Effective Dec. 1, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line bookings will automatically cancel as soon as the final payment is past due, Jan Swartz, Princess' executive vice president, said in a notice to travel agents.

In the statement, Swartz told agents that there would be "no grace periods or extensions allowed for receipt of final payment. All Electronic Fund Transfers must be submitted and payments by check must be posted by the final payment date. This final payment policy will also apply to group bookings."

In addition, new booking options will be limited to only one extension.

The new policies will be in effect for all voyages sailing March 1 and after.

Swartz said the new policy was made in response to new buying trends, as use of online tools by travel agents "has grown substantially, particularly for making payments online, as consumers have transitioned to using credit cards as their form of payment on the vast majority of bookings."

The automatic cancellation policy is being implemented, "in response to these trends, and in order to provide you with consistent and predictable final payment schedules for Princess Cruises and Cunard Line booking," Swartz said.

Swartz also noted that the lines have introduced several online tools and options for bookings and reservations that are available 24 hours per day.

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