One of the major (and often overlooked) aspects of the way coronavirus has been affecting the cruise industry is in individual cancellations. As people grow more worried, more and more people are trending towards cancelling any trips that they may have been going on to help prevent exposure to the virus. This also goes the other way: as the industry takes a hit from the perception of cruises, lots of itineraries are needing to be cancelled, causing companies to have to dole out big refunds or reschedulings to travelers. It’s a bit of a mess, really, and travelers are becoming more suspicious of whether or not it’s a wise idea to buy a cruise trip right now. After all, what’s the point if you’re going to need to cancel and lose out on all the money you spent?
Well, cruise lines are starting to notice this trend. In order to hopefully save some of the business that they may have lost, they have started to implement more lenient policies about cancellations and reschedulings. Here the two latest examples from two different cruise lines.
Ponant, a luxury cruise line based in France, has been around since 1988. Needless to say, there hasn’t been an event since their formation that has caused them to rethink their cancellation policies as much as coronavirus. As a response to these unique circumstances, they have implemented their new “Worry Free Booking” policy. If you book a 2020 cruise, you’re only required to put down a 10% deposit, and you can cancel up to 30 days ahead of your trip and still get a full refund. Bookings for 2020, 2021 and 2022 can also all be cancelled up to 90 days after confirmation and travelers will get all their money back. This plan is effective as of right now.
Celestyal Cruises, a line out of Cyprus, has instituted a similar policy to Ponant. Dubbed the “Peace of Mind Policy,” it too looks to relax those looking to book in the time of COVID-19. For those with bookings currently, they can cancel within a week of departure and get a 100% credit that can be used on bookings for later on in 2020 or 2021.
In the announcement of this new policy, Celestyal said “we understand that these uncertain times can be unsettling, but we are optimistic about the future and we want to allow our guests to be reassured and feel comfortable in carrying on with their existing vacation plans or making future travel plans.” Hey, if they’re optimistic, we are too! These are definitely unsettling times, but we’re confident that things will (slowly) start to get back to normal if we can all just get through it.