Comprehensive guide to cruise line coronavirus cancellation policies

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YourLifeChoices will endeavour to update this page as new information comes to light (last update 16/03/20 21:41)

Holland America Line is announcing new programs and cancellation policies to offer greater flexibility and choice during these uncertain times.

To give travellers greater peace of mind with regard to their upcoming holiday plans, the cruise line is allowing guests to cancel any cruise through to 31 May for any reason.

Any cancellation will receive a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for the amount of the paid fare, which can be used for another cruise in 2020 or 2021.

Customers who stick to their cruise plans on departures through 31 May 2020 will receive onboard credit for $US200 per stateroom/$US100 per person for voyages longer than seven days and $US100 per stateroom/$US50 per person for voyages shorter than six days.

Holland America Line also is offering a new Book with Confidence program that allows for cruise and Land+Sea Journey cancellation.

Under Book with Confidence, guests who make a new booking by 30 April 2020 for itineraries that depart on or before 15 October 2020, can cancel for any reason and receive an FCC in the amount of any cancellation fees applied.

“We fully understand that travellers are uncertain about their future vacations, so we have created two new programs to give both our current booked guests and those who want to cruise later this year more options and confidence for their planning,” said Holland America Line’s president, Orlando Ashford.

“It’s always important that travellers protect their vacation investment, and our Cancellation Protection Plan is one of the most robust available, allowing guests to cancel for any reason. And our plans cover today’s circumstances, which many policies do not; so when combined with our new programs it’s one of the most assured ways to confidently plan your cruise today.”

While Holland America Line has adapted to these troubling times, many other cruise lines have also followed suit. With a little help from the The Points Guy, we’ve created a comprehensive list of cruise line cancellation policies in light of the coronavirus crisis.

Avalon Waterways
Passengers on any voyage can cancel without penalty up to three days before a departure. Passengers who cancel will get the amount they paid back in the form of a future cruise credit. Passengers who have yet to make final payment for a sailing also can postpone the trip to a later date or switch to a different trip operated by the line or any of its sister tour companies. This also covers cruises booked through Globus and Cosmos.

Carnival Cruise Line 
Carnival Cruise Line has suspended its cruise operations across its Australia-based fleet and will resume them on 13 April. Both Carnival ships still at sea will continue their voyages and return to Sydney as scheduled.

Carnival Cruise Line reiterated that it has not had a diagnosed case of COVID-19 linked to its operation, but “we realise this situation is bigger than the cruise industry and we will continue to do our part to support public officials to manage and contain this unprecedented public health challenge”.

As a result of the continued impact of COVID-19, and following the recommendation by the Cruise Lines International Associations, Cunard will be suspending new cruises on its ships until 11 April 11 2020.

”Having reviewed all of our ship operations and industry recommendations, we have decided no new guests or crew will be joining our ships as we suspend operations until April 11, 2020, said Cunard president Simon Palethorpe.

“This pause in operations has been done in an abundance of caution to support the global effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.”

All guests impacted directly by this temporary suspension are being contacted regarding their voyage and their options.

“These truly are unprecedented times, the likes of which we have certainly never seen before. We are really sorry for the disruption and disappointment that this extraordinary measure will cause. We hope everyone will understand that we have to take these measures in the interests of protecting the wellbeing of our guests and crew,” Mr Palethorpe concluded.

P&O Cruises Australia
P&O Cruises Australia will press pause on operations and hopes to resume on 12 April, in response to the government’s advice that gatherings should be limited to no more than 500 people and Australians should reconsider their need to travel overseas.

P&O’s decision will affect cruises on Pacific Explorer, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria that were scheduled to depart Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.

Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises will cease all of its operations across the globe until 10 May 2020.

Princess president Jan Swart wanted to reassure its “loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world”.

Voyages currently under way and scheduled to end within the next five days will continue as expected so that onward travel arrangements are not disrupted. Cruises that extend past March 17 will be cut short at a convenient disembarkation location for guests.

Travellers will have the option of a refund or to transfer 100 per cent of any money paid towards a future cruise credit for any voyage departing up until 01 May 2022. Those opting to take the credit will also be provided with “an additional generous future cruise credit benefit” which can be applied to the cruise fare. The offer will also be honoured for any guests who had made final payment and then cancelled bookings on or after 4 February 2020.

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and Silversea
All cruise brands under Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCL) will voluntarily cease operations for all voyages worldwide, hopefully resuming operations on 11 April 2020.

RCL had previously ceased voyages departing from US ports, but is now extending the suspension citing “global public health circumstances”.

Sailings currently under way will continue as planned, and the brand is providing a 125 per cent future cruise credit valid until 31 December 2021. Any pre-purchased amenities will be automatically refunded. Passengers can also receive a full refund if they prefer.

“We know, this too shall pass, and we are optimistic that very soon you’ll be excited about planning your next cruise vacation,” said RCL. 

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Passengers booked on voyages departing on or after 1 June can transfer the booking to an alternate departure without penalty.

Viking will temporarily suspend operations of all river and ocean vessels embarking from 12 March to 30 April 2020.

“This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known,” said Viking in a statement.

“For guests whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, we are offering the choice of a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid. Guests will have 24 months to use their Future Cruise Voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise.”

“For additional flexibility, if you are unable to use your voucher, we will automatically send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires. These Future Cruise Vouchers will also be fully transferable.”

These are some of the more popular cruise lines. YourLifeChoices will endeavour to update this page as new information comes to light.

Would you book a cruise during this crisis? If not, what would it take? How much would a cruise line have to discount its fares to get you on board?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 5
  1. 0

    I had to cancel a holiday was diagnosed with Leukemia, luckily before payment. However I had travel insurance with Insure and Go. I asked them since I cancelled before payment and did NOT use their insurance would they refund any of the policy payment. Answer was NO. Well I didnt know I was going to get Leukemia, and if I still went on the holiday could have got very ill and cost Insure and Go many thousands of dollars, so cancelling early I did them a favour. NO, no refund even though I did not have a chance to use the policy. SO DO NOT INSURE WITH INSURE AND GO, they have no heart.

  2. 0

    Mike, I’m sorry, and I hope you’re recovering. My experience with Insureand Go has always been good, but I’ve never tried to cancel a policy. My problem is sometimes that I wait too long after booking to take out insurance, so Known Issues develop – like this one.

  3. 0

    Royal Caribbean has also banned passengers above 70 from boarding without a medical certificate.

  4. 0

    I booked a European river cruise with APT due to start middle of April. They are possibly the only tour company that has not yet cancelled any trips! They must live on a different planet and still think it is safe to travel overseas. Never again will I book a tour with APT.

  5. 0

    Interested in people’s opinions of which were the best and worst travel insurance covers???



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