Cruise companies are changing policies and procedures as the coronavirus outbreak has people feeling apprehensive about traveling.
As the number of cases around the world increases, government officials have urged potential travelers to take extra precautions. In response, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has implemented updated guidelines for its members to follow, including restricting passenger and crew boarding, and boosting screening procedures.
In an effort to combat softening bookings and growing concerns, many cruise lines’ cancellation penalties are still in place, though some are amending their policies.
AmaWaterways will delay its European sailing season to April 26, 2020, and its Mekong River cruises starting on March 23. The line will give guests a cruise credit equal to 115% of their fare and extras, which can be used any time before Dec. 31, 2022, or a full refund. AmaWaterways will protect commissions of all travel advisors who have clients that will opt for a future cruise credit.
Avalon Waterways is now allowing guests to change or cancel their European river cruise up to three days before departure. Cancellations will be refunded with a future cruise credit. Bookings can be moved to any other Avalon Waterways’ (or sister brands Globus, Cosmos, and Monograms) departure in 2020 or 2021 without penalty prior to final payment.
Carnival is allowing guests to switch their sailing date and receive a future cruise credit for bookings made prior to March 6 for sailings between now and May 31, 2020. For those departing between March 9 and March 31, guests may change to a future date up to three days before sailing. Guests on departures between April 1 and May 31 may move to a future date by March 31.
Crystal Cruises’ new policy applies to cancellations made now through Apr. 30, 2020. For cancellations made on or before 31 days prior to departure date, a refund will be issued in the form of a future cruise payment valid on ocean, river, yacht and expedition voyages embarking on or before Dec. 31, 2021. If a cancellation is made 30 days or less prior to departure date, standard cancellation penalties apply. Additionally, standard cancellation policies apply to add-ons such as air, hotel and insurance.
Cunard sailings departing before Aug. 31, 2020 can be rescheduled or canceled up to 48-hours prior to sailing. The credit can be used on bookings to the end of 2021 and can be redeemed against any Cunard voyage sailing until the end of March 2022.
Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures for its four ships starting Saturday through the end of the month. Impacted guests will get a future cruise credit or a full refund. Disney Cruise Line will protect travel advisor commissions for those reservations that were on the books and paid in full at the time of cancellation, and will pay full commission on reservations that are the result of the guest selecting the future cruise credit option.
Holland America Line guests can cancel their cruise or Alaska Land+Sea Journey departing through May 31, 2020. Any cancellation will receive a Future Cruise Credit for the amount of the paid fare which can be used for another cruise in 2020 or 2021, and must be booked by Dec. 31, 2020. Cancellations must be made with a minimum of 72 hours in advance of departure date. Guests booked between now and March 9, 2020 may also cancel under this new policy despite being within 72 hours.
Hurtigruten is allowing guests to change their bookings to any cruise until the summer of 2021.
MSC Cruises’ is adopting a new 48-hour cancellation policy for all sailings on or before July 31, 2020 and receive a 100% future cruise credit to use for any future sailing departing on or before Dec. 31, 2021.
Norwegian is allowing guests who book a sailing through Sept. 30, 2020 to cancel their trip up to 48-hours beforehand and receive a 100% future cruise credit with its ‘Peace of Mind’ cancellation policy. Passengers may also delay final payments on June and July voyages. Norwegian is also relaxing its name change policy for up to 45 days before sailing.
Oceania Cruises announced a new Traveler’s Assurance booking policy for all existing and new bookings made by April 30, 2020 for any voyages departing between March 10 and Sept. 30, 2020. Guests may cancel up to 48 hours prior to cruise departure and will receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid.
Paul Gauguin Cruises is amending its final payment policy for June and July 2020 voyages aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin. Final payment will now be due 60 days prior to the sailing date for all June and July 2020 voyages.
Ponant will allow guests to cancel sailings up to 90 days after confirmation and receive a full refund for new bookings. Final payments will also be allowed 30 days closer to sailing date for new bookings on 2020 departures.
Princess Cruises will suspend operations ships for two months. Travel advisor commissions for canceled cruises that were paid in full will be protected. Guests can either get a future cruise credit or cash refund.
Seabourn’s new “Book with Confidence” policy allows bookings made between Mar. 2 and Apr. 30, 2020, for sailings departing Apr. 1 through Oct. 15, to be canceled up to 30 days prior to departure. Guests will receive a future cruise credit that must be used within 90 days for cruises departing before Dec. 31, 2021.
Sea Cloud cruises departing in 2020 booked now until May 31, 2020 can be cancelled free of charge, up until one month prior to the departure date.
Silversea voyages departing before July 31, 2020 may be canceled as late as 48 hours prior to sailing with a Future Cruise Credit. For all sailings departing after July 31 until December 31, 2020, a 30-day prior to sailing cash cancellation option will be in place. Silversea is protecting travel agent commission on bookings canceled between Mar. 9 and July 31.
Regent Seven Seas guests on sailings scheduled from March 10 through Sept.30, 2020, booked by April 30, 2020, may cancel up to 48-hours prior to sailing and receive a 100% future cruise credit. Regent is also deferring the final payment for all sailings where the final payment is due within the next 30 days, to 60 days before sailing.
Riviera River Cruises deposit of $400 will be fully refundable up to 60 days after being made. If booking is canceled after 60 days, the deposit will be transferred to a future 2020 departure. For clients who have deposited or fully paid, any 2020 booking can be canceled with 24 hours’ notice and will be credited to a future 2020 cruise. If the future cruise costs more, clients will pay the difference.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is now allowing guests on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea to cancel up to 48-hours before a sailing with a full future cruise credit refund, for departures on or before July 31, 2020.
Uniworld is halting operations for all its European sailings until at least April 23, 2020. Guests affected may reschedule to any 2020 or 2021 sailing or take a future cruise credit eligible to be used over the next 24 months.
Viking River Cruise will suspend its river and ocean cruise operations until May 1, 2020. All guests will receive a 125% future cruise credit that can be used over the next 24 months.
Virgin Voyages is postponing the inaugural season of Scarlet Lady until July 15, with the Maiden Voyage now taking place on August 7, 2020. Guests can receive 200% in a future cruise credit, which can be applied to another sailing, and up to $500 in onboard credit by re-booking before June 30, 2020. If a traveler prefers to get a refund, Virgin Voyages will issue one plus offer a 25% Future Voyage Credit on the value paid to use for a future booking.
Windstar is suspending operations through April 30, 2020. Guests on cancelled sailings the choice of a cruise credit worth 125% all monies paid, available to use within 24 months, or alternately, they can request a full refund. It is also protecting travel agent commission on all of the impacted itineraries.