TORONTO — More tour operators, cruise lines and airlines are loosening restrictions on their rebooking and cancellation policies in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Princess has temporarily revised its cancellation policy. The news comes as the cruise line awaits results from coronavirus testing on several dozen passengers on Grand Princess, currently off the California coast. There are 3,533 people currently onboard Grand Princess, including 2,422 guests (including 235 Canadians) and 1,111 crew. All passengers are quarantined in their cabins until further notice.
Here are the details of the new cancellation policy, with details varying by departure date …
- April 3 or earlier departure – Clients can cancel up to 72 hours before sailing to receive Future Cruise Credit (FCC) for 100% of cancellation fees.
- April 4 – May 31 departure – Clients can cancel by March 31, 2020 and receive FCC for 100% of cancellation fees.
- June 1 – June 30 departure – Final Payment moves to 60 days prior to sailing (from 90 days).
Meanwhile clients who choose to keep their booking as currently scheduled for departures March 9 – May 31 will receive the following onboard credit amounts (in US dollars): $100 per cabin for 3-day and 4-day cruises; $150 per cabin for 5-day cruises; and $200 per cabin for 6 day and longer cruises.
Hola Sun says it will waive the change fee if travellers wish to change their travel date, destination within Cuba or hotel reservation, for new bookings March 5 – 31, for travel through Oct. 31. Clients who opt to purchase Hola Safety Ring coverage at time of booking can change their travel date, destination within Cuba or hotel reservation up to 24 hours before departure. Without Hola Safety Ring coverage they can change up to seven days before departure. New travel must be completed with 11 months of the original travel date. One change per file and not applicable to group bookings. Clients must pay any difference in price.
ROYAL IRISH TOURS
For all new bookings made March 5 – 31, 2020, Royal Irish Tours will have a fully flexible policy in place to allow guests to postpone their trip for any reason up to 14 days before departure. This is for new bookings only, and guests can travel on any later departure date in 2020.
“We want agents to be able to continue to sell our product with confidence,” says Conor Duffy, Director at Royal Irish Tours. “It’s a tough time for us all, and our partners on the ground in Ireland & the UK have been fantastic in light of what’s happening. We are happy to be able to offer this flexibility.”
Duffy says March is traditionally a key booking month for RIT, with St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland top of mind. He adds: “Stay tuned for the announcement of an agent incentive which will begin at the end of next week!” Any questions or concerns can be directed to RIT’s offices at 905-773-6773 or email email@example.com.
Collette says it stands behind its Travel Protection Plan, offering a full cash refund for any guest who has to cancel up to 24 hours before departure, providing flexibility should any situation arise. The company says it has already guaranteed more than 35% of its travel dates through 2022, showcasing a commitment to its guest and their plans.
“Our plan is designed knowing that life happens and that sometimes, plans change. We want to provide a worry-free experience for both you as well as the guest.” said Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, President of Collette.
Emirates has waived change fees for all booked tickets issued March 6 – 31, 2020. Passengers can change their booking to any date for travel within an 11 month date range in the same booking class without change penalties. Difference in fare, if applicable, applies. The policy covers all existing destinations across the Emirates network.
Following the relaxation of Silversea’s cancellation policies launched on March 5, the cruise line is also embracing the Royal Caribbean Group’s ‘Cruise with Confidence’ initiative. Guests on cruises departing before July 31, 2020 now have the additional option of cancelling their voyage as late as 48 hours prior to sailing.
For all sailings departing after July 31 until Dec. 31, 2020, a 30-day prior to sailing cash cancellation option will be in place.
Silversea’s existing cancellation policy offers guests long-term peace of mind on all sailings departing between June 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, while the ‘Cruise with Confidence’ policy covers upcoming voyages in the coming weeks.
RIVIERA RIVER CRUISES
For clients making new bookings, deposits will be fully refundable up to 60 days after being made. If a client wants to cancel a booking after 60 days, the deposit can be transferred to any other 2020 or 2021 departure.
Clients who have already deposited, but not fully paid can delay payment in full until 30 days prior to departure or transfer their deposit to any other 2020 departure. If the new cruise is more expensive, the additional cost will be paid by the client. If the client wants to cancel and not transfer their deposit, the deposit is forfeited.
If the client is fully paid and traveling to an affected area according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Riviera says it will offer a full future cruise credit for cancellation. If the client is traveling to a non-affected area according to the CDC and wants to cancel, cancellation penalties will apply.
Tour operators including Sunwing, Transat, Goway and ACV, as well as airlines including Air Canada and WestJet, have all announced flexible rebooking policies in an effort to reassure travellers that it’s a good time to book and take vacations.