P&O Cruises is one of many cruise lines that have been forced to cancel a huge number of sailings due to the coronavirus. Their current plan is to get back on the water by August 1, meaning all itineraries between now and then are gone. Seeing as P&O is one of the biggest cruise lines in Europe, this means thousands of customers were left looking for refunds for vacations that they could no longer take. Unfortunately, these refunds have not yet arrived for many.
While we know that coronavirus has had a completely unexpected financial impact for all companies, we also understand that many customers are frustrated with the situation. There are stories across the Internet of disgruntled travelers phoning the company only to be told that they will need to wait a month for their refund…or two…or three. Some have even told of angry customer service reps and phone calls that end in shouting. Yikes. Tension is running high everywhere lately!
The president responds
The president of P&O, Paul Ludlow, recently got on Facebook to send a message to P&O customers regarding their refunds. He began by stating, “The first thing for me to stress is that the refund process is underway.” He noted that they are putting extra emphasis on those who asked for a refund rather than future booking credit, as they need the money more urgently. However, he added that it was more difficult than it may seem from the outside, saying, “The impact of Covid-19 upon our business, your businesses, and all of our lives has been devastating, and therefore the complexity and scale of this task has been unprecedented for us.”
So, when are the refunds coming?
It was a long message, but Ludlow made sure to offer a time frame. He said their original plan was to just get them out as soon as possible after the initial cancellations in March, but that they needed to change this plan. He says that customers can expect a refund within 60 days (he made the post on May 14). He also said that those who were looking for credit would be able to redeem that credit online without calling into the company, and that they would be giving more details regarding that by the end of May.
It’s not an ideal situation for customers of P&O, but it’s likely at least somewhat reassuring to have the president say that the refunds are on the way. Interestingly, P&O is reporting an unusually high number of new customers right now, so the company will perhaps be back on its feet quicker than we expect.