Has your cruise been canceled and not sure what to do next? We’re sharing tips to provide the best options for when you’re ready to cruise again.
In this time of uncertainty around the globe, the idea of cruising may not be top of mind for many, but for the thousands of cruisers that have cruises booked in the coming months, the prospect of further cancelations for fully paid reservations has large monetary and personal ramifications. In this post we’re sharing tips for making wise financial choices and how to keep your best options open.
Do What’s Right for You
Everyone has unique circumstances, so when it comes to making a decision about whether to cruise or not or when the time is right will come down to a personal decision. Even if you’ve cruised many times before, don’t feel pressured to have to cruise right away. Many new “fit to travel” restrictions will likely remain in place that may also make cruises unavailable to some. The good news is that most of the cruise lines are offering the flexibility to cancel cruises already booked within the next several months and issuing future cruise credits good towards another cruise a year or more from your cancel date.
Don’t “Panic Cancel” Your Cruise
Currently, this pandemic is causing not only cruises to be canceled through the initial 30 days, but many sailings further out are in limbo as well. For example, shutdowns at shipyards are causing delays with scheduled ship refurbishments and likely new ship builds will follow soon. Additionally, there’s a strong chance that the industry wide shut down in operations could last longer into the Spring or Summer. Plus, even when cruise lines are able to resume service, there will likely be certain ports that will remain closed to cruise ships. Unless you have an option to collect most of your money back for your cruse fare, airfare and other pre-booked services or are willing to take a Future Cruise Credit, my choice would be to wait it out as long as possible until the cruise line cancels your cruise.
Assess offers Before Deciding
Most cruise lines are offering full refunds or Future Cruise Credits for any cruises that they cancel. Some lines are even offering bonus FCC’s from an additional 25 to 100% in value or onboard credits if you rebook another cruise and forgo a refund. Is an FCC your best option? With the cruise market being flooded with FCC’s from displaced cruisers in the coming months, you may be faced with limited availability of prime cruising dates well into next year as well as artificially inflated pricing in the short-term. As the FCC’s are “use it or lose it” within a specified time period, you may be better off taking a full refund to give yourself more options. Getting your cash back opens up more options between future sailing dates and also the flexibility to choose between cruise line brands, as we are bound to see a point where pricing competition brings extremely good offers to consumers.
Look at Alternatives
For anyone booked on cruises departing through the Summer, it would be in your best interest to start looking at possible alternative travel dates. It’s not that you need to action anything yet, but at least you’ll be ready with a plan and can expedite a change before future dates start to fill up. If you just want reassurance, you may be able to have your reservation changed to a future sailing now, however, if your original cruise does officially get canceled, you will likely give up any incentives being offered at that time. The same advice holds true if you’re booked on ships scheduled for major dry dock enhancements or that are currently under construction through the end of 2020. Depending on how long this crisis continues, world-wide shipyards may be put behind schedule forcing the delay of work completion and deliveries.
Communicating With Your Cruise Line
I’m sure you can imagine the level of calls being received by all of the major cruise lines right now. To save yourself from hours on hold, many have provided online forms where you can simply provide a few reservation details and select your desire for a refund or FCC. In most cases, there is no need to rush to make a decision either way, as cruise lines are offering generous timeframes to notify them of your choice. Do keep in mind though, that requests are handled as they are received, so the longer you take to decide, the longer it may take to receive your refund or alternative compensation. If some instances you may need to speak to a cruise line representative. From my personal experience, attempts during early morning or late evening has reduced my wait times considerably.
We hope you find these timely tips useful for navigating your options during these unprecedented times. Stay healthy, happy and #KeepOnCruising
Also Read: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cruise Line Updates