Coronavirus: Princess extends cruise cancellations; lines expand cancellations, rebookings

Coronavirus: Princess extends cruise cancellations; lines expand cancellations, rebookings

The COVID-19 pandemic is doing increasing damage to the cruise industry.

Princess Cruises announced Wednesday that it is extending its pause in global ship operations, resulting in the cancellation of select cruises through the end of the 2020 summer season.

Also Wednesday, Royal Caribbean Cruises announced an extension of its "Cruise with Confidence" cancellation policy through April 2022, with expanded rebooking options.

On Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said it is canceling Alaska cruises through the summer but that eight ships would resume North American service on Aug. 1, a month later than the timeline announced in mid-April.

The industry has been shut down since mid-March, with hundreds of cruise ship passengers and crew members contracting coronavirus as the pandemic swept the globe. Some passengers, stranded far from home, faced logistical difficulties returning as travel options dwindled. Crew members from some vessels, such as the Costa Atlantica, are just now making their way home.

Cruise news:Carnival to resume some cruises in August. Will travelers cruise amid coronavirus uncertainties?

People look out from their balconies on the Coral Princess cruise ship as it is docked at PortMiami on April 4, 2020.

In a press release, Princess said today's decision is related to reduced flight availability, the closure of cruise ports around the world and other international travel issues.

"As the world is still preparing to resume travel, it is with much disappointment that we announce an extension of our pause of global ship operations and the cancellation of cruise vacations for our loyal guests," Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz said in a statement. She expressed sadness over the decision's affect on employees, business partners and destination communities.

Princess Cruises

Princess cruises canceled for the summer include:

• All remaining Alaska cruises on Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess

• All remaining Europe and transatlantic cruises on Enchanted Princess, Regal Princess, Sky Princess, Crown Princess and Island Princess

• Summer Caribbean cruises and all Canada & New England cruises on Caribbean Princess and Sky Princess

• Summer to fall cruises departing from Japan on Diamond Princess

• Australia-based cruises on Sapphire Princess and Sea Princess through August

• July cruises sailing from Taiwan on Majestic Princess

• Fall cruises sailing to Hawaii and French Polynesia on Pacific Princess through November

Guests who have paid in full for any of those trips can receive a Future Cruise Credit equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare plus a 25% bonus or they can request a full refund via an online form. Refund requests must be received by June 15, 2020, or guests will get the FCC option.

Cancellations:Royal Caribbean, Celebrity halt cruises through June 11; Carnival, Princess cancel through June

For prospective travelers who haven't paid in full, Princess will double the deposit with a refundable FCC plus a matching bonus that can be used on any voyage through May 1, 2022. No action is required for that FCC offer.

Princess also said it will protect travel adviser commissions on bookings for canceled cruises that were paid in full.

In mid-April, Princess announced cancellation of all cruises through June 30.

Royal Caribbean currently has no ships in operation.

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Cruises is extending its "Cruise with Confidence" cancellation policy on three cruise lines – Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara – through April 2022.

For new and existed bookings created by Aug. 1, 2020, travelers can cancel the cruise up to 48 hours before sailing and receive full credit for a future cruise through April 2022, the company announced Wednesday.

Royal Caribbean also is expanding rebooking options related to cruises through April 2022:

• "Best Price Guarantee" allows guests to change the price and promotional offer for a reservation up to 48 hours before a cruise.

• "Lift and Shift" lets guests move their reservation itinerary to a future date, with the original price and promotional offer being protected.

“We want our guests to feel they can safely keep their existing cruise bookings or schedule new sailings,” Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in an accompanying statement.

The announcement did not include an update on when cruises might resume. In mid-April, the company said it expected to return to service on June 12.

Slow refunds:Cruise lines slow to issue refunds: Coronavirus 'dwarfs any disruption we've experienced'

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2020/05/06/princess-cruises-extends-cancellations-during-coronavirus-pandemic/5179236002/

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