Cruise passengers could be feeling concerned amid a growing number of coronavirus outbreaks on board cruise ships around the world. However, cruise lines want to encourage passengers to continue travelling with them and are making amendments to their cruise policies in order to reassure travellers.
Royal Caribbean recently announced its a new policy change which allows passengers to cancel their holidays as late as two-ays before departure if they are feeling concerned.
Guest will not incur a charge for deciding to switch up their holiday plans, and instead will be offered a full credit for their are to use on any future sailing in 2020 or 2021.
The “cruise with confidence” policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.
Our previous policy set earlier deadlines for guests to cancel their cruises, and that added unnecessary stress,” said Richard Fain, the company’s chairman and CEO.
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“Trying to guess a month or more in advance where areas of concern about coronavirus might be is challenging for medical experts, much less a family preparing for vacation.
“When circumstances are as fast-changing as they have been recently, it’s good to know you have the option to take a rain check,” Fain said.
“We think putting more control in our guests’ hands helps them make informed decisions about whether to keep their existing vacation plans or trade out for a more convenient time or itinerary.”
In addition to easing concerns for booked guests, Fain also believes the policy will give consumers more confidence in making new bookings, knowing that they could later adjust their plans without penalty.
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The new rules surrounding cancellations are applicable on or before July 31 and will be offered by all of Royal Caribbean’s global partner brands.
This includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea.
The news comes as the CDC urges travellers not to go on cruise holidays after another cruise ship destined for the US confirmed cases of the deadly COVID-19 virus on board.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on its website that the “CDC recommends travellers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel worldwide.”
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The CDC added: “Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew.
“Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.”
A ship quarantined off the coast of Japan saw 706 passengers contract the disease after it was placed in a 14-day lockdown.
There were six fatalities as a result.
Meanwhile, a number of ports worldwide have closed to cruise ships.
There are now a number of ports denying entry to all cruise ships, meanwhile, some are saying Chinese, South Korean and Italian passengers are not allowed to disembark.
Others are turning ships away on a case-by-case basis, largely dependent on the nationality of passengers or where the ship has previously sailed.
Affected ports include those in Doha, Hong Kong, Maldives, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, The Bahamas, Fiji and India.
If you are due to travel on a cruise it is advised that you contact your cruise line directly to see if your journey is affected.