Arguably cruise lines might just be the hardest hit by the current situation, and one cruise line has just voluntarily temporarily ceased operations.
Princess Cruises suspends operations
Today Princess Cruises, which is owned by Carnival, has announced a voluntary and temporary pause of global ship operations for 60 days, from March 12 through May 10, 2020.
As it’s described, this is being done out of an abundance of caution, as a proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19.
Those booked on a canceled cruise can have their deposit transferred to a future cruise with a “generous future cruise credit benefit” for onboard expenses. That can be used for any cruises through May 1, 2022. Alternatively, guests can request a 100% cash refund.
Cruises currently underway that are expected to end in the next five days will continue as expected. Meanwhile those that extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements.
As Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises CEO, describes this move:
“Princess Cruises is a global vacation company that serves more than 50,000 guests daily from 70 countries as part of our diverse business, and it is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents. By taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of our ships, it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world.
Here’s a video from the CEO:
I chose a bad year to start cruising…
As a kid I used to be obsessed with cruise ships, in the same way I am with planes now. However, that passion quickly changed, and I’ve had zero interest in going on a cruise for nearly two decades now.
However, my mom loves cruising, so a few months ago we agreed to go on a European cruise this coming summer with my mom, on Celebrity Cruises. Go figure we’ve had to pay in full for the cruise, and it’s scheduled for late May, and involves travel to Italy, Spain, etc.
At this point it seems fairly certain we won’t be taking that cruise, though I also think a refund is unlikely.
Celebrity Cruises is offering a “Cruise with Confidence” pledge, where you can cancel your cruise departing through July 31, 2020, as close as 48 hours to departure, and you’ll get a credit towards a future cruise, valid through December 31, 2021. I guess that’s better than nothing, but…
While airlines are being hit hard, I imagine cruise lines are being hit even harder. Personally it seems likely to me that the effects of this will impact cruises much longer than they impact airlines, especially in light of the “quarantined” cruise ships we’ve seen in recent weeks.
It’ll be interesting to see if any other cruise lines also temporarily suspend operations…
Anyone else booked on a cruise, and if so, how are you feeling about it?