New standby list lets Vancouverites cruise for less than $70 per day

Metro Vancouver residents with a flexible schedule could take advantage of a new standby program offered by cruise operator Holland America Line.

In a move to fill cabins when guests cancel last minute, Holland America recently launched its Standby List Program. Under this program, individuals who live near ports can join a cruise for less than $70 CAD per day, not including taxes and fees.

“With ships about to return to Vancouver, it’s a great time for flexible travellers to look into the program to book their dream vacation to Alaska (or beyond),” Adrienne Carter, public relations specialist for Holland America, said in an email.

Standby list members can select their preferred cruise and pay upfront to be added to its standby list. The price is $49 USD per day — so the total cost will depend on the length of the selected cruise.

One week to 48 hours before the cruise leaves, Holland America reviews the standby list. If there’s space, some people on the standby list will be told to pack their bags for a heavily discounted cruise experience.

If the cruise is full and there’s no room, a guest will be refunded in full.

Getting notified you’re going on a cruise 48 hours before it leaves may be too hectic for some, but retirees or those with flexible schedules may be able to take advantage of the discounted price.

Standby guests can’t select their cabin in advance—they’ll be given an interior or balcony cabin depending on availability. One key bonus, though, is that single standby guests won’t be charged a double-capacity premium. And if they’re travelling in a group, the third and fourth guests travel free.

The first cruise that’s accepting standby passengers leaves from Vancouver on April 27. It’s a four-day Pacific Northwest cruise, though journeys titled Alaskan Explorer and Inside Passage also accept standby list bookings.

Holland America launched the standby list concept in August 2023, and this month, cruises leaving from Vancouver will be included in the program for the first time.

Would you drop everything to head out on a discounted cruise at the last minute? Let us know in the comments.