The Grand Princess cruise ship, once carrying some 3,000 passengers some stricken with coronavirus, returned to port in the San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday with nearly 650 crew members aboard after they had completed their 14-day quarantine. (April 7)
The COVID-19 pandemic is doing increasing damage to the cruise industry.
Princess Cruises announced Wednesday that it is extending its pause in global ship operations, resulting in the cancellation of select cruises through the end of the 2020 summer season. Sister line Holland America is doing the same, pausing its Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England cruises for 2020, as is other sister line Seabourn. Seabourn is suspending through Oct. 13 sailings to Alaska; that extends throughout what is typically the cruise season there.
Also Wednesday, Royal Caribbean Cruises announced an extension of its “Cruise with Confidence” cancellation policy through April 2022, with expanded rebooking options.
On Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said it was canceling Alaska cruises through the summer but that eight ships would resume North American service on Aug. 1, a month later than the timeline announced in mid-April.
Mike Tibbles, with Cruise Lines International Association Alaska, said by email that the state currently faces a loss of 479 voyages — or 80% of expected sailings — with a passenger capacity of more than 955,000 because of ship cancellations.
The industry has been shut down since mid-March, with hundreds of cruise ship passengers and crew members contracting coronavirus as the pandemic swept the globe. Some passengers, stranded far from home, faced logistical difficulties returning as travel options dwindled. Crew members from some vessels, such as the Costa Atlantica, are just now making their way home.
In a press release, Princess said its decision is related to reduced flight availability, the closure of cruise ports around the world and other international travel issues.
“As the world is still preparing to resume travel, it is with much disappointment that we announce an extension of our pause of global ship operations and the cancellation of cruise vacations for our loyal guests,” Princess Cruises President Jan Swartz said in a statement. She expressed sadness over the decision’s affect on employees, business partners and destination communities.
Princess cruises canceled for the summer include:
• All remaining Alaska cruises on Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess.
• All remaining Europe and transatlantic cruises on Enchanted Princess, Regal Princess, Sky Princess, Crown Princess and Island Princess.
• Summer Caribbean cruises and all Canada & New England cruises on Caribbean Princess and Sky Princess.
• Summer to fall cruises departing from Japan on Diamond Princess.
• Australia-based cruises on Sapphire Princess and Sea Princess through August.
• July cruises sailing from Taiwan on Majestic Princess.
• Fall cruises sailing to Hawaii and French Polynesia on Pacific Princess through November.
Guests who have paid in full for any of those trips can receive a Future Cruise Credit equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare plus a 25% bonus or they can request a full refund via an online form. Refund requests must be received by June 15 or guests will get the FCC option.
For prospective travelers who haven’t paid in full, Princess will double the deposit with a refundable FCC plus a matching bonus that can be used on any voyage through May 1, 2022. No action is required for that FCC offer.
Princess also said it will protect travel adviser commissions on bookings for canceled cruises that were paid in full.
In mid-April, Princess announced cancellation of all cruises through June 30.
On top of the Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England cruise cancellations, the line’s Amsterdam ship set for a 79-day Grand Africa Voyage sailing from Boston on Oct. 3 is also canceled. Holland America’s Land+Sea Journeys for 2020 have already been canceled; this refers to Alaska cruises with overland tours to Denali and the Yukon.
Each guest on a canceled cruise will receive future cruise credit. Those who have paid in full will get a 125% cruise credit, and those who haven’t will receive double their deposit; the minimum credit is $100 and maximum is up to base cruise fare paid. This credit can be used to book trips through Dec. 31, 2022, and applies for 12 months from the issue date.
Guests can also receive a 100% refund, though they need to tell the line if that’s the case by June 15 via a cancellation preferences form.
Charter sailings are not a part of this policy, and if the cruise wasn’t booked through Holland America, these booking and cancellation conditions and policies may be moot.
Seabourn’s five ships will remain on pause through October or November.
- Seabourn Odyssey paused through Nov. 20, through Europe season.
- Seabourn Sojourn paused through Oct. 13, through Alaska/British Columbia season.
- Seabourn Quest paused through Nov. 6, through Canada/New England season.
- Seabourn Encore paused through Oct. 19, through Europe season.
- Seabourn Ovation paused through Nov. 6, through Europe season.
The line had previously paused operations from March 14 to June 30.
Guests who paid in full will earn a 125% future cruise credit, while those under deposit will get that same credit and an additional $300 onboard credit by suite. The credit is applicable for 12 months from the issue date, and can be used for bookings through Dec. 31, 2022, sailings. Guests can also seek refunds.
Royal Caribbean Cruises
For new and existed bookings created by Aug. 1, travelers can cancel the cruise up to 48 hours before sailing and receive full credit for a future cruise through April 2022, the company announced Wednesday.
Royal Caribbean also is expanding rebooking options related to cruises through April 2022:
• “Best Price Guarantee” allows guests to change the price and promotional offer for a reservation up to 48 hours before a cruise.
• “Lift and Shift” lets guests move their reservation itinerary to a future date, with the original price and promotional offer being protected.
“We want our guests to feel they can safely keep their existing cruise bookings or schedule new sailings,” Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in an accompanying statement.
The announcement did not include an update on when cruises might resume. In mid-April, the company said it expected to return to service June 12.
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Contributing: Associated Press
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