Renting with Cruise America Review

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If this is your first time visiting our page, welcome! This post was inspired by our 18-day honeymoon which was spent visiting 6 National Parks while in a Cruise America RV… if you are new, go to our page to read all about our trip. Spending 18 days in an RV, driving just over 2,500 miles, was an amazing experience and we are here to give you all the information you need if you are considering renting with Cruise America. *Cruise Canada is also an option but we are unsure if any of the information below is the same for both.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

As stated on their website- Take the comfort of home with you next time you travel by renting an RV from Cruise America. The stress-free convenience of vacationing with your room on your back affords families and friends the opportunity to travel in comfort and style, while allowing time for a great opportunity to grow closer as you travel to and from your destination. With Cruise America, the journey is a rich part of the reward.

For us– When looking for an RV rental company, Cruise America seemed to offer all the things we were looking for: one-way travel options, easily accessible locations for pick-up and drop off, multiple rental options, friendly staff, and the freedom. Cruise America also offers free insurance and 24-hour service which was a plus.

LOCATIONS

Cruise America has 129 pick-up and drop off locations spanning the United States and Canada. Click HERE and scroll to the very bottom of the page to see a list of their locations.

For us- When picking the start and end destination for our trip, we made sure there was an airport and a pick-up/drop off location relatively close to each other; we used Lyft to get from the airport to the Cruise America location and back (San Jose and Salt Lake City airport). Do your research before, there was another airport just as close in California but the flights were a lot more expensive.

TYPES OF RVs

There are 4 types of RVs you can choose from when completing your booking process (click HERE for an overview of all the RVs and what is included or to look at each one separately/take a 360 video view):

Large RV- 7 passenger

Standard RV- 5 passenger

Compact RV- 3 passenger

Truck Camper- 2-3 passengers

For us: Greg and I kept going back and forth between renting the compact RV and the truck camper. Ultimately, because we booked a one-way trip, the compact RV was what we got “approved” for. In the end, we were very happy with what we had; it was just the right amount of space we needed without feeling like we were bumping into each other the entire time. We slept in the upper bed and store our suitcases under the kitchen table so they were never in the way. One other bonus of the compact RV compared to the truck camper was that I could easily get up and grab a snack/go to the bathroom while Greg was driving- with the truck camper you would have to pull over.

  • The compact RV and truck camper will fit in a regular size parking spot. All others will need to be parked in an RV spot.

BOOKING

After doing your research, you have the option of booking online or on the phone. If you are wanting to reserve a one-way trip, you must call for your reservation.  

For us- The booking process was stressful, frustrating, and difficult. We spent a few weeks deciding on where we wanted to go on our honeymoon, researching fights, and beginning to plan our trip before contacting Cruise America to actually book… when we did, and submitted our reservation, it was declined… again and again! We were told one-way trips are tricky because they must keep specific inventory of their RVs in certain locations. We spent so much time e mailing back and forth offering other pick-up and drop off locations (redoing our trip each time) only for it to be declined. In the end, I stopped e mailing the original staff member we were working with, contacted another member, told him to pick 2 locations for us (we would plan a trip around where he could get approval), and we were able to book that same day (he got us approval to pick up in San Jose/Newark, California and to drop off in Salt Lake City, Utah because he knew we wanted to visit the National Parks)! So, I am not sure if we were paired with the second staff member in the first place if we would have been successful but we will never know… it all worked out in the end. I have no problem sending his contact information if you would like to book with him from the start, he was great.

* You are allowed to cross the boarder of the US and Canada but you cannot pick up in 1 country and drop off in another, we tried as we wanted to visit Banff National Park.

CANCELLATION POLICY

If for any reason you need to cancel your reservation, call 1-800-327-7799 and provide your confirmation number. You may cancel your reservation up to 7 days prior to the pick-up date and you will be refunded your reservation down payment. With less notice and with all one-way reservations, you will forfeit your reservation down payment.

DEALS

Cruise America offers many deals, but unfortunately, as we were looking, none of them applied to us. Examples of their deals that were available during the time this post was written are as followed:

One-way specials: One-way trips happen all the time, just like we did, and the RVs need to get back to their original location somehow. Cruise America has special reservations such as the one below. If this works for you, you can receive a discount… just have the RV to its destination by the return date.

Half Price Miles: Check their website and see what is offered for half-price miles. Bookers can receive 50% off rentals between September 7 and December 31, 2019 using the discount code (FRDM). *Not combinable with any other discount or promotional offer, and applied to new reservations only. Not available on one-way rentals. The offer may be withdrawn at any time.

Enjoying a Free Night: This special offer applies to any size motorhome for rentals of 4 nights or longer from any North America RV Rental Centers departing September 7 to December 31, 2019. To make a reservation call our reservation center or reserve online using the discount code (FRD31). *Maximum of 1 night free. This special offer is applied to new reservations only and is not combinable with any other specials or promotional rates and may be withdrawn at any time. One-way rentals are not available with this special.

Alaska- 300 Miles Free: This special offer applied to any size motorhome from Anchorage AK Rental Center returning by October 15, 2019. Call to make a reservation or book online using the discount code FRD300. *Not combinable with any other discount or promotional offer and applies to new reservations only. Not available for one-way rentals. This offer may be withdrawn at any time.

PRICING

To check specific pricing or obtain a quote, visit their website and put in the appropriate information for your trip. From there, you will be able to select the RV of your choice and select add on options as you desire- click Next and that’s it, you have your quote! If you have questions click the online chat or call their number 24/7.  

For us- As this blog is meant to help others, I have no problem sharing what we spent on the RV.

We chose to add the kitchen kit, we believe this was a good add on for the price (plates, cups, bowls, utensils, pots, pans, strainer, cutting board, broom).

We chose to pass on the other add on options (personal kit for bedding, zero deductible plan), we stopped at Wal-Mart before we began our trip- this ended up saving us money.

We were charged $400.00 for a one-way rental.

We estimated our trip would be 2,800 miles at .35 cents a mile, we only drove 2,500 miles so we were refunded $105.00.

We were refunded our $500.00 security deposit.

Our total cost for the RV was- $3,368.13. A $300.00 deposit is required when you make your reservation and will be applied towards your fees. All other fees are due at the time of pick-up.

AFTER YOU BOOK/BEFORE YOUR TRIP

After you book, a confirmation e mail will be sent with all your information. We recommend you print this out and keep it with you during your trip.

Before your trip, Cruise America will contact you and send you videos you must watch before you pick-up your RV. They were very educational and answered questions we knew we would have. We also referred back to these videos during the trip when we could not figure out how to turn the shower on the first day.

RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST

As stated above, when booking, you have the option of adding on to your rental. Below is a recommended shopping/packing list if you do not choose ANY of the add on options or bring anything from home. We brought some items with us from home but made a stop at Wal-Mart as soon as we picked up the RV and saved a ton of money by doing this.

Plates, cups, bowls, utensils, pots and pans, dish soap, dishwashing sponge, napkins, paper towels, pillows, blankets, fitted sheet, top sheet, memory foam mattress topper (click HERE to see the one we purchased which was great for our 18 days), laundry detergent, bath towels (we bought 3, 2 for us and 1 for the floor as you exit the shower), washcloths, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, matches, phone chargers, car invertor (HERE this was great for nights we did not have electric hookup and could charge our phones and camera- it worked while the RV was not running), camera, and clothes .

You will also need to buy food but don’t buy too much… most places we stopped at had a general store where we could buy additional food as needed. We did have extra unopened food in the end we just gave to a neighbor.

For us- We packed liquids from home such as dish soap, detergent, body wash, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, mouth wash, etc. in THESE so we did not have to buy bigger bottles once we flew out, and it also saved room!

PICKING UP

A few weeks before your trip you will have to call to select your pick-up time slot. Pick-up times are Monday through Friday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Saturday pick-up times vary by locations with some closing as early as 12:00pm. No available pick up times on Sunday so plan accordingly.

For us- Picking up our RV was so much fun because we knew what we were in for the next 18 days. The process took about an hour because they will walk through the RV with you and go over everything including how to dump waste, hook up electric, hook up/refill water, etc. The staff will complete an inspection and write down everything they see so you are not charged upon your return… if you see something, let them know! There was a very small crack on our windshield from a rock we let them know about so we did not get charged for it upon delivery.

Download the Cruise America app before beginning your vacation.

DROPPING OFF

RV return times are between 9:00am and 11:00am, late charges are automatically applied starting after 11:00am.

Additional fees may be added during drop off if you do not refill the propane tank, do not empty your water, or if there is damage to the RV.

For us- Dropping off was a sad moment as it meant out trip of a lifetime was ending. When you drop off, they will walk through your RV and sign off if everything looks how it did when you picked it up. This process took about an hour as well so plan ahead if you have a flight to catch. We arrived at 9:00am and by 10:00am there was a line and people had to wait for their RVs to get inspected.

If you have extra food or items you would like to donate, you can do this at any of their locations for people just beginning their trip.

PURCHASING

Cruise America also sells their used RVs, check out their website for more information.

OUR EXPERIENCE

We had an amazing experience with this company and would definitely book again, if we don’t buy our own RV in the meantime. Cruise America was hands down the most common RV rental company we saw during our 2,800 miles on the road- it was fun waving to others while driving by and even talking to other renters.

If you have any other specific questions that we did not cover don’t hesitate to reach out. We learned a lot while spending 18 days in the RV!

7 comments

  1. We started with a cruise America RV rental 8 years ago. Now we own a 40 ft. Diesel Pusher and plan on traveling full time in a few years. It was a great experience for us as well as a life changing one.

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      1. Take your time and choose carefully. Make sure you get mostly everything you are looking for and that it will be big enough in the future as well. It will save you a lot of time and money.

        Like

      2. For class A RV’s a diesel pusher doesn’t have wind issues but a gas rv will. If you go gas I would probably consider upgrading the shocks and adding stabilizers to help with that. Otherwise it’s like driving a wind sail every time a big rig goes by or the wind blows. Good luck in your search.

        Liked by 1 person

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