The cruise lines are updating their cancellation policies, allowing for more flexibility. Working with a cruise travel specialist, they can help you book and assist with details.
Cruise Line Policies Recently Updated / Issued: (more will be added as issued):
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has issued a formal response to the March 8 n-COVID19 U.S. State Department travel advisory, emphasizing the strength of its unique Bahamas vacation product. The official statement is as follows:
“We want to reassure travelers that the U.S. State Department’s recommendation is just that, a recommendation, and there are currently no restrictions for those who choose to travel by cruise ship. The safety, health and wellbeing of our guests and crew will always remain our top priority and while we continue to monitor this situation closely – maintaining communication with the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – we firmly believe the risk to our guests and crew members remains very low. We will not permit any persons who have traveled or transited from countries currently identified in the CDC list. Additionally, we have a Health Declaration in place and we are prepared to take all necessary preventative measures as circumstances indicate.
As the only provider of two-night cruises, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line offers a fun, quick, carefree vacation option, with no passport required. By traveling with us, consumers can avoid sacrificing their vacation during these challenging times, enjoying a two-night micro-cation with an unforgettable day on Grand Bahama Island. We invite those seeking a quick, worry-free getaway to experience Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, and we look forward to seeing travelers onboard.” – Oneil Khosa, CEO, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.
The company has also updated its cancelation policy for travelers with concerns; the updated “Sail with Ease Policy” is as follows and valid on any new bookings made now through the end of 2020:
Cruise passengers traveling in less than 30 days may change to a new sailing date at no charge, with price protection and the transfer of any promotional offers or supplements. Cruise passengers traveling in more than a month can cancel with no charge or take the opportunity to transfer to a future sailing, receiving up to a $50 onboard credit.
Cruise & Stay passengers traveling in the next 45 days may change to a new sailing date at no charge or cancel for any reason, receiving a future Cruise & Stay credit. Cancelations with future bookings will be made at the prevailing rate but will include the transfer of any existing promotional offers or supplements. Cruise & Stay passengers traveling in 46 days or more will be given the opportunity to cancel for any reason. Those wishing to rebook on a future date can do so at prevailing rates with a $50 onboard credit.
“While traveling with us is a wonderful way to experience a quick, close-to-home Bahamas getaway, we understand some people do still want the confidence of being able to change their plans up until the last minute. We will continue monitoring the situation and maintaining flexibility, ensuring our guests feel comfortable and confident, helping them enjoy the vacation they very much deserve,” said Khosa. “We also remain deeply dedicated to our valued travel advisor partners and are committed to doing everything we can to help them through this difficult moment. We will overcome this together, just as we have many other things in the past.”
Royal Caribbean International
March 6, 2020: Royal Caribbean will let you cancel any cruise that sets sail from now through July 31, 2020. Whether it’s a booking you already have or one you make right now, you’re covered. As long as you cancel at least 48 hours before you set sail, you’ll receive a Future Cruise Credit. The credit can be used toward any cruise that sets sail through December 31, 2021.
Holland America Line
March 6, 2020 — For guests currently booked on upcoming cruises, Holland America Line is temporarily changing its cancellation policy and allowing guests to cancel their cruise or Alaska Land+Sea Journey departing through May 31, 2020.
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. The FCC must be booked by Dec. 31, 2020, and the cancellation must be made with a minimum of 72 hours in advance of departure date but no later than March 31, 2020. However, guests booked between now and March 9, 2020 may also cancel under this new policy despite being within 72 hours.
For those who choose to keep their cruise plans on departures through May 31, 2020, an Onboard Spending Credit of $200 per stateroom/$100 per person for voyages longer than 7 days and US$100 per stateroom/US$50 per person for voyages less than 6 days will be automatically applied to their shipboard account as a thank you.
We also know that there are people with specific individual health situations that impact their ability to safely travel during these times. For those guests who are able to provide supporting documents from their health care provider, Holland America Line will issue them a Future Cruise Credit. This “Compassion Policy” offer is available for guests booked on any sailing, regardless of departure date.
New Book with Confidence Program Allows for Cancellation
To help cruisers feel more secure when making a future booking, 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 April 30, 2020, for itineraries that depart on or before Oct. 15, 2020, can cancel for any reason and receive a FCC in the amount of any cancellation fees applied. The cancellation must be made up to 30 days before departure.
“We fully understand that travelers 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 Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “It’s always important that travelers 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.”
Cancel Up to Departure with Cancellation Protection Plan
Holland America Line’s Cancellation Protection Plan can also be purchased for new cruise or Alaska Land+Sea Journey bookings or existing bookings as long as it is purchased before the date cancellation fees begin to accrue. The program, offering a Standard or Platinum plan, allows guests to cancel up to 24 hours before cruise departure with Standard and right up to departure under Platinum and receive refunds from 80 to 90% of eligible amounts paid. The cost varies by cruise fare and is nonrefundable.
American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines … have made adjustments to our deposit requirements, final payment schedules and cancellation policies to make it easier to evaluate your vacation plans.
Princess Cruises is temporarily making some changes to cancellation policy for cruises departing up to May 31, 2020, and amending Final Payment on cruises sailing June 1 through June 30, 2020.
The details vary by departure date. The following applies to new and existing bookings on cruises and cruisetours in all markets globally.
|Date of Departure*||Benefit|
|April 3, 2020 or earlier||Cancel up to 72 hours before sailing to receive Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for 100% of cancellation fees|
|April 4, 2020 – May 31, 2020||Cancel by March 31 and receive Future Cruise Credit for 100% of cancellation fees|
|June 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020||Final Payment moves to 60 days prior to sailing|
*Date of departure is from the start date of your cruise or cruisetour, whichever is earlier. Excludes charter cruises.
Guests who choose to keep their booking as currently scheduled for departures between March 9 and May 31 will receive the following Onboard Credit amounts:
- $100 USD / $150 AUD per stateroom for 3 and 4 day cruises
- $150 USD / $225 AUD per stateroom for 5 day cruises
- $200 USD / $300 AUD per stateroom for 6 day and longer cruises
For our guests booked on Crown Princess Mediterranean itineraries, we are finalizing some itinerary changes and a special offer that we will be sharing early next week.
Lindblad Expeditions, per letter from Sven Lindblad on March 5, 2020:
If already booked: “We very much would like you to continue as planned and hope that you believe that the protocols we have put in place are solid. But I know, in part because I’ve seen a whole variety of circumstances, that this situation may be causing you, your family and friends some stress. So, by the simple act of continuing on your 2020 expedition as you have planned, we would like to enroll you in our Friend for Life program as a thank-you for keeping the faith. This program, which now has 10,000 members, was born in September 2001 at a time far more stressful after 9/11. We made a proposition to our guests which turned out to be important and valuable to both them and us.
As a Friend for Life member, you will receive the following benefits for life:
- 10% off all future expeditions for life
- 10% shipboard discount on the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fleet
- Transferability: the ability to lend your 10% expedition discount to a family member or friend of your choosing
- Legacy rights: the privilege of handing down your Friend for Life status to your children and grandchildren
We know Friend for Life has meant a lot to many people and we wish to do all we reasonably can to foster a community that will be the core of all our future endeavors.
As to any cancellations:
- If we elect to cancel a voyage because we believe it would be irresponsible to go, you will receive a full refund. We are looking to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) to provide guidance.
- If you elect to cancel your 2020 expedition departing April 1 or later, provided you give us at least 24 hours’ notice, we will provide you with a 100% credit for your expedition fare which you may use on any future expedition in 2020 or 2021. This policy will stay in effect at least through April 30, 2020.
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Now through March 31, 2020, you can reserve your space with a reduced deposit of $250 per person (reg. $500), plus you’ll get Scenic’s Deposit Protection Plan* for FREE, a value of $250 per couple. The plan protects your deposit so you can apply it to a future river cruise should you need to change your plans or cancel.
*Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours is happy to offer its NEW Deposit Protection Plan – the first in the industry. Our guests are now able to protect the deposit amount they’ve paid towards their Scenic vacation. How it works:
- If a Scenic guest needs to cancel or change a cruise for whatever reason, the Deposit Protection Plan allows them to reallocate their non-refundable deposit for use towards an alternative future sailing.
- For Scenic River cruise guests, the cost for deposit protection is only $125 per person
- For guests traveling on Scenic Eclipse – the World’s First Discovery Yacht launching in 2018 — the cost for deposit protection is only $250 per person
- We only ask that you purchase the plan at the time that your deposit is due. Should you cancel or change your cruise for whatever reason, we ask that you rebook within 24 months of cancelling.
- Deposit Protection is non-refundable and non-transferrable, and only covers your cruise and Escorted Journey deposits. Air deposits are not included in the plan, and any third-party supplier fees such as hotels will be subtracted from your deposit amount. We’ll credit the remainder to you towards an alternate tour or cruise.
- Combine this with FREE Roundtrip Air for even more value. Offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis and ends March 31, 2020.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent is providing “Regent Reassurance.” For all voyages beginning April 3, 2020, through November 1, 2020, you can now cancel up to 30 days prior to sailing and receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit, which can be applied to a new booking within one year on any 2020 or 2021 Regent voyage.
Regent Reassurance begins March 4, 2020, and applies to all existing bookings plus new bookings made by April 30, 2020, on all voyages from April 3, 2020, through November 1, 2020.
For those clients who took advantage of our previously communicated final payment extension period to 60 days, nothing more needs to be done. Once final payment is received, they, too, can take advantage of Regent Reassurance. For those who cancel prior to 60 days, they are still entitled to the 15% Future Cruise Credit communicated previously.
Updated March 4, 2020 to reflect this: Windstar’s Travel Assurance Booking Policy automatically applies to new and existing cruises departing now through December 31, 2021.
Travelers who cancel a cruise booking up to 15 days prior to departure will receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit to be used on another Windstar departure within one year of the issue date of the credit. The offer is good for cruise fare only.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection … guests booked on 2020 cruises departing May 1 or later will have the option to cancel their cruise at 30 days prior to departure, at the lesser 120+ day cancellation rate of $200 per person.
As of March 4, 2020: Avalon Waterways announced enhancements to its travel policy due to traveler-related Coronavirus concerns. The leading river cruise company’s policy now invites guests – and their travel advisors – to cancel and/or reschedule their Europe cruise up to three (3) days prior to their scheduled departure date. This policy change offers them increased flexibility for upcoming and future travel plans. Prior to this update, Avalon Waterways announced a travel policy that allowed for changes up to 30 days prior to departure.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL):
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has temporarily modified a few of its existing policies. Please note:
Final payment for all June and July voyages will not be due until 90 days prior to sailing.
Up until 60 days prior to sailing, NCL will allow a transfer of the reservation to any other cruise that departs on or before June 30, 2020. The transfer voyage must be of equal or greater value, prevailing rates will apply, and penalties will be waived.
If a guest chooses not to sail, the name change restriction will be waived up to 45 days prior to sailing. Name changes will be permitted for the cruise reservation only and excludes flight arrangements through Norwegian Cruise Line and/or pre-purchased travel protection.
Guests with non-ticketed Norwegian Cruise Line air may make name changes.
Guests with ticketed air may make name changes but will incur a penalty and possibly air change fee, if either is assessed by the airlines.
Viking has issued a temporary exception to its cancellation policy so that you can be free to postpone your cruise at any time up until 24 hours before the planned departure, without incurring any cancellation fees. You will be issued a voucher for future travel valid for 24 months, which can be used on any Viking product (river, ocean or expedition). This is a temporary exception to Viking’s standard cancellation policy and is applicable for all guests who currently have a reservation with Viking and for all new reservations made through April 30, 2020.
The temporary exception to Viking’s cancellation policy is as follows:
- Notification of your intent to postpone your current cruise must be received as follows:
- If you have flights arranged by Viking, it must be received at least 24 hours prior to the time of flight’s departure.
- If you have arranged your own flights, it must be received at least 24 hours prior to the time of embarkation of the cruise or your hotel check-in, whichever is first.
- Cancelled reservations will be reimbursed in the form of a Future Cruise Voucher in the amount of 100% of all funds paid to Viking.
- Future Cruise Vouchers may be used toward any future river, ocean or expedition cruise with Viking and will be valid for 24 months from issuance.
Also, note you can purchase the appropriate travel insurance, some which allows you to cancel your voyage for any reason.