increases to prepaid gratuities, government taxes and fees, and/or fuel surcharges should Holland America Line mandate them.

What’s included in the JoCo Cruise 2025 all-in-one price?

JoCo Cruise’s all-in-one pricing includes every dollar required to sail with us all week long. You just need to get yourself to and from the ship. Our Pricing Page includes the complete list of what is included and what is not included in this price. That said, if the cruise line increases the amount of the pre-paid gratuity (which is built into our prices) or applies a fuel surcharge because of exceptionally high oil prices, JoCo Cruise will pass along those costs.

Can I book the cruise directly with Holland America Line/through a third-party travel site/from a shady guy in a van in a back alley?

We’ve chartered the entire ship for the whole week, and you can only book JoCo Cruise via our Booking page. OR…you can get hired by Holland America Line and hope they deploy you on the same ship at the same time as us.

Also, because it’s not a retail Holland America Line sailing, any credit card or other discount vouchers normally available on their cruises are not redeemable for JoCo Cruise. But we do offer our own discounts.

How and when can I book my cruise?

Booking for JoCo Cruise 2025 will be open as of January 30, 2024.

Oh no: you’re completely sold out/you’re out of the cabin type I want! Is there a wait list I can join?

Yes! Don’t lose all hope! Over the course of the year a number of cabins usually free up, primarily due to cancellations.

You can sign up on the JoCo Cruise wait list whether you’ve not yet booked JoCo Cruise 2025, or you’re already booked but are looking to switch to a currently-unavailable cabin category. When signing up on the wait list, please indicate which cabin type(s) you are interested in.

When a previously-sold-out cabin becomes available, first priority will be given to those on the wait list who are already booked on JoCo Cruise 2025, but are seeking to switch to that specific category. Thereafter it’ll be offered based on “wait list seniority”—i.e., starting with those who signed up on the wait list the earliest)—to wait listees who selected that specific cabin category.

Please note: if you’ve booked a stateroom already and are interested in getting on the wait list for a lower-category stateroom (e.g., booked a Verandah, but are looking for an Interior), please see our FAQ item regarding “downgrades” and applicable fees/penalties.

Can I get help finding hotel accommodations before and/or after the cruise? How about flights to Fort Lauderdale?

The JoCo Cruise organization does not handle travel arrangements (flights, night-before hotel, trains, etc.) for attendees beyond the cruise itself. We recommend you visit one or more of the numerous online travel sites and/or airline websites for assistance, and strongly recommend you compare prices at more than one site for the best possible deal. We also recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your deposits in the event you need to cancel.

Accessibility

Are accessible staterooms available for people with disabilities?

Yes. Please see our Accessibility page for complete information regarding the Nieuw Amsterdam’s accessible staterooms.

For a comprehensive summary of Holland America Line (and the Nieuw Amsterdam’s) accessibility features, you may visit HAL’s Accessibility Info Page on their website.

JoCo Cruise and Accessibility

JoCo Cruise works to ensure that all aspects of our event are fully accessible by all attendees. Holland America Line’s facilities are deigned to accommodate people with mobility, hearing, and visual disabilities. Full information can be found on our Accessibility page, including accessible cabin information on the Nieuw Amsterdam, and information regarding medical, dietary and other special needs.

You can also visit HAL’s website for complete information regarding their various accessibility and special needs options.

COVID-19 Policy

What is the masking policy onboard JoCo Cruise 2025?

On JoCo Cruise 2025, masking will be recommended in public indoor spaces—particularly crowded spaces such as the main theater, conference rooms, and elevators—but will not be required.

While we currently do not expect this policy to change, JoCo Cruise reserves the right to alter our COVID-19 safety requirements at any time.

What are the vaccination and testing requirements for JoCo Cruise 2025?

Currently, neither Holland America Line nor JoCo Cruise require proof of vaccination against COVID-19, nor do they require negative COVID-19 test results prior to embarkation.

While we currently do not expect this policy to change, JoCo Cruise reserves the right to alter our COVID-19 safety requirements at any time.

While testing is not required, we do strongly recommend everyone get tested prior to traveling to JoCo Cruise 2025.

What happens if I test positive or someone else in my booking tests positive for COVID-19 prior to sailing?

People should not travel to or attend JoCo Cruise if they are sick. We recommend that all guests take a COVID-19 test prior to beginning their travel, wear a mask during travel, and generally exercise best practices to reduce their potential COVID-19 exposure in the run-up to the cruise.

Guests with a positive COVID-19 test result from within five calendar days of sailing (i.e., dated February 25 to March 1, 2025) will be entitled to Future Cruise Credit toward JoCo Cruise 2026 (26FCC). In order to be issued this credit, you must provide us with the results of a medically-observed test taken within that date range. “Standard” at-home test results are not acceptable; the test must be either administered by a doctor or certified medical professional, or a self-administered test that includes telehealth online medical supervision, such as these tests from Radeas, Abbot, or eMed.

For bookings consisting of one “household,” full 26FCC will be issued to the primary contact of that booking and their JoCo 2025 booking will be canceled, even if only one guest tests positive. If a booking is made up of multiple households, guests not exposed to the sick guest(s) in the five days prior to their positive test result will be able to retain their berth(s) on JoCo Cruise 2025. Guests who have tested positive or were exposed to the positive-testing guest will be removed from the booking. Pro-rata 26FCC for guests who cannot attend will be issued to the primary contact in this case.

Attendees who purchased travel insurance and are unable to make the trip should contact their policy providers to make a claim. JoCo Cruise will provide any documentation requested by the policy issuer, after JoCo Cruise 2025 has returned.

If you or anyone in your booking tests positive for COVID-19 within five calendar days of sailing, please contact [email protected] immediately.

What if I test positive for COVID-19 while onboard JoCo Cruise 2025?

If you test positive for COVID-19 while onboard JoCo Cruise 2025, the ship’s medical staff will care for you, and may have you move to a more isolated stateroom, among other health and safety measures. JoCo Cruise strongly recommends travel insurance with appropriate coverage for medical expenses, as you may be charged for medical care onboard. If you and any guests in your stateroom are isolated for COVID-19 onboard JoCo Cruise 2025, we will issue the Primary Contact of your booking pro-rata Future Cruise Credit toward a booking on JoCo Cruise 2026.

In this instance, “pro-rata credit” means a percentage of your booking’s payment balance equivalent to the proportion of the seven day voyage missed by each booked guest.

JoCo Cruise required masking in 2022 and 2023, why not this year?

There are a number of reasons we have chosen a “recommended but not required” masking policy for JoCo Cruise 2025:

  • This is in keeping with the current policies (and expected policies in March 2025) of the vast majority of similarly-scaled public events—conventions, concerts, Broadway and other theater shows, music festivals, retail and charter cruises, etc.
  • Per current HAL policy, the ship’s staff members are not required to wear masks (and very few of them do so), which materially diminishes the effectiveness of any shipwide masking policy.
  • JoCo Cruise does not have the staff available to effectively monitor and enforce a ship-wide masking requirement. And given the potential for conflict and confrontation regarding such enforcement, we will not put our volunteer helpers or guests in the position of trying to do so.

JoCo Cruise required testing and proof of vaccination in 2022, why not this year?

On JoCo Cruise 2022, Holland America Line policy required proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in order to sail. They also required proof of negative results of a “medically observed” COVID-19 test within two days of sailing, and also administered additional COVID-19 testing to all passengers at the cruiseport prior to boarding.

In mid/late-2022, HAL dropped the testing and proof of vaccination requirements as well as the in-terminal testing. Various legal and logistical obstacles prevent JoCo Cruise from independently implementing either of these requirements.

Will there be COVID-19 cases onboard JoCo Cruise 2025?

Given current realities, it is unreasonable to expect that any cruise—indeed, any large-scale multi-day public event, regardless of their health policies—will be 100% free from COVID-19. Holland America Line has well-established and robust protocols for monitoring the health and safety of their passengers, especially for isolating and treating anyone onboard who tests positive for COVID-19.

While JoCo Cruise will continue to work with HAL and independently to investigate other health measures within our control for improving safety during embarkation and onboard the ship, we urge potential attendees to consider their personal risk profile given that no event of this nature can guarantee a COVID-19-free experience.

Will JoCo Cruise announce or share COVID-19 statistics or other information onboard or after the voyage?

JoCo Cruise cannot and will not release isolation statistics or any other medical data regarding our guests.

Medical care onboard the ship, cabin movements due to isolation, and other health information is managed by Holland America Line and the crew of the Nieuw Amsterdam. While JoCo Cruise works to assist the ship in their public health efforts and is sometimes aware of positive case reports, we must defer to the ship’s medical staff in regards to communication standards and health protocols. Having worked with them for many years, we trust that HAL’s staff is committed to the health and safety of all its passengers and crew.

Payment Questions

What forms of payment may I use for JoCo Cruise?

JoCo Cruise accepts credit cards; if you live in the USA, JoCo Cruise can also process payment via ACH transfer. This can be done:

  • during the initial booking process; as well as
  • via your JoCo Cruise User Account (for future payments after you are already booked).

Please note that credit card payments will be assessed a 3.5% processing fee.

Our ACH transfer process withdraws funds from an existing bank account rather than placing a charge against a credit card account. In this regard, an ACH transfer works somewhat like a wire transfer, but is less complicated and most banks won’t charge any fee for it—for those that do, it’s usually less expensive than wire transfer fees. (Think of it as similar to a Venmo transaction.)

Our system supports ACH transfers from most major American financial institutions as well as many smaller banks and credit unions (over 2,000 in total). If you find that your particular financial institution is not supported, please email us at [email protected].

A new booking cannot be finalized in our booking engine without a payment made at time of booking. If you prefer to pay in a form other than ACH or credit card, we recommend putting through the minimum required deposit in one of those forms if possible, and then email us for instructions on paying any remainder.

If you do not have a US-based bank account or otherwise cannot perform an ACH transfer and don’t wish to use a credit card, please email us at [email protected].

I don’t live in the US, and/or otherwise cannot send an ACH bank transfer payment from my account, and don’t wish to use a credit card. How can I pay for my booking?

Please email us at [email protected] so that we can work directly with you to complete your payment.

How does the ACH transfer process work?

When you are ready to make a payment (either during your initial booking process or when making additional payments on an existing booking via your JoCo Cruise User Account), you’ll select the amount you wish to pay and then proceed through the payment process. If you choose ACH as your payment method, you’ll be prompted to log in to your bank account (via Plaid) to help our system verify your account information—please have your bank login information on hand for this step. (NOTE: Plaid only facilitates the account login process, and does not process the actual transaction. JoCo Cruise does not see or retain your bank login information.) The system will then walk you through selecting your account (if, for example, you have both a checking and savings account), and the final step of confirming payment with your selected account. It should all be relatively simple and self-explanatory.

ACH transfers are not instantaneous, and may take several business days to be processed. (The amount of time varies with different financial institutions.) Please make sure that your account’s available balance is sufficient to cover your payment amount from the time you process your payment until the funds have been withdrawn. Failure to do so may result in your payment being cancelled and/or your bank may charge you overdraft fees. Issues of this type are between you and your financial institution and JoCo Cruise cannot provide assistance.

All JoCo Cruise bookings are provisional until funds have been received; JoCo Cruise will only contact you regarding payments in the event of a problem. If after five business days you see that your ACH transfer has still not been processed, or if you encounter any unexpected errors or problems regarding the transaction, please email us at [email protected].

As our system does not retain your bank login or account information, you will be required to log into your bank account each time you process a payment.

I live in the US, but your system won’t let me send an ACH transfer from my account, and I don’t wish to use a credit card. How can I pay for my booking?

JoCo Cruise uses Plaid in our payment processing system to help users log in to their bank accounts to help verify their account information directly from their bank. Plaid supports most major US-based financial institutions, as well as many smaller banks and credit unions (over 2,000 institutions in total).

However, there it’s possible that your particular US-based financial institution may not be supported by Plaid. Additionally, our current Plaid integration (the specific information we require from the bank for transactions) may limit the bank and type of bank account users are able to connect, even if the bank is generally supported by Plaid.

If you find that, when attempting to process your JoCo Cruise payment, our Plaid integration doesn’t support your financial institution, please email us at [email protected].

I’M BOOKED! NOW WHAT?

Whom should I contact if I have questions about JoCo Cruise and/or my booking?

If your general JoCo Cruise question isn’t addressed in our FAQ, you can contact The Home Office directly via email and/or our Official social media accounts. If you have specific questions regarding your booking, please email [email protected].

What is your smoking policy?

Smoking of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars and pipes), e-cigarettes and vaping are permitted on the Sea View Pool deck (Deck 9, aft), port side only.

Smoking of tobacco products is not permitted in any other public areas, nor on any stateroom verandah or inside any staterooms,.

E-cigarettes and vaping are not permitted on any stateroom verandah, but are permitted inside staterooms.

What happens if I lose my badge/lanyard/talisman?

To the brig with you! And by “brig” we mean “go to the JoCo Cruise Info Desk on Deck 1 in the Atrium, and they’ll get you a replacement.” Easy-peasy.

How do the concerts and events work?

For most events, because we have the whole ship you’ll just need to show up at the event. Done and done! However, because the Nieuw Amsterdam doesn’t have any single space that can hold all attendees at once, we’ve adopted a new system for the “Main Events” shows:

  • The JoCo Cruise “Main Concerts” (the main performances taking place in the ship’s main theater) will have both an early and a late show, corresponding with the ship’s two dinner seatings.
  • Passengers will be placed in either the Early Show/Late Dinner (Gold Team) or Early Dinner/Late Show (Red Team); the lanyard you receive for your badge will indicate your group. You can select your preference for Early or Late seating (or indicate no preference) via your User Account. We will do our best to accommodate all requests, but please note that that expressing a preference does not guarantee your being assigned that seating.) While the Early Dinner group is eating, the Late Dinner group will attend the Main Event show; then, everybody switches.
  • Beyond the Main Events, performances and gatherings will be held throughout the ship all week long, with attendance on a first-come basis. Rooms will be cleared after most events—no “camping” will be permitted. But given how many amazing things will be happening, it would be a shame to spend any time waiting for any particular event!

Can we have clothing-optional hot tub time/sunbathing/other event?

We have had this request multiple times in the past. The cruise line has specific rules against nudity in public spaces on board. While JoCo Cruise understands some passengers’ wish to hold these sorts of events—even if limited to “late night,” specific locations, etc.—we defer to and abide by HAL’s rules regarding this.

The JoCo Cruise Code of Conduct

JoCo Cruise is an enthusiastic and supportive community, and it is all of our responsibility to maintain it. Please treat your fellow attendees with kindness and respect. Be welcoming, inclusive and friendly, and look out for one another. Respect common sense norms for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. In keeping with this guiding philosophy of Being Excellent To Each Other, during the JoCo Cruise event we require all attendees to abide by

THE JOCO CRUISE CODE OF CONDUCT

Don’t harass others.
Harassing behavior includes (but isn’t limited to): any kind of physical, verbal, or psychological abuse; threats, intimidation, and bullying; slurs or discriminatory behavior regarding aspects of identity or expression, including (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality, ability, age, body size or type, disability, neurotype, physical appearance, or religion; unwanted romantic attention, sexual harassment, and generally creepy or stalky behavior; and photographing anyone or engaging in physical interactions (hugging, tickling, backrubs, etc.) without consent. If someone asks you to stop doing something and you continue doing it, that’s harassment.

Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or critiques in good faith. This community comprises many different perspectives and identities, and we should not expect to completely agree with each other all the time. Listen carefully, and speak kindly and with respect; we all have much to learn from one another.

Be excellent to the ship’s staff and people you encounter at ports of call.
Remember that we share this community with others. Please don’t be the person who makes us look bad to the ship’s staff and/or the locals; “don’t harass others,” as outlined above, extends to your interactions with them as well.

Don’t steal things.
Obviously.

Don’t use illegal substances or bring them onboard.
No exceptions.

In the event of a violation of this Code of Conduct, JoCo Cruise reserves the right to take action, including (but not limited to) limiting access to events, expulsion without refund, and/or permanent banning from JoCo Cruise events.

During the cruise, if you are subject to or witness behavior that violates our Code of Conduct, contact any Helper or JoCo Cruise staff member. Alternately, you can submit a Code of Conduct Violation Report form at the JoCo Cruise Info Desk. (This may be done anonymously if you wish.) You can also dial 74501 from any ship’s phone. Off-ship, you can email [email protected]. JoCo Cruise will make every effort to protect the privacy of anyone reporting a violation.

What is the Holland America Mariner Society?

The Mariner Society is a loyalty program for frequent Holland America cruisers. (Please note that this is entirely separate from and unconnected with the JoCo Cruise User Account system.) If you’ve never sailed on HAL before, you’re automatically entered in the Mariner Society when you create an account on the HAL website.

JoCo Cruisers may have an existing Mariner Number from the 2011, 2012 or 2017-2024 JoCo Cruises. If your past cruise history is not showing up in your Holland America account, we recommend you contact the Mariner Society by phone or using their online form for assistance.

Visit the Mariner Society page for more information about Holland America’s program.

How do I check in online for my cruise?

Checking in online with Holland America will greatly expedite your boarding process at the pier on the day of embarkation, by securely providing HAL your passenger data, Immigration, Disembarkation and credit card information. While it’s not absolutely required, we strongly recommend all our passengers do so, as it will save you from having to fill out a bunch of forms manually while standing at the pier.

Go to HAL’s Online Check-in Start Page and provide your HAL booking number and first and last name.
Once you’ve entered those, the site will walk you through the online check-in process. You can check-in any or all of the passengers in your booking. The system will ask you to answer one of the following security questions:

  • “What is the name of the ship for your cruise?”
    • Select “Nieuw Amsterdam” from the drop-down list
  • “What is the embarkation port for your cruise?”
    • Select “Fort Lauderdale, FL, US” from the drop-down list
  • “When is the date of departure for your cruise?”
    • Select “March 2025” from the drop-down calendar

For each guest you’re checking in, you will need the following information:

  • Full legal name
  • Birthdate
  • Passport number
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Emergency contact info

You can also enter flight information (if known) and credit card information (for onboard purchases) at this time. When each guest’s information is completed, you can print out your boarding passes, which you should bring with you to the pier on Embarkation Day.

If you don’t know all the information required, you can save your progress and complete it later.

Once check-in is completed, you can also print out luggage tags that will help the HAL staff get your bags from the pier to your stateroom. (If you forget your luggage tags, don’t fret; you can get tags from the baggage handlers at the pier.)

If you have medical, dietary or other special needs, please refer to our Accessibility page.

We also recommend creating an account on the Holland America website as well, which will make using their website easier in the future. Please note that many who sailed with JoCo Cruise in 2011, 2012, and/or 2017-2024 may ALREADY have Holland America accounts. (Also please note that your Holland America account is entirely separate from and unconnected with the JoCo Cruise User Account system.)

One or more of the passengers in my booking has a “Pending” HAL booking number. Why?

There’s a couple possibilities:

  1. Your guest was recently added to your reservation and HAL has not yet confirmed their booking number. As soon as we receive their booking number from HAL, their status will change from “pending” to the number itself. (This process may take up to three weeks.)
    2. Your guest was invited to join the reservation and create their own JoCo Cruise User Account, but has not yet done so. Once they have joined the reservation and filled out all of their personal data (by selecting the blue “edit” number next to their name in the listing), they’ll be added to your booking and the process of getting their HAL booking number will begin. (As above, this process may take up to three weeks.)

What is my Holland America Booking Number?

When you initially book with us, you receive a JoCo Cruise Booking ID (starting with “jc25”), for use with the JoCo Cruise Home Office internal system. But you get a SECOND booking number from Holland America; this “number” is six alphanumeric characters long and in all-caps (e.g. H5X2G4). You will use this HAL booking number to check-in online on the HAL site.

Holland America Booking numbers are NOT immediately available. We will notify you by email when your booking number has been received. Once we’ve emailed you, your booking number will also be visible on your JoCo Cruise User Account.

When should I get into Fort Lauderdale for embarkation?

If you’re flying, it is strongly recommended that you arrive in Fort Lauderdale at least a day prior to sailing, to allow for weather/mechanical/unexpected delays in travel. (Weather is no joke in February: there has been snow in various parts of the U.S. each of the previous years, and a blizzard in 2013; a few people got stuck and were unable to attend the cruise or had to meet up with it halfway through.)

If you choose to arrive the morning of sailing, please note that the ship is scheduled to depart at 5 p.m., and Holland America requires that all passengers be checked in and on board no later than 90 minutes before departure, which is 3:30 p.m.* Please make allowances accordingly; we would absolutely hate for anyone to be left behind, but there are no exceptions to our refund policy in the event of missing the cruise. (We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to gird against this possibility.)

*published departure time as of January 2, 2024 and subject to change

Help! I missed (or am going to miss) the ship! What do I do now?

We’re sorry you won’t be with us from minute one, but don’t fret just yet! You may be able to meet up with the ship later.

GENERAL DISCLAIMER: The information below is intended to help you, but it is up to your own judgement in conjunction with Holland America Line’s policies, procedures and personnel to achieve your best possible outcome. Holland America Line is the final authority in matters relating to their ships and other facilities, and their decisions and guidance take precedence over any information provided by JoCo Cruise in regards to those areas.

You must contact Holland America Line if you missed the ship and wish to catch up to it. 

Secondly, if you are trying to meet the ship later, please email us ASAP with your JoCo Cruise booking number.

If you purchased travel insurance, you may also wish to contact the provider, as it’s likely they’ll be able to help you with travel arrangements. Depending on the terms of your policy, they may also reimburse you for these expenses.

If you did not purchase travel insurance, DON’T PANIC! It may feel like a crisis right now, but roll with it, read the documentation above and fill out the form. Holland America Line and JoCo Cruise will do everything they can to help.

Note that JoCo Cruise does not provide travel services beyond the events it hosts on Holland America’s ship, is not an expert in travel services, and provides these suggestions in the hopes that it will help give you a general framework for your planning purposes.

Okay, I have booked my cruise; what do I need to know to get prepared?

There’s two great starting places once you need to get ready for your trip:

  • Holland America’s FAQ covers a wide range of topics, including documentation, baggage policy information and packing advice, dress code, childcare and much more.
  • Our Pre-Cruise Landing Page can provide a good baseline of things to expect. In the coming weeks/months, we’ll provide additional details and helpful information for planning ahead for the 2025 JoCo Cruise.

That said, here are a few important points:

  • All members of your booking (including children) must have acceptable travel identification. Your BEST, SAFEST option to avoid any hassle is to have a valid passport that will not expire for at least 6 months after the ship returns on March 9, 2025. Check the Identification Requirements section of HAL’s Know Before You Go page for complete information regarding acceptable identification.
  • All members of your booking are responsible for getting to the ship on time, both for initial embarkation and at each port during the sailing. JoCo Cruise does not handle or pay for any attendee’s travel arrangements to or from the ship, at any time.
  • All members of your booking must check-in online with Holland America prior to sailing. JoCo Cruise will notify all passengers with JoCo Cruise User IDs when the check-in process is open; it will be each booking’s lead person’s responsibility to ensure that all necessary information has been accurately provided to Holland America.
  • DEPARTURE: The Nieuw Amsterdam is currently scheduled to depart from Fort Lauderdale at 5 p.m. on March 2, 2025. Holland America requires all passengers be on board at least 90 minutes ahead of time—3:30 p.m. Departure time is subject to change; we’ll notify you immediately if/when it does.
  • RETURN: The Nieuw Amsterdam will return to Fort Lauderale around 7 a.m. on March 9, 2025. However, this time can vary, so Holland America recommends not booking any flight that departs before 12 noon.

Will there be an “official” JoCo Cruise hotel (a.k.a. “JoCoTel”) with special rates?

Short answer: regrettably, no. Longer answer: in earlier years we’ve been able to contract with hotels to get large blocks of rooms at a discount for our attendees. But because we’ll be in Fort Lauderdale during its high season, it won’t be possible. You are more than welcome to organize amongst yourselves, share research on area hotel rates and availability, etc.; but JoCo Cruise will not be securing any rates/blocks of rooms.

I want to start a fan page/Tumblr/Facebook group/listserv/etc. Can I?

Absolutely! We only ask the following:

  • Please make sure it’s clear in the name, description, and appearance of the group/page that it’s not an Official JoCo Cruise group/page, and that its members and moderators do not speak or imply that they speak on behalf of The JoCo Cruise.
  • Please, where applicable, list the Official communications channels for anyone who may have questions for The Home Office.

Will I be able to access the internet?

Yes, BUT.

WiFi is available in virtually every cabin and most public spaces throughout the ship. The bad news is it’s not free—in fact, it’s quite expensive compared to land-based plans, probably because every 1 and 0 needs to be transmitted to and from SPACE, and probably via some other dark arts. Details for this sailing will be announced as soon as they are available.

Internet service is now provided by Starlink, and we expect it to be faster and more fluid than in prior years. That said, it will still not be equivalent to internet available land, and your ability to stream video or make video/Zoom calls may vary. Also, your ability to connect to the ship’s WiFi can vary based on exactly where you are.

At most ports of call, mobile service is available (though, depending on the particular port, it may require you to activate International Calling on your plan), and various establishments in port may offer WiFi service as well. As with anywhere else, the WiFi/”bars” may vary in strength/speed.

 

I have medical, dietary, or other special needs requests for the cruise line. What should I do?

For guests with medical, dietary or other special needs, Holland America has a thorough FAQ regarding the subject. Passengers with such needs should submit a Special Requirements Information (SRI) form. (You’ll need your HAL booking number to complete the form.)

NOTE: guests with non-life threatening dietary restrictions should contact the Ship Services Department at 1-800-541-1576 and ask them to add that information as a note in your booking.

You must submit special needs requests directly to HAL, as they must handle them directly. JoCo Cruise cannot process these requests.

For detailed information on accessibility of shore excursions, HAL strongly recommends contacting their Shore Excursions Department prior to embarkation at 1-888-425-9376 (or locally at 206-626-7320) or visiting the Shore Excursions Office on board.

Will there be official autograph sessions? If not, is it cool to ask for autographs?

Some of our guests do elect to hold autograph sessions while on board; these will be listed in our online and printed schedules. Please see our note regarding autographs and selfies in our “Will I get to meet and talk with the “Famous People”? FAQ.

Will I get to meet and talk with the “Famous People”?

Like everybody sailing aboard JoCo Cruise, our special guests will be pulling up to the same lunch buffet, walking the same corridors, lounging by the same pools, and generally hanging out on the same ship for a week. So it’s a very good chance you’ll encounter at least some of them at some point.

That said, we can’t guarantee you’ll have face time with [Famous Person X]. Some performers will be more comfortable with general fan interaction, some less so. Please respect the boundaries of the performing guests as you would those of any other passenger. Before approaching someone, check whether they’re doing something that you might be interrupting—eating, spending time with their family, reading a book, napping, etc.

You might try to attend the “Office Hours” many of the Official guests host throughout the week, which present a much more direct (but still chill!) way to hang out with [Famous Person Y]. These sessions will be listed in the online and printed schedules, and are often scheduled more spontaneously. So keep an eye out.

If you’re nervous about approaching [Famous Person Z], relax; we suggest the following approach:

  1. Approach at an appropriate time (e.g., not when they’ve just taken a big bite of Corn Flakes at breakfast with their family)
  2. Make eye contact and say “Hi, my name is [your name]*, I love what you do, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
  3. That’s it! Some official guests will be chatty, others less so—just like all people. But for certain they all appreciate kind words.

Finally, a note about autographs and selfies: we respectfully ask that you not request these things from performers/guests while they’re generally “out and about” onboard. Signing sessions will be scheduled during the week for the performers who wish to offer them, at which autographs and selfies are more than welcome. But otherwise, we’ve found that seeking these things “in the wild” can lead to a “pile-on” of other autograph/selfie seekers, which can cause logistical/foot traffic issues and be generally disruptive. (Some performers may offer to do these things during their above-mentioned Office Hours and/or after performances or other official events they’re a part of—in which case, great! As generally noted in this section, please do your best to “read the room” and use proper judgment as to when autograph/photo requesting is appropriate or encouraged.)

*substitute your actual name here; do NOT say the phrase “your name” (seriously; they will have no idea why you’re saying it)

Will all the performers/guests be on the cruise the whole time?

In general, our performers/guests will be on board for the entire trip. In some cases, however, schedule or family commitments may prevent some performers from being able to join us for the full duration of JoCo Cruise.

Can I ask you to acknowledge my/my spouse’s/my friend’s birthday/anniversary during a show? Can I propose to my significant other during a show?

Unfortunately, no. Rest assured, we are genuinely happy for you and your birthday/marriage/unbounded love and devotion. But in order to be fair to everyone who makes similar requests, we must say either “no” or “yes” to everyone. And the the latter just isn’t workable.

Which dinner seating will I get?

As described here, you’ll be assigned to either the Early or Late dinner seating. You can select your preference for Early or Late seating (or indicate no preference) via your User Account. (We will do our best to accommodate all requests, but please note that that expressing a preference does not guarantee your being assigned that seating.)

Like previous years, dinner will be “open seating” within each seating—anyone can sit at any table not already marked as “Reserved/Fixed.” But if you have a group that wishes to all sit together at the same table for the duration of JoCo Cruise 2025, we will be making that option available.

There are also other dinner options besides the main dining room, in case you don’t want to waste precious concert-going/gaming/relaxing time on fine dining.

Club SRO

What is Club SRO?

Club SRO (“Standing Room Only”) is designed for JoCo Cruise guests who don’t need or want to attend every onboard main concert (e.g., nerd-adjacent spouses, people who don’t like crowds, people who aren’t particularly interested in the concerts (“I’m here for the gaming/writing panels/crafting/other things”), etc.).

People who join Club SRO will not have guaranteed seating at the evening main concerts in the ship’s World Stage Theater, and instead have the following options:

  • wait until five minutes after “morning announcements” have begun for a given main concert, at which point they may occupy any open seats, if available;
  • watch the show via live simulcast in the B.B. King’s Blues Club; or
  • watch the main concert later on via the “JoCo TV” menu on your stateroom TV. (All JoCo Cruise main concerts are uploaded to the “JoCo TV” menu the following day.)

Club SRO members will each receive a credit to their onboard stateroom accounts. Club SRO will be available to a limited number of guests on a first-come, first-served basis.

Why is Club SRO? (Why did JoCo Cruise create Club SRO?)

We want to include as many people as possible in the JoCo Cruise Community, and recognize everyone enjoys JoCo Cruise differently. We’ve learned from cruiser feedback that, for a segment of attendees, the main concerts are not so important to their cruise experience. Club SRO offers an option for those people, alleviates potential main theater overcrowding, and allows the greatest number of JoCo Cruisers to attend and enjoy the cruise.

What shows and events does Club SRO apply to?

Club SRO applies ONLY to the nightly “main concerts,” which happen at 5 pm and 7:30 pm most nights. All other events and concerts held in the ship’s World Stage theater and elsewhere are not a part of Club SRO.

If I want to join Club SRO, must everyone in my booking join as well?

No; one, multiple, or all guests within a booking may sign up. A separate application must be submitted for each guest who wishes to join, and only guests with submitted applications will be considered.

Can minors enroll in Club SRO?

Yes. Please note: if a minor is enrolled in Club SRO and their parent or guardian is not also enrolled, a parent or guardian must wait with the minor in the Club SRO waiting area, and only enter the show if seats are available. (JoCo Cruise cannot be responsible for supervising unattended minors, and a non-Club SRO parent/guardian may not “hold a seat” for their Club SRO child.)

How do I join Club SRO?

Fill out the JoCo Cruise 2025 “I Want to Join Club SRO” Application. Submit one form for each guest of your booking you wish to apply for Club SRO.

Please note that completing this form DOES NOT guarantee you membership in Club SRO; you will be contacted by the Home Office regarding your status, and with additional information as applicable.

MANAGING MY BOOKING

How can another passenger in my booking submit payments?

Guests must have a user account in order to submit additional payments. Please see the other questions in this section for more information on inviting a guest to create a user account.

How late can I add passenger details for a “TBA Guest” on my booking?

Adding passengers to our JoCo Cruise passenger manifest is a manual process that involves a lengthy turnaround time (up to 3-4 weeks) for said passengers to receive booking numbers from Holland America. (Any passenger requires a HAL booking number in order to check-in online and to pre-purchase onboard reservations, shore excursions, and other amenities.)

As such, you need to convert any “TBA guests” to actual named passengers by one month prior to sailing—that is, no later than January 31, 2025.

Please see our FAQ for full information on how to add your guest details to your reservation, see the FAQ How do I change a “TBA Guest” on my reservation into a real passenger?

Note that you will still be liable for the retail cost of the number of berths on your booking if you sail with your “TBA Guest” berth unfilled. Your booking will be subject to any applicable change fess or cancellation fees. Please see our berth cancellation fees and policies for further details.

Can I “downgrade” my booking (e.g., book a Verandah cabin now, then switch to an Interior later)?

“Downgrading” a booking is possible, pending availability. However, booking downgrade requests submitted on or after April 30, 2024 will be subject to a $300 Administrative Fee, except for those bookings added to the wait list before this date. Downgraded bookings will lose any applicable Early Booking Discount, and any applicable Pay in Full Discount will be recalculated based on the new cabin cost.

Am I allowed to make changes to my booking—add/drop passengers, change passenger names, or transfer my booking to someone else?

Unless and until JoCo Cruise 2025 is sold out, you may make the following changes as desired, subject to the below fees and deadlines (beyond any additional costs for cabin category upgrades and/or additional occupancy). Additional/revised fees may be incurred for any or all of the below changes once JoCo Cruise 2025 reaches sellout.

  • Upgrade to a higher category cabin (e.g., from an Interior to a Verandah): no fee
  • Add a new berth to an existing booking (e.g., go from single occupancy to double occupancy): no fee. To add a berth to an existing booking, email .
    • As JoCo Cruise 2025 approaches 100% occupancy, attendees wishing to add berths will need to join a Berth Additions Wait List, and will be notified if/when berths may be added.
    • After we have reached 100% occupancy, you may still be able to add berths to your booking, but an additional $350 fee per berth may be required, and only as capacity is available. We will provide advance notice as to when said Wait List and fees will be implemented.
  • Passenger changes (name changes to existing berths):
    • Changes made through April 30, 2024: $25 per change
    • Changes made from May 1, 2024 through February 14, 2025: $100 per change
    • Changes made on February 15, 2025 and after: no passenger changes permitted
    • The above are not applicable to a booking’s primary contact—that is, the person designated  as “primary contact” during the booking process, and who is responsible for the booking. See below for primary contact change/transfer policy
  • Cancel a berth/berths:
    • Changes made through April 30, 2024: $25 per dropped berth
    • Changes made from May 1, 2024 through December 8, 2024: $250 per dropped berth
    • Changes made from December 9, 2024 through February 14, 2025: $500 per dropped berth
    • Total cost of booking and applicable discounts will be adjusted to reflect the new number of berths in the booking
    • New total cost plus dropped berth fee will not exceed your original booking cost (i.e. you will not pay more than the original cost of your booking should you drop a berth(s))
    • On or after February 15, 2025, you may still drop a berth if you choose, but the total cost of your booking will not be adjusted—i.e., your booking’s cost will not be reduced for any berths dropped on or after that date
  • Transfer your booking to a different primary contact (i.e.,the person designated  as “primary contact” during the booking process, and who is responsible for the booking):
    • Through December 8, 2024: $300 Administrative Fee
    • December 9, 2024 through January 31, 2025: $600 Administrative Fee
    • February 1, 2025 through February 14, 2025: $1,500 Administrative Fee
    • February 15, 2025 or later: No primary contact transfers
    • Booking transfers involving other existing JoCo Cruise passengers may be subject to any applicable booking cancellation, berth cancellation, passenger change and/or primary contact transfer fees.
      • Example #1:  Jane Doe and John Doe are booked in a VF stateroom; Richard Roe transfers his H stateroom booking to Jane; Jane and John move to the H stateroom. This results in a cancellation of John & Jane’s VF booking (because there is nobody remaining in that booking), which will be subject to any applicable booking cancellation fees.
      • Example #2:  Jane Doe and John Doe are booked in a VF stateroom, for which Jane is the primary contact; Richard Roe transfers his H stateroom booking to Jane; Jane moves to the H stateroom, John remains in the VF stateroom as single-occupancy. The VF booking drops a berth (from double-occupancy to single-occupancy), and John becomes the new primary contact for the VF stateroom booking, and will be subject to any applicable berth cancellation and primary transfer fees.
      • Example #3:  John and Jane Doe are in a double-occupancy booking, and John is the primary contact. John has to cancel for some reason; Jane finds a new passenger (Richard Roe) to take John’s place. Either Jane or Richard must become the new primary contact for the cabin, and one passenger name is changed; they are subject to any applicable passenger change and primary contact transfer fees.

If you have any questions regarding what fees your transaction may be subject to, email [email protected].

NOTE: If changing your booking’s occupancy (i.e., adding or canceling berths), your booking’s remaining balance will be revised to the rate for that cabin’s new occupancy. (e.g., if going from two passengers to one, the cabin’s price will be based on its single occupancy rate, not just “half of double occupancy”)

IMPORTANT: There are no applicable change fees when adding “real” passenger information for an existing “TBA guest” berth (i.e., if you initially paid for a multi-passenger cabin but didn’t have all the passenger information at the time of booking).

Why isn’t my guest getting emails about our booking?

Only guests who have been invited to the user account system AND accepted that invitation, filling out all their information, receive emails from our booking software.

If your guest does not have their own user account, they will not receive our emails.

Please see the other questions in this section for details on inviting a guest to create their own account and join your booking.

Something in my Booking Charges list doesn’t look correct. (i.e. a discount is missing, I’m billed for the wrong cabin type, etc.). What should I do?

Email us at [email protected] and let us know what is incorrect and we’ll do our best to help!

I’m trying to connect my user account from many years ago and it’s not working! Help!

User accounts from JoCo Cruise 2015 and beyond have been imported. For technical reasons, accounts from 2014 and before should be recreated. Please write to us if you are having any trouble!

How can I delete a passenger from my reservation?

Email us at [email protected], and let us know that you would like to delete a passenger from your booking. We will delete your cabin-mate’s reservation and recalculate your booking’s price accordingly. NOTE: cancellation or change fees may apply.

How can I make a payment towards my booking?

Once logged into your JoCo Cruise User Account, you’ll be able to see your account’s payment history and instructions for submitting payments in the “Billing & Payments” tab of your account.

I have received my user invitation link—how do I fill out my information?

Click the link in your email, which will take you to a page where you can login. If you already have an existing login from a previous JoCo Cruise, log in with that account; your old user account will then be linked to the new booking. If you do not have a JoCo Cruise user account, please create a new account.

Once logged in, you will be asked to fill out any information that’s missing from your passenger record. If you wish to edit your existing information, click the “Edit” button next to your name and you will be taken to a page where you can edit your personal information.

Note: once a passenger’s information has been entered—whether by you or by them—some fields may be locked, and may only be changed by contacting JoCo Cruise. Passenger information changes may be subject to applicable fees.

How can I resend my cabin-mate an invitation to create their own user account?

If your cabin-mate loses their invitation email or does not create their account and fill out their personal information right away and you need to send them the link again, no problem.

From within your user account, click the blue “Edit” button next to your guest’s name, and you’ll see their link waiting there for you to copy and send to them again in a personal email from yourself.

How do I invite a cabin-mate to the user account system for the first time?

From within your User Account, select via the “Passengers” tab of your Booking information (or via the “Edit” button next to the TBA guest name in question) from the dropdown the option “Invite this guest to fill out their own information”. From there, enter all requested fields as prompted/applicable.

How do I change a “TBA Guest” on my reservation into a real passenger?

For cabin mates currently listed as “TBA guest”, you can select via the “Passengers” tab of your Booking information (or via the “Edit” button next to the TBA guest name in question) from the dropdown provided to either “Invite this guest to fill out their own information” or “I’ll fill out all information for this guest.” From there, enter all requested fields as prompted/applicable.

NOTE: Once a passenger’s information has been entered—whether by you or by them—some fields may be locked, and may only be changed by contacting JoCo Cruise. Passenger information changes may be subject to applicable fees.

How do I fill out or edit a cabin-mate’s personal information from within my user account?

If your cabin-mate already has their own user account, then you cannot edit their information — your guest will have to add this information from within their own user account. Please write to us if you need to edit a guest who already has an account.

For cabin mates currently listed as “TBA guest”, you can select via the “Passengers” tab of your Booking information (or via the “Edit” button next to the TBA guest name in question) from the dropdown provided to either “Invite this guest to fill out their own information” or “I’ll fill out all information for this guest.” From there, enter all requested fields as prompted/applicable.

NOTE: Once a passenger’s information has been entered—whether by you or by them—some fields may be locked, and may only be changed by contacting JoCo Cruise. Passenger information changes may be subject to applicable fees.

How do I fill out or edit my own personal information from within my user account?

From within the user account, click the “Edit” button next to your name and you will be taken to a page where you can edit all of your personal information (i.e. Name, Birthdate, Citizenship, and more).

SHADOW CRUISE

What is the Shadow Cruise?

The Shadow Cruise is the nickname for events on JoCo Cruise that are created, organized, staffed, and run by our amazing attendees. We dedicate considerable schedule space and venues during the week to these events. Anyone booked on JoCo Cruise can submit a proposed event, including a description, duration, and if applicable, a requested time, date and/or venue. Once processed by our Shadow Master (and assuming no unexpected issues), the event will show up in online and printed cruise schedules. PLEASE NOTE: Shadow Cruise event submission does not guarantee your event’s being accepted and placed on the schedule.

A form for Shadow Cruise event submissions will be made available closer to our sailing date.

Will JoCo Cruise help me run my Shadow Cruise event?

Beyond helping you find a place for it on the ship and the schedule and helping set up any available venue tech, no. If you’re in charge of a Shadow Cruise event, you are entirely responsible for all organization, staffing, and materials necessary to make it happen. While some venues may already include things like projectors, neither JoCo Cruise nor the ship will provide materials (paper, tools, computers, peripherals, etc.) beyond what is already available in your venue, nor labor beyond requested basic room setup needs (arranging chairs, making sure applicable tech is in place and working properly, etc.). Potentially available amenities are listed on the Shadow Event Request form, which will be open for submissions closer to our sailing date.

What kind of issues could impact getting my Shadow Cruise event scheduled?

We do our best to accommodate all Shadow Cruise submissions. But we cannot guarantee being able to accommodate all requests; due to space and schedule limitations, there are a finite number of events that can be scheduled and supported.

In some (usually rare) cases, events submitted cannot be hosted by JoCo Cruise or the cruise line for other reasons. Examples include (but are not limited to): events with physical components that have a liability risk; events that require equipment unavailable on board; and events that need access to intellectual property (IP) that we do not have the rights to. Holland America has the final say over whether an event may be scheduled, and HAL and JoCo Cruise reserve the right to reject events for these or any other reasons.

Can I host a viewing party for my favorite movie/TV show/YouTube channel?

Possibly. All public screenings of existing films, TV shows and other intellectual property require a license to screen them, usually for a fee. If the license is available and requires a fee, we will notify you of that cost and you’ll be given the option to pay that fee. (JoCo Cruise and HAL will not cover license fee costs for Shadow Cruise events.)

But it’s not an event for the public! It’s for a select group of people on a cruise! We’re all friends! Aren’t license restrictions only for public display or broadcast?

Because the cruise is available to the public (i.e., anyone can book a cabin), screenings and broadcasts on board require a license. This is required by HAL, and is non-negotiable.

I’m a musician/author/artist/creator. Can I sell my music/book/art/crafts/other works during my Shadow Cruise event?

No. Our contract with the cruise line requires that all onboard sales go through their sales system, and that only JoCo Cruise merchandise and that of official performers and guests are permitted.

If you have something you want to sell, we recommend giving out contact information/business cards/flyers that let attendees know where to find your work online and/or once they get back to shore. Please note: we do not allow the leaving of said business cards and flyers “lying about” on the ship; if you have them, hand them out to people attending your Shadow Cruise event.

Can you ask [Performer X] to participate in my Shadow Cruise event?

No. As stated above, you are responsible for organizing and staffing your own event. We will not pass along requests to our performers/official guests to attend specific Shadow Cruise events. They are all made aware of the Shadow Cruise, and have access to the schedule; it’s up to them which events they wish to attend.

Can my event be scheduled in the ship’s main theater?

No. There is limited programming time available in the ship’s main theater, and that is dedicated to events on the Official Schedule. Additionally, there are contractual limits to our use of the ship’s tech staff (who are required to help run any events in the main theater), so scheduling a shadow event there during “off hours” (late at night, during port stops, etc.) is also not allowed.

Can I schedule my Shadow Cruise event for the day before or after the cruise?

You can host an event before or after the cruise, but we cannot include it on the “official” schedule. Our online schedule is dedicated solely to events that take place between the time we board and the time we disembark. If you want to host something outside of those dates, you will need to find a way to publicize it outside of the Official Schedule.

Can I give you my idea how to change the way you run something/add a new service for everyone?

You’re welcome to submit these sorts of ideas/suggestions in the survey that we send out to all passengers after the cruise.

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