Worried about getting sick in the current environment? If you are a passenger with an upcoming cruise on a Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara, or Silversea cruise, then you can rest a little easier.
Royal Caribbean’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD., just announced a passenger-friendly new policy that allows cancellations for a full cruise credit up to 48 hours before sailing.
This new policy, called “Cruise with Confidence” provides a full credit for your fare to use on any future cruise through 2021. Pre-purchased items like drink packages or excursions will also be refunded.
Previously, guests who cancelled 30 days or less before their trip would lose their entire fare as a cancellation charge. Guests had to cancel at least 75 days (and in many cases 90 days) before their sail date to get all of their money back.
The “Cruise with Confidence” policy applies to all sailings on or before July 31, 2020, whether they are new or previously booked, and no matter what port you cruise from. It is in direct response to the havoc that the coronavirus continues to have on the travel industry.
“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.”
Not only does this new offer provide some peace of mind to those who have already booked, but the cruise line hopes it will entice more passengers to book in the future. Fain has said “the policy would also give consumers more confidence in making new bookings, knowing that they could later adjust their plans without penalty.”
If you want to cancel your cruise and take advantage, you’ll need to call the cruise line directly at 800-256-6649.
Will Other Cruise Lines Follow Suit?
For weeks sickness scares have shaken the cruise industry. At first the trouble seemed limited to Asian itineraries, but the announcement this week that a ship sailing from California had a recent passenger die from the illness has brought the issue to U.S cruises.
This new policy marks a dramatic shift for cruises here at home, as well as across the world. It’s not known if other cruise lines will follow suit, but we think it’s likely they could offer similar deals in the near future.
Update: We have just received word that Norwegian Cruise Lines has followed Royal Caribbean’s lead and is offering a similar cancellation policy up to 48 hours before departure.
According to the company’s press release:
“Norwegian Cruise Line is encouraging travelers to plan their next vacation with its new Peace of Mind policy, offering guests who book voyages through Sept. 30, 2020 the opportunity to cancel up to 48 hours prior to the sail date and receive a 100% future cruise credit for use on any sailings through Dec. 31, 2022.”