Many of us can’t wait to get on a ship again. We are right there with you. However, before you decide to book your next cruise, consider these issues and if you are willing to take the chance:
- When will cruising start? Cruise lines are already cancelling sailings from the US through March 2021. No one knows when cruising will start, and even the cruise lines are thinking Fall of 2021 may be the actual date. They hope for sooner, but hey, we thought cruising would start again two weeks after it was stopped, but it looks like it will be lasting for more than a year. The CDC’s new protocols have made knowing when very difficult.
- Will cruising stop again? Only time will tell. The way the CDC is looking at things, if there is a big upswing in COVID-19 cases on land, or if there is a significate infection on a ship ANYWHERE in the world, cruising could be shut down again. It won’t matter if it was one ship or one cruise line, it’s any ONE ship that can make or break it all.
- What if your cruise is cut short OR lengthened? If there is one SUSPECTED case on board, the ship is required to return to the starting port immediately. That could be the second day of your cruise. Even if it is later determined that the test was a false positive, your cruise is probably over at that point. On the other hand, what happens if the ship isn’t allowed to leave a port stop? Well, either you’ll have to find your way back home, or sit on the ship for longer than you expected.
- What if someone gets the virus while cruising? Well, you don’t know what may happen. First, you will be under quarantine on the ship. Yes, everyone will be, at least at first. You will be required to remain in your stateroom (for this reason, be sure to consider a balcony stateroom). If you are the one who tested positive, you will be put in the special quarantine facilities on board the ship. You will not have the comfort of your stateroom. If there are too many who tested positive, there will be a group quarantine area set up on the ship.
- What about a cruise from another country instead? Well, that may be possible, or may not. Currently, any cruises in Europe require you to be living in Europe to get on a cruise ship. Cruises from Asian countries require you to be living in that country to get on board. But, even if you could get on a cruise ship, you may need to either arrive early enough to enter a quarantine period before boarding and you may have to quarantine when you get home. The rules can change at any time. Do you have that time?
- Will I get my money back if the cruise is cancelled? Most likely you will, however, you may only get a Future Cruise Credit instead. Right now you have a choice if the cruise line cancels your cruise, with the choice of getting a credit instead. Most times these credits give you something extra, but not always.
- Will I get my money back if the cruise is shortened due to someone testing positive for the COVID-19 virus? If you get anything back, it will not be the entire amount. Even so, there is no requirement for the cruise line to give any reimbursement for a mandate to return to port from the government. I would assume the cruise lines, in good faith, would give some sort of reimbursement, depending on how much of the cruise was cancelled.
- If I decide to cancel, will I get my money back? If you have only paid a deposit, it depends on if it was a refundable or non-refundable deposit. If you have paid in full, it will depend on the cruise line’s refund policy. Most times you will NOT get all of it back, and in cases closer to the cruise, you may get none of it back. Some cruise lines do have a program that will allow you to get a future cruise credit instead of losing all your money. If you purchased during a time this was an option, you will have that choice. However, this program could end at any time and could no longer be available when you purchase.
- What if the rules for cruising change? This could include mask wearing required – or not, a vaccination required – or not, a negative COVID test – or not. If you don’t like the rule changes, you only have the options given you when you purchased your cruise. So, if you are afraid that the rules will be more or less restrictive, consider if you are willing to cruise anyway – or end up losing some or all of your cruise fare.
While some are willing to take their chances and book a cruise now for the near future (or even the distant future), many are not willing to take the chance. Everyone must decide what is right for them.