Cruise lines both big and small are going to extraordinary lengths to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. The global pandemic is shutting down businesses across the world as we speak, and the cruise industry is one that is largely taking the situation incredibly seriously. Some cruise lines had been holding out against the virus, hoping they could avoid closing up shop; they have recently been succumbing to pressures and suspending operations. Likewise, many others are doubling down on their original decisions to stop itineraries and extending the length of their closures and cancellations. Let’s take a look at some of the new policies being announced from companies across the entire industry.
Holland America is one cruise line that has definitely been in the spotlight in recent weeks. Two of their ships, Zaandam and Rotterdam, had outbreaks of coronavirus, forcing them to dock in Port Everglades and evacuate travelers. While they already had shut down operations on March 12, they extended this shut down on March 30. Now, they will have no ships departing until after May 14. Anyone who had a trip booked in that period will receive a 125% credit to be used on a future cruise (plus $250 shipboard credit) or a full refund.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), the parent company for Norwegian, Regent and Oceania, announced on March 30 that they too would be having a longer suspension than initially planned. NCLH cruises will not resume until May 10. They had previously planned to resume operations on April 12. Their refund policy for the cancelled cruises is not yet known; travelers are being asked to contact whatever cruise line they booked with.
Carnival followed the aforementioned cruise lines and suspended operations through May 11. Additionally, they cancelled several other sailings that don’t fall inside those time periods: all Alaska sailings through June 30 and all San Francisco sailings that were planned to happen this year. They also announced ship-specific cancellations for Carnival Radiance and Carnival Legend. In order, they will resume operations on November 1 and October 30.
It is unclear if these cancellations are to become a trend in the industry, but these three major cruise lines doing so is a good indicator. Smaller companies may not have the funds to wait that long to resume business, but we will have to see. No matter what happens, most cruise lines remain optimistic that they will be able to bounce back once the pandemic passes.