Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it is extending its cruise suspension through October 31, in another setback to the return to cruising. Previously the cruise line had suspended trips through September 30, with plans to return in October.
This extension applies to all three of the company’s brands, including NCL, Oreania, and Regent Seven Seas.
In addition, the company said that it plans to provide an update at the end of each month about any future extensions. This should provide booked passengers with a more concrete timeline of updates instead of regularly checking to see if their sailing has been cancelled.
The company also announced an extension of it’s “Peace of Mind” program. This cancellation policy already allows passengers to cancel up to 48 hours before their cruise departs if sailing on a cruise in 2020. Under this plan, passengers who cancel for any reason receive a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit.
The extension rules differ slightly. If a cruise departs in 2021, passengers will now be able to cancel their cruise up to 15 days prior to departure. However, this only applies to cruises that are booked by August 31, 2020.
As a further benefit, the company reduced the final payment date for 2020 cruises from 120 days before sailing to just 60 days before.
An Industry on Hold
While Norwegian is the latest cruise line to extend their suspension of cruises, they are far from alone. Ever since the initial suspension in March, cruise lines have announced multiple suspensions individually, as well as industry-wide suspensions via the industry’s Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Furthermore, the CDC has a “No Sail” order on cruises from the United States that is set to expire September 30. It can be lifted earlier, but given the language in the recent extension of the order, it seems doubtful. In that order, the CDC cited multiple issues it had with cruise lines and how they were handling the current pause with only crew members on board and no passengers.
Meanwhile, COVID cases continue to climb in the United States, further dampening the prospects of a return to sailing anytime soon.
Do you have a comment on the CDC’s “No Sail” order and how cruise lines should return to sailing? The government agency is seeking public input on its website through September 21, 2020.