Formulaically Anticipated Quandaries…
What The Heck?
What is this “JoCo Cruise” thing?
What is the itinerary for 2020?
The JoCo Cruise 2020 itinerary is as follows:
- Sat 3/7 (Day 1): Fort Lauderdale (depart 5 pm)
- Sun. 3/8 (Day 2): Half Moon Cay (8 am – 5 pm)
- Mon. 3/9 (Day 3): At Sea
- Tue. 3/10 (Day 4): Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (10 am – 1 am)
- Wed. 3/11 (Day 5): At Sea
- Thu. 3/12 (Day 6): Grand Turk (8 am – 1 am)
- Fri. 3/13 (Day 7): At Sea
- Sat. 3/14 (Day 8): Return to Fort Lauderdale (7 am)
Where will JoCo Cruise sail in 2020?
We’re SUPER excited about our 2020 itinerary, which features two new-to-JoCo Cruise destinations:
- Sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida again
- Returning to Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s pristine beach island
- Visiting Santo Domingo (new to us!), a beautiful and historic town
- Visiting Grand Turk (new to us!), a low-key Caribbean jem feat. Mercury astronaut John Glenn
What can you tell me about the Nieuw Amsterdam?
It’s the slightly bigger sister of the Oosterdam, which we sailed in 2018 and 2019. 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.
- It’s deployed in the right ocean for us.
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, throughout the ship, and during a land concert held at one of our port stops
- 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; 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
Do we have the whole ship?
Yes! For the fourth consecutive year, we’re chartering an entire ship, 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 Club HAL activity centers (it’s segmented for different age groups.) 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 7, 2020) 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.
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, 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; Blackbox has handled 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 custerian 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).
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” 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, select any of our 2020 destination countries (Bahamas, the United States, or the British Virgin Islands) for 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.)
What are your Terms & Conditions?
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@example.com.
- Bookings made before January 1, 2020 may be cancelled within 7 days of original booking with no cancellation fees.
- Bookings made on or after January 1, 2020 may be cancelled within 24 hours of original booking with no cancellation fees.
Outside of the above “penalty-free” grace periods, cancellation fees are assessed per the following schedule:
- Cancellation on or before April 30th, 2019: Full refund
- Cancellation from May 1 through July 31, 2019: $500 per person
- Cancellation from August 1, 2019 through January 17, 2020: 50% of the total booking price
- Cancellation on or after January 18, 2020: 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 2020.
In case of cancellation, any applicable refund amounts due may be remitted either by check or to your PayPal account, at the discretion of JoCo Cruise. Note that for check refunds we may require documentation of your current address.
Are accessible staterooms available for people with disabilities?
Yes. JoCo Cruise and Holland America Line are committed to providing safe, easy, and accessible accommodations for all persons with disabilities, to the extent feasible.
Accessible cabins exist (subject to availability) for the following categories: SA*, SY*, V, VA, VB, C, D, H, I, J, K*
Staterooms marked with a * above (SA, SY and K) can accommodate up to three passengers (pending availability); all other categories can accommodate up to two. There are no accessible staterooms on the Nieuw Amsterdam that can accommodate four passengers.
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.
When going through the JoCo Cruise Booking process, on the “Checkout” screen under “Other Info,” please indicate your request for an accessible stateroom and a general description of your needs.
Please note that, in Wheelchair Accessible staterooms on the Nieuw Amsterdam, stateroom entry doors and bathroom doors both measure 32 inches wide.
What is the charge for single-occupancy of a cabin?
All cabins are charged at double occupancy rates, but single-occupancy cruisers received $240 off of the double-occupancy total. For specific cabin categories see the JoCo Cruise 2020 Pricing Table, and the correct total will appear automatically when you book.
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.
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 2020, 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 2020, 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.
How and when can I book my cruise?
Early booking date for JoCo Cruise 2020 is December 6, 2019, and you can book at the Booking page.
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, so you can only book JoCo Cruise 2020 at jococruise.com. OR…you can get hired by Holland America Line and hope they deploy you on the Nieuw Amsterdam from March 7-14, 2020.
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 2020. But we do offer our own discounts.
What’s included in the JoCo Cruise 2020 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.
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 $60 per day per person (total of $420 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.
Are there any discounts available?
Yes! The JoCo Cruise 2020 Pricing page has a complete list of available discounts.
Are there discounted rates available for children and infants?
If they are the 3rd or 4th person in a cabin, Infants and Children under the age of 3 (as of our sailing date of March 7, 2020) are eligible for a discount of $400 per child, and minors between the ages of 3 and 12 will be eligible for a $250 discount. Discount will be applied towards the total balance owed on the given booking, automatically during the JoCo Cruise 2020 booking process if indicated on the first booking page.
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.
Can I attend only one/a few events—or no events, just be on the ship—at a discounted rate?
Nope. JoCo Cruise is a package deal, indivisible, and justice for all.
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 eligible Early Booking and Returning Monkey discounts. Pay In Full discount will also be retained, but will NOT be adjusted to reflect the cost of your new cabin.
Where can I go to find roommates?
We have set up JoCo Cruise 2020 Roommate-seekers Listserv specifically for anyone seeking roommates for JoCo Cruise 2020. This will be your most direct method for searching for cabin mates. The link above will walk you through the sign-up process. (NOTE: Currently, Hotmail accounts may not work properly with the listserv; we are working on a solution to this problem.)
Notices may also be posted in the JoCo Cruise 2020 Facebook group (The former is a closed group, you’ll need to request access before viewing content.)
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.
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.
After you complete the booking you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link that will let you or anyone else make additional payments against that booking. Your cabin will remain reserved while you coordinate everyone’s payments, 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 create their own JoCo Cruise User Account. Via these accounts, individual passengers 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
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. You can visit HAL’s website for complete information regarding their various accessibility and special needs options, including info on accessible staterooms.
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.
During JoCo Cruise, if anyone encounters any issues regarding accessibility, we will work with HAL to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Also, please see our FAQ item re: medical, dietary and other special needs for further information.
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.
I’M BOOKED! NOW WHAT?
The JoCo Cruise Code of Conduct
Be excellent to each other. Treat your fellow Sea Monkeys with kindness and respect. This is an enthusiastic and supportive community, and it is all of our responsibility to maintain it. Invite people into your conversations and activities; be supportive when your fellow Sea Monkeys try new things (or choose not to); participate, connect, help out. Events like these can feel lonely and intimidating when you’re new and don’t know anybody. Be welcoming, inclusive and friendly, and look out for one another!
Don’t harass others. We are not a community that tolerates harassment. This includes (but isn’t limited to): any kind of physical, verbal, or psychological abuse; threats, intimidation, and bullying; slurs about race, gender, sexuality or ability; 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 keep doing it, that’s harassment. We’re all responsible for making sure this doesn’t occur in our community.
Be excellent to the ship’s staff and anyone you encounter at a port of call. Remember that we share this community with others. Please don’t be the person who makes the Sea Monkeys look bad to the HAL staff and/or the locals.
Don’t steal things. Obviously.
Don’t use illegal substances or bring them onboard. No exceptions.
We’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help addressing an issue. If the matter is related to the ship and its operations, or the health or physical well-being of passengers and/or crew, we must defer to the Oosterdam management. The ship’s management, the officers, and crew are all ultimately responsible for the safety and well-being of every person on board. We and they are all doing our best to ensure you enjoy your experience and that the values of our community are upheld.
Our experience and expectation is that JoCo Cruisers act responsibly and look after one another. But in the event of a breach of this Code of Conduct, we reserve 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 Monkey or JoCo Cruise staff member; alternately, you can submit a Code of Conduct Violation Report form at the JoCo Cruise Info Desk. (You may submit this report anonymously if you prefer.) You can also dial 74701 from any ship’s phone. Off-ship, you can email email@example.com. JoCo Cruise will make every effort to protect the privacy of anyone reporting a violation.
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), and will receive a badge or similar to indicate their 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!
- There will also be a festival-style land concert at one of the ports of call, which will have enough capacity for everyone to attended at the same time.
Which dinner seating will I get?
As described above, 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 2020, 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.
What happens if I lose my badge/lanyard/talisman?
To the brig with you! And by “brig” we mean “find a Helper Monkey, and they’ll contact management to get you a replacement.” Easy-peasy.
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.
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.
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 taco bar, walking the same corridors, lounging by the same pools, and generally hanging out on the same ship for a week. So it’s very likely you’ll have some sort of interaction with at least some of them.
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.
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 daily schedule aboard the ship, and are often scheduled more spontaneously. So keep an eye out.
Finally, if you’re nervous about approaching [Famous Person Z], relax—we know a fool-proof method that is always welcome.
- Approach at an appropriate time (e.g. not when they’ve just taken a big bite of Corn Flakes at breakfast with their family)
- Make eye contact and say “Hi, my name is [your name]*, I love what you do, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
- That’s it! Some official guests will be chatty, others less so—just like all people. But for certain they all appreciate kind words.
*substitute your actual name here; do NOT say the phrase “your name” (seriously; they will have no idea why you’re saying it)
Will there be official autograph sessions? If not, is it cool to ask for autographs?
We don’t hold a dedicated, ship-wide autograph session for all the performers and guests. We value the relaxed, “just hanging out together” vibe that has evolved with our event, and a con-style “two hours in line for twenty seconds of interaction, move along, move along” autograph event doesn’t fit that vibe.
Despite some convention-style trappings, we prefer to think of JoCo Cruise as more like Nerd Summer Camp. And have you ever seen an autograph session at summer camp*? But it’s absolutely fine to ask any of the performers for an autograph when they’re in public areas and not clearly otherwise occupied (e.g., not while eating, having “family time,” etc.).
That said, some of our guests do elect to hold one or more autograph sessions while on board; these generally happen in the last couple days of the cruise, and will be listed in our online and printed schedules.
*besides at Lake Wissahickon Autograph-Collecting Camp; that doesn’t count.
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.
What is your smoking policy?
Smoking of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars and pipes), e-cigarettes and vaping are permitted in the Sea View Bar area (Deck 9, aft), starboard 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.
Will I be able to access the internet?
Really? You’re saying that an entire cruise, PLUS several seaside paradise destinations, PLUS star-addled entertainment, PLUS tabletop gaming and special activities, PLUS the Shadow Cruise aren’t enough for you? What kind of person ARE you, anyway?
Oh, right; you’re a nerd.
And we are too. So of COURSE there will be internet access, in the form of WiFi that’s 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. It’s also not terribly fast, especially compared to broadband. Details for this sailing will be announced as soon as they are available.
You may also opt for traditional voice and data (charged per MB) roaming through your carrier. This is an expensive option, but it is available.
Can I use the cruise artwork/logos for my own project/onboard event?
We encourage creativity and “making new things” amongst the Sea Monkey community. As such, our logo/artwork (specifically, the JoCo Cruise “script logo”, “front facing ship” and “ship profile” images) are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. Use of any other elements or artwork from any current or previous JoCo Cruise merchandise (e.g., t-shirt art, poster designs, etc.) is prohibited.
PLEASE NOTE: we also generally wish to avoid confusion over what things are “official” JoCo Cruise items and which are not. As such, we ask that any of the above artwork be used strictly for small-scale/personal use, and not be “mass-produced” items (e.g., t-shirts for 20+ people, buttons to be handed out to everyone, etc.)
JoCo Cruise artwork and logos may not be used for any commercial purpose (i.e., you can’t use our art on apparel or items that you are selling, even at cost).
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 there be an “official” Sea Monkey hotel (a.k.a. “JoCoTel”) with special Sea Monkey rates?
Short answer: regrettably, no. Longer answer: in past 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 for 2020.
I’ve had unexpected financial issues (lost job, health issues, unexpected expenses, etc.); can you extend payment deadlines and/or waive my cancellation fee?
We understand that unexpected circumstances may arise, and are sympathetic to everyone’s situation.
That said, we cannot make exceptions to our payment schedule or cancellation fees. For anyone who wants to guard against the possibility of sudden financial issues jeopardizing their trip, we strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance—specifically, a policy that covers such situations.
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.
- In the coming weeks/months, we’ll provide detailed and and helpful information for planning ahead for the 2020 JoCo Cruise. If you need to see options in the meantime, The 2019 Pre-Cruise Landing Page (for the cruise sailing in March of 2019, not 2020!) can provide a good baseline of things to expect (the dates are different though). (NOTE: for 2020, JoCo Cruise will be unable to arrange any special pre-cruise hotel rates/rooms for our passengers.)
That said, here are a few important points:
- All members of your booking (including children) must have and bring with them a valid passport (or other acceptable documentation) that will not expire for at least 6 months after the ship returns on March 14, 2020.
- 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.
- The Nieuw Amsterdam is currently scheduled to depart from Fort Lauderdale at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, 2020. 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.
Whom should I contact if I have questions about JoCo Cruise and/or my booking?
Where can I find Official announcements/communications regarding JoCo Cruise?
When should I get into Fort Lauderdale?
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 December 6, 2018 and subject to change
What is my Holland America Booking Number?
When you initially book with us, you receive a JoCo Cruise Booking ID (starting with jc10, most likely), 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.
One or more of the passengers in my booking has a “Pending” HAL booking number. Why?
There’s a couple possibilities:
- 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.)
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 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. For each guest you’re checking in, you will need the following information:
- Full legal name
- Passport number
- 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 March 7th.
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 related FAQ item.
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, 2017-19 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.)
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 2017-2019 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.
You can look up old Mariner numbers here.
You can contact the Mariner society via web-form here.
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 Mainstage 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 $125 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 previous cruise feedback that, for a segment of attendees, the main concerts are less important to their cruise experience. Club SRO offers an option for those people, alleviates potential main theater overcrowding, and allows the greatest number of Sea Monkeys to attend and enjoy the cruise.
What shows and events does Club SRO apply to?
Club SRO applies ONLY to the daily “main concerts,” which happen most nights during the early and late dinner seatings at 5 pm and 7:30 pm. All other events and concerts held in the ship’s Main Theater and elsewhere—including the big Land Concert—are not a part of Club SRO.
How do I join Club SRO?
You may opt to be considered for Club SRO during the booking process. If after booking you decide you’d like to participate in Club SRO, you can submit an “I Want to Join Club SRO” application form once for every guest who wants to join.
NOTE: completing this form DOES NOT guarantee you membership in Club SRO; you will be contacted by the Home Office regarding your Club SRO status, and with additional information as applicable.
Separate applications must be submitted for EACH individual interested in signing up. That means that if you wanted to sign up four people in your booking, you would have to submit four applications. Guests without submitted forms will not be considered for membership in Club SRO.
Who can join Club SRO?
Anyone booking or booked on JoCo Cruise 2020 may apply to join Club SRO, but space is limited.
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.)
MANAGING MY BOOKING
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 2020 is sold out, you may make the following changes as desired, subject to the below fees and deadlines. (Additional/revised fees may be incurred for any or all of the below changes once JoCo Cruise 2020 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):
- Because JoCo Cruise 2020 is expected to be filled to 100% occupancy, the following restrictions apply to adding berths:
- To add a new berth to your cabin, you must first join the Berth Additions Wait List.
- We will contact you if inventory comes available that will satisfy your request.
- If you joined the Berth Additions Wait List on or before Monday July 8, 2019, you will be charged no additional fee if we’re able to satisfy your request (i.e. you will only pay the normal cost of the added berth(s)).
- If you joined the Berth Additions Wait List on or after Tuesday, July 9, 2019, and we are able to satisfy your request, there will be an additional $350 fee per berth added (beyond the retail cost of the added berth(s)). This fee will not be added to your account balance until the requested berth(s) is(are) added.
- While we’ll do our utmost to get everyone on board that the Sea Police will allow us, joining the Berth Additions Wait List does not guarantee that we can accommodate your berth addition request.
- Passenger changes (name changes to existing berths):
- Changes made through April 30, 2019: $25 per change
- Changes made on May 1, 2019 or after: $100 per changeThe 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, 2019: $25 per dropped berth
- Changes made on May 1, 2019 or after: $250 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))
- 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 31, 2019: $300 Administrative Fee
- January 1, 2020 or later: No primary contact transfers permitted.
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 “TBD 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).
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, bookings downgraded on or after April 30, 2019 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.
How do I log in to my user account?
Log into your user account here (add it to your bookmarks!):
I forgot the password to my user account!
How do I fill out or edit my own personal information from within my user account?
From within the user account, click the blue “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).
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.
If your cabin-mate does not already have their own user account, then click the blue “Edit” button next to their name in your user account. If you added a guest without a name (i.e. a placeholder passenger) their name will appear as “TBD guest.”
For TBD Guests: Uncheck the box that currently says “I will submit passenger details for this guest later (or invite the guest to fill out an account)”. This will allow you to either enter the guest’s information in full or click the checkbox to invite the guest to the user account system.
For Guests with data already submitted: You may check the box to invite the guest to the user account system or fill out their data in full, following the prompts onscreen.
If you choose to invite your guest to create a user account, you will be prompted to put in your guest’s name and email address. The guest will receive an email which will allow them to create a user account or link an existing user account. After this is done they will need to fill in their guest data in full.
OR…go ahead and fill out all of their personal information if you know it yourself and your guest does not want to create an account.
How do I change a “TBD Guest” on my reservation into a real passenger?
Click the blue “Edit” button next any guest on your booking that says “TBD guest.” Uncheck the box that currently says “I will submit passenger details for this guest later (or invite the guest to fill out an account).”
- Click the box that says “Please invite this guest to create a user account and fill out their own passenger details”; you’ll then be prompted to put in your guest’s name and email address; OR…
- Go ahead and fill out all of their personal information if you know it yourself and your guest does not want to create an account.
How do I invite a cabin-mate to the user account system for the first time?
From within the user account system, click the blue “Edit” button next to your guest’s name.
For TBD Guests: Uncheck the box that currently says “I will submit passenger details for this guest later (or invite the guest to fill out an account)”.
Check the box that says “Please send an invite to the following guest”. You will be prompted to enter their name and email address, and an invite will be sent to them to create a user account and fill out all of their needed information for the cruise (Name, Birthdate, Citizenship, etc.).
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.
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 blue “Edit” button next to your name and you will be taken to a page where you can edit all of your personal information (Name, Birthdate, Citizenship, etc.).
How can I make a payment towards my booking?
Once logged into your JoCo Cruise User Account, you can see your account’s payment history in the top right hand corner. In the bottom right hand corner you will see a box called “Submit a Payment”, which will tell you how much is owed at that given time.
Type in how much you would like to pay, and click “Pay $XXX now.” This will take you to Paypal, where you can either log into your existing Paypal account, or you can click the gray “Pay with credit or debit card” box to pay with your card outside of any existing Paypal account. Complete the payment, and you’re done!
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 can I add a passenger to my reservation?
See our “Am I allowed to make changes to my booking?” FAQ for complete info re: adding berths to an existing reservation.
How can I delete a passenger from my reservation?
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what is incorrect and we’ll do our best to help!
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.