Aerial view of the Caribbean Sea © iStockAerial view of the Caribbean Sea © iStock

For anyone unsure about booking a cruise holiday in the current climate the cruise industry is taking measures to ensure consumers feel as confident as possible with a new Cruise with Confidence policy.

While cruise lines want to ensure their guests can continue cruising with confidence in 2020 and beyond, the global situation regarding the spread of COVID-19 has worsened since the initial precautionary measures were put in place.

As a result, a number of cruise lines have continued to extend their suspension period and introduced further cancellation policies and protective measures for their customers.

Princess Cruises updates ‘Cruise With Confidence’ cancellation policy

Princess Cruises has temporarily amended its cancellation policy and final payment dates for cruises and cruise tours departing up to October 15, 2020. The line is implementing a revised policy to assist guests making decisions regarding their cruise holidays during the evolving worldwide COVID-19 situation.

The details vary by departure date:

  • On cruises sailing before July 31, 2020, you can cancel up to 48 hours before you sail and receive the full amount you have paid either as a Future Cruise Credit and/or as a refund to the original payment method.
  • On cruises sailing August 1 to October 15, 2020, you can cancel up to 30 days before you sail and receive the full amount you have paid either as a Future Cruise Credit and/or as a refund to the original payment method.

Additionally, the final balance payment date has been reduced from 90 days to 60 days prior to sailing for all cruises departing up to October 15, 2020.

Guests who have booked air travel through Princess Plane Sailing will have any non-refundable flight cancellation fees added to their future cruise credit, while any remaining balance will be returned to the original payment method.

Guests will also receive a full refund of any pre-paid items where applicable, such as drinks packages, shore excursions and WiFi. These will be refunded back to the original method of payment.

The updated policies apply to all new and existing bookings.

Full details can be found here.

Royal Caribbean Group introduces Cruise With Confidence

The Royal Caribbean Group has also adopted a ‘Cruise With Confidence’ policy, allowing guests booked on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea to cancel up to 48 hours before a sailing.

Effective from 6 March 2020, the new Cruise with Confidence policy allows guests to cancel any cruise departing on-or-before September 1, 2020, up to 48 hours before departure, and receive a Future Cruise Credit that can be applied to any future cruise departing in 2020 or 2021.

“Our previous policy set earlier deadlines for guests to cancel their cruises, and that added unnecessary stress,” said Richard Fain, the company’s chairman and CEO. “Trying to guess a month or more in advance where areas of concern about coronavirus might be is challenging for medical experts, much less a family preparing for vacation.

“When circumstances are as fast-changing as they have been recently, it’s good to know you have the option to take a rain check,” Fain said. “We think putting more control in our guests’ hands helps them make informed decisions about whether to keep their existing vacation plans or trade out for a more convenient time or itinerary.”

In addition to easing concerns for booked guests, Fain said the policy would also give consumers more confidence in making new bookings, knowing that they could later adjust their plans without penalty. These updates apply to anyone booked on a Royal Caribbean Group cruise, including: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea.

Oceania Cruises Unveils New Traveller’s Assurance Programme

Oceania Cruises has announced a new Traveller’s Assurance booking policy effective immediately for all existing reservations departing through to 30th September 2020. The policy has now also been updated to include all new reservations made from 30th June through to September 2020.

  • Once paid in full, cancel for any reason up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid.
  • Future Cruise Credit is valid for redemption for one year from date of issue for travel departing no later than 31st December 2022

Guests may cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and will receive a Future Cruise Credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid.

Norwegian Cruise Line introduces Peace of Mind policy

Norwegian Cruise Line is encouraging travellers to plan their next cruise holiday with its new Peace of Mind policy, offering guests who book voyages through to 30 September 2020 the opportunity to cancel up to 48 hours prior to the sail date and receive a 100% future cruise credit based on amount paid towards the booking for use on any sailings through to 31 December 2022.

This new offer applies to all new guests as well as those already booked on voyages beginning 10 March 2020.

P&O Cruises and Cunard update Coronavirus Reassurance Cancellation and Transfer Policy

P&O Cruises and Cunard have implemented a new interim policy for all guests with bookings departing prior to 31 August 2020.

  • For existing bookings departing up to and including 15 May 2020, all guests on the affected cancelled sailings will automatically receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit.
  • All guests with existing and new bookings on holidays departing before 31 August, 2020 may now cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure.

This means that guests sailing before 1 September 2020, can now:

  • Transfer your booking to any cruise currently on sale (and not just to those within the next 12 months).
  • Transfer your booking to a cruise of higher or lower value (and not just of a higher value, as is usually the case).
  • Transfer your booking an unlimited number of times (and not just once).
  • Transfer your booking free of charge.

This can all be done up to 48 hours before departure

  • The Future Cruise Credit may be redeemed against any sailing until end of March 2022 (bookings to be made before December 31, 2021)
  • The Future Cruise Credit is non-refundable, but may be used on multiple sailings

This comes as P&O and Cunard extend their sailing suspensions for the third time, leaving a pause in operations until 31st August 2020.

Carnival Cruise Line cancellation policy

As the Covid-19 situation continues to evolve, Carnival has had to cancel more sailings this summer. 

The latest update announcement state the following voyages will be now be cancelled and sailing is due to resume at the end of September 2020.

  • All San Francisco sailings in 2020.
  • All Carnival Sunrise sailings up to 19 October 2020.
  • All Carnival Legend sailings up to 30 October 2020.
  • All Carnival Radiance sailings up to 1 November 2020.
  • All Carnival Spirit Alaska, Hawaii, & Trans-Pacific sailings up to 6 October 2020.
  • All other ships sailings until 30 September 2020.

As with other cruise companies encouraging their guests to cruise with confidence, Carnival has updated its cancellation policy for those affected by the recent changes to the summer itinerary.

  • Guests will either be able to claim a 100% refund on trips longer than six days and on voyages lasting five days or less.
  • Guests also have the option to redeem 100% Future Cruise Credit on voyages booked by 31/5/2021 and sailing before 30/4/2023.

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