TORONTO — More cruise lines are bringing in flexible rebooking and commission protection policies as retail travel partners grapple with the impact of the coronavirus warnings.
Both MSC Cruises Canada and Celestyal Cruises are reaching out to both customers and travel agents with the new guidelines. More details are below. The news comes on the heels of updates from cruise companies including RCCL and Carnival and their commission policies.
Meanwhile cruise ships in the news include the Viking Mekong. The Viking River Cruises vessel is now under quarantine for 14 days in eastern Cambodia after one passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. Reports indicate that there are Canadian passengers onboard.
Also in the news, in announcing the federal government’s new $1 billion aid package today to help Canada and the health care system contain the coronavirus, Prime Minister Trudeau said Canada would look at what to do with cruise ships scheduled to call at Canadian ports, in light of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s advisory against cruise ship travel, announced March 9.
More details about the new policies from MSC Cruises Canada and Celestyal are below …
MSC CRUISES CANADA
MSC Cruises Canada’s just-launched Cruise Assurance program offers clients greater flexibility for existing and new reservations between now and July 31, 2020.
For sailings on or before July 31, 2020, passengers booked through MSC Cruises Canada can cancel their existing reservation up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit for the amount paid. The FCC can be applied to any future cruise of their choice departing on or before Dec. 31, 2021.
MSC adds that passengers booked directly with MSC Cruises Canada or through one of its travel partners in Canada who are interested in participating in MSC’s Cruise Assurance program should work with their preferred travel advisor or see msccruises.ca/cruise-deals/cruise-assurance-program.
A spokesperson for MSC says agent commission will be protected: “If the client chooses not to sail prior to 48 hours to sailing and the agent registers for Cruise Assurance, the agency commission will be paid.”
The Greek Islands and Med cruise line Celestyal Cruises has introduced a ‘Peace of Mind Policy’ to include current bookings for travel between now and June 30, 2020. Clients can change their plans up to seven days prior to the sailing date without incurring cancellation fees. They will receive a 100% future cruise credit that can then be applied towards a 2020 or 2021 cruise.
This is addition to any new cruise bookings made between now and April 30, 2020 for travel during 2020-2021, which can also be changed up to seven days prior to the sailing date without incurring any penalty or cancellation fees.
Celestyal says passengers sailing on the March 14, 2020 seven-night ‘Three Continents Cruise’ and March 16, 2020 four-night ‘Iconic Aegean’ sailing can also take advantage of the Peace of Mind Policy despite being within seven days of departure.
Celestyal is also extending its ‘Big Cruise Sale’ until April 30, 2020, with fares from US$1,259 per person on the all-inclusive ‘Eclectic Aegean’ seven-night itinerary. Reduced deposits are $50 per stateroom.
Celestyal passengers who stick with their original bookings from now through June 30, 2020 will receive an onboard spending credit of up to 100 euros for seven-night cruises.
A spokesperson for the cruise line had this to say about commissions: “Celestyal Cruises greatly values our travel advisor partners and will protect their full commission on all original fully-paid Celestyal Cruise bookings.
“In addition, Celestyal is pleased to announce that the company will also award an additional bonus commission to the travel advisor once the future cruise booking is redeemed by their clients.
“For any original bookings that are only at the deposit stage and which are cancelled without the Peace of Mind Policy, then the commission will not be payable.”