TORONTO — Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Seabourn and Cunard have all announced extensions to their voluntary suspensions of operations due to COVID-19.
The extensions follow similar moves from Royal Caribbean and others and come as Cruise360 is postponed until later this year. Cruise360 was originally scheduled to take place in Vancouver May 12-18. Businesses unable to keep their commitments to Cruise360 will be offered the opportunity for a refund. with details on the request process coming soon.
“While cruising may be momentarily paused, our US$150 billion industry will be back … better than ever before,” says Charles Sylvia, ECC, Vice President, Membership and Trade Relations for CLIA. “We will be so much stronger for what we have endured together and how we reacted to it, dealt with it, and what we learned from it.”
Here are the latest updates from Holland America Line, Cunard and Seabourn:
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE
Holland America, which previously announced a suspension through April 14, has made the decision to extend its pause of global cruise operations for an additional 30 days, cancelling sailings scheduled to depart through May 14, 2020.
Guests currently booked on cruises from April 14 through May 14 and their travel advisors will receive notification from Holland America in the coming days regarding options for either a future cruise credit for 125% of their booking value plus an additional $250 shipboard credit or a full refund.
All bookings will be automatically cancelled through May 14. Guests are not required to call to cancel, however, they may visit hollandamerica.com to indicate their preference for either the credit plus bonus or a 100% refund.
Holland America will reimburse cancellation fees for air and other arrangements for travel to and from the cancelled cruise (not applicable for chartered sailings).
The cruise line is requesting that all those booked on cruises from April 14 through May 14 do not call reservations for assistance as hold times are expected to be very long, and their booking will be automatically cancelled over the coming week.
It has also confirmed that travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises, which were paid in full, will be protected for the total amount of the future cruise credits when guests rebook.
MSC is suspending all new cruise departures fleet-wide through to May 29. It previously announced the temporary halting of all its ships globally through to April 30.
With this latest announcement, MSC intends to provide travel agents and guests who are booked on affected sailings with as much time as possible to move their booking to a future cruise.
It is offering impacted guests the chance to transfer the full amount paid for their cancelled vacation plus an additional credit benefit to a future cruise of their choice at any point through the end of 2021.
Seabourn is also extending its voluntary pause of global operations for its five cruise ships for an additional 30 days. The extension includes sailings scheduled to depart through May 14, 2020.
The brand had announced an initial 30-day pause in operations, which took effect on March 14, 2020.
Impacted guests will receive a 125% refund of the fare paid in the form of a future cruise credit, which can be applied toward any future cruise through Dec. 31, 2021.
For guests who do not opt to choose the credit, a 100% refund of the monies paid to Seabourn will be reimbursed to the original form of payment.
Guests and their travel advisors will be sent communications on how to manage cancellations and compensation online. Guests are asked not to call the Reservation Call Center for information about cancellations due to high call volumes.
Cunard is extending the suspension of all voyages from April 11 up to and including May 15, 2020.
The brand says it will continue to monitor government guidelines and travel restrictions in ports of call around the world, and this may mean there are further changes to the timing of when each of its ships returns to service.
“The impact of COVID-19 is affecting personal routines and businesses as well as placing significant travel restrictions around the world,” says Cunard’s President, Simon Palethorpe. “Everyone in the Cunard team is aware of the need to support the management and containment of COVID-19 globally. This includes protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew. It is therefore right we extend the pause in operations.”
For all guests impacted by this temporary suspension, Cunard will provide a 125% future cruise credit. This credit will be applied automatically to their guest account for use on a future Cunard voyage. This can be redeemed against any new booking, on any voyage sailing before the end of March 2022, providing the booking is made by the end of December 2021.
For more updates from cruise lines go to https://www.travelweek.ca/news/when-will-cruise-lines-return-to-service-here-are-all-the-latest-updates/.