Luxury cruise lines are continuing to adapt their cancellation and change policies due to the evolving coronavirus situation. Most recently, The U.S. State Department changed its travel advisory for COVID-19 precautions, saying, “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship.” Representatives from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and major cruise lines also met with Vice President Mike Pence and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to coordinate the cruise industry’s response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Silversea, Azamara and Celebrity Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. cruise brands—Azamara, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International—as well as Silversea (in which the company owns a 67 percent stake) have adopted the new “Cruise with Confidence” policy, detailed further by our sister publication Travel Agent. Guests booked on a cruise departing prior to July 31, 2020, can cancel up to 48 hours before sailing and receive a full cruise credit to use on any future sailing of the guest’s choice in 2020 or 2021. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.
Holland America Line
Guests booked on a Holland America Line cruise or Alaska Land+Sea Journey through May 31, 2020, can cancel and receive a future cruise credit for the amount of the paid fare which can be used for another cruise in 2020 or 2021. The FCC must be booked by December 31, 2020, and the cancellation must be made with a minimum of 72 hours in advance of departure date but no later than March 31, 2020. However, guests booked between now and March 9, 2020 may also cancel under this new policy despite being within 72 hours.
For those who choose to keep their cruise plans on departures through May 31, 2020, an Onboard Spending Credit of $200 per stateroom/$100 per person for voyages longer than seven days and $100 per stateroom/$50 per person for voyages less than six days will be automatically applied to their shipboard account.
Additionally, guests who make a new booking by April 30, 2020, for itineraries that depart on or before October 15, 2020, can cancel for any reason and receive a future cruise credit in the amount of any cancellation fees applied, so long as they cancel up to 30 days before departure.
The cruise line is also offering a Cancellation Protection Plan for new cruises or Alaska Land+Sea Journeys. The program, offering a Standard or Platinum plan, allows guests to cancel up to 24 hours before cruise departure with Standard and right up to departure under Platinum and receive refunds from 80 to 90 percent of eligible amounts paid. The cost varies by cruise fare and is nonrefundable.
Oceania Cruises has announced a new Traveler’s Assurance booking policy, effective immediately, for all existing and new bookings made by April 30, 2020, for any voyages departing between march 10, 2020, and September 30, 2020.
As part of the policy guests can cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a future cruise credit equal to 100 percent of the cruise fare paid. Additionally, up to the day of the sailing, should there be another applicable public promotion that offers a better value through amenities or price, guests and advisors will be able to take advantage of that promotional offer and/or price.
Sea Cloud Cruises
Sea Cloud Cruises is offering guests on cruises departing in 2020 booked now until May 31 the ability to cancel free of charge up until one month prior to the departure date.
Riviera River Cruises
Riviera River Cruises has made the following changes to its cancellation and deposit policies, effective immediately:
Clients making new bookings: Client’s deposit will be fully refundable up to 60 days after being made. If a client wants to cancel a booking after 60 days, the deposit can be transferred to any other 2020 or 2021 departure.
Clients who have already deposited, but not fully paid: Client can delay payment in full until 30 days prior to departure or transfer their deposit to any other 2020 departure—if the new cruise is more expensive, the additional cost will be paid by the client. If the client wants to cancel and not transfer their deposit, the deposit is forfeited.
Clients who have paid in full: If the client is fully paid and traveling to an affected area according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Riviera will offer a full future cruise credit for cancellation. If the client is traveling to a non-affected area according to the CDC and wants to cancel, cancellation penalties will apply.
Avalon Waterways has announced that guests and travel advisors can now reschedule or cancel their river cruise up to three days prior to their scheduled departure date. Previously Avalon, along with its fellow members of the Globus family of brands, had announced a travel policy that allowed for changes up to 30 days prior to departure.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection reports that guests booked on 2020 cruises departing May 1 or later will have the option to cancel their cruise at 30 days prior to departure, at the lesser 120+ day cancellation rate of $200 per person.