The news continues to come fast and furious with cruising and the coronavirus. Earlier today Cruzely published an article about Disney suspending cruises for the time being, along with Princess and Virgin Voyages.
In that article, we suggested several reasons more cruise lines will follow suit. We’ve seen exactly that.
Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings just announced it will suspend all cruises from today through April 11, 2020, across its entire fleet. That includes Norwegian, Oceania, and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines.
According to the press release, “The temporary suspension is aimed at contributing to efforts around the globe to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This measure is taken in an abundance of caution and the Company has not experienced any confirmed cases of COVID-19 across its 28-ship fleet.”
As for passengers currently booked on these suspended cruises, they will see their money back or a generous credit for a future booking.
“All guests on impacted voyages will receive a 125% refund of the fare paid in the form of a future cruise credit, which can be applied toward any future cruise through December 31, 2022. For guests who wish to not avail themselves of the 125% future cruise credit, a 100% refund of the fare paid will be reimbursed to the original form of payment within 90 days of guests’ request. Travel partner commissions on canceled cruises will be protected as per normal policy.”
The announcement shows just how big an impact this virus is having across the globe. It’s a drastic action for any cruise line to have to cancel a cruise as it causes major disruptions for both the company and passengers. The impact of suspending all sailings is much greater.
However, with some ships on other lines seeing cases of coronavirus, as well as ongoing pressure as events from SXSW to the NBA and NHL either suspending or cancelling, it seems to be the right move.
The cononavirus continues to spread. While cruise lines have made drastic moves to combat the illness including advanced screenings of passengers and denying boarding to those visiting coronavirus hotspots, the risks continue to grow as more people fall ill worldwide. Suspending cruises reduces the risk of another ship being quarantined for the time being.
Given the current path of the industry and the response to coronavirus, we expect more cruise lines to follow suit, possibly as early as today. While several lines have already made moves to suspend sailing, Norwegian’s announcement is among the largest.