No travel segment was affected by Covid-19 more than the cruise industry. From the early shipboard outbreaks to a near-total cessation of operations, it has been hard to find any good news about the cruise industry.
As a result, the industry took drastic steps to address the concerns of you, the consumer. Your dream vacation was canceled. Your escape for the year taken away. Your chance to sail the seven seas gone. On top of a rough year, your vacation was taken. Here are some of the options you have, keeping in mind that the details vary between companies.
Cruise lines have offered trip insurance for a while. If you had to cancel, you could get your money back or rebook at a later date. However, you had to buy it at the time of booking. Some have waived the need for insurance or opened the window to purchase insurance up until a few days before the ship is intended to leave port.
The cruise lines understand that, even with them opening operations back up, a cruise still isn’t the best option for everyone. The insurance allows you to decide if and when is the right time for you. Take advantage of it. Contact your cruise operator and add it to your booking. Some are offering it automatically, while others are expanding the window of when it can be added.
As most lines have posted dates for when they plan to set sail again, those dates still aren’t guaranteed to leave port. If your trip is canceled because the cruise line decides to remain in port, you’re entitled to a refund or a rebooking. One thing to check with the current canceled trip policy is if you can lock it in. The companies are offering these generous terms of their own will, meaning they can change the rules back whenever they want.
The good news is that if your trip is canceled by the cruise line, you don’t have to do a thing. Some lines are offering 125% credit if you rebook. Some are giving a room upgrade or other perks with a rebooking. If you decide not to rebook after the line cancels your trip, you will at least get all of your money back. Again, this varies between companies, so it’s best to contact them for what your options ultimately are.
Don’t Be Hasty
Even with the insurance and cancelations, it doesn’t make sense to decide until you absolutely must. Most companies are allowing cancelations within 24 to 48 hours. That means you have pretty much all the time in the world before you need to be sure of what you want to do. With things still changing day to day, trying to predict what is the best choice a week from now, let alone a few months away, is difficult.
Overall, it’s hard to say exactly what is the most financially responsible plan of action. In the end, that is up to you. But make sure you use all the information and tools that are available to you. Check with your cruise line that you have trip insurance in case you want to cancel. Check to see what their current policy is if the cruise line makes the cancelation. Ask about locking in that policy in case they change. And remember to not rush into a decision based on whatever the news of the moment is. No amount of money is worth your health. Stay safe.