TORONTO — The coronavirus pandemic continues to hit the travel industry hard, with four more cruise lines announcing the temporary suspension of operations.
Windstar Cruises has temporarily suspended operations worldwide, for cruises embarking March 14 through April 30, 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Normal operations will resume on May 1, 2020.
Guests on cancelled cruises will receive the choice of a future cruise credit valued at 125% of all monies paid to Windstar Cruises or a refund equal to the amount paid on the Windstar booking. Guests will have 24 months to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their future cruise credit.
Moreover, Windstar says it will protect travel agent commissions on the affected bookings.
The company explains that its reservations team is reviewing all affected bookings and will send a letter outlining details to guests and travel advisors with cancelled cruises.
Celestyal Cruises has temporarily suspended operations, postponing all sailings through the Mediterranean and Greek Islands until May 1, 2020.
Sailings between March 14 and April 30, 2020 will be suspended. Affected sailings include the seven-night ‘Three Continents’ (March 14, 21 and 28, 2020), the seven-night ‘Eclectic Aegean’ (April 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2020); and the three- and four-night ‘Iconic Aegean’ (March 16 through April 30, 2020).
The cruise line plans to recommence operations on May 1, 2020 with its three-night Iconic Aegean on Celestyal Olympia, and May 2 with the seven-night Eclectic Aegean on Celestyal Crystal as scheduled.
All named and fully paid guests impacted by this temporary suspension will have the choice of either a future cruise credit valued at 120% of the original booking value or a refund of the original amount paid. Guests will have until the end of December 2021 to use their future cruise credit against any of the company’s itineraries. For additional flexibility, anyone that has not used their future cruise credit within the specified period will automatically receive a refund equal to the original amount paid to Celestyal.
Celestyal Cruises will issue certificates for future cruise credits for all impacted guests as per above. The certificates will be sent directly to the guest or their travel advisor, unless otherwise advised. There is no need for guests to contact Celestyal should they choose the future cruise credit option.
AmaWaterways has delayed the start of its European sailing season to April 26, 2020, citing its responsibility to guests, crew and the company’s travel partners.
It will be conducting a special webinar today, March 13, at 10:30 AM PST/1:30 PM EST. Webinar sign up is available on the Travel Agent Portal on AmaWaterways.com. A recording of the webinar will also be posted on the Travel Agent Portal for later viewing.
“The health, safety and well-being of our guests and crew are of the utmost importance to everyone on the AmaWaterways team,” says President and Co-founder Rudi Schreiner. “With the latest travel warnings and restrictions imposed by the U.S., Canadian and U.K. governments, we must continue to be vigilant in protecting the health of those on board our ships.”
“As a result, we are voluntarily suspending the operations of our European river cruise fleet and delaying the start of our 2020 European sailing season until April 26, 2020,” he adds. “We will also suspend our Mekong River cruises starting March 23. This is not an easy decision, as we know how much our guests were looking forward to their vacations but we must follow all precautionary measures put in place by governing authorities.”
Underscoring its commitment to travel advisors and their clients, AmaWaterways has updated its cancellation policy applicable to these cancelled sailings. Guests who were booked on a cruise that is being cancelled have the option of receiving a future cruise credit equal to 115% of the value of all services purchased through AmaWaterways, or a full monetary refund.
The FCC is applicable on all Europe or Mekong River cruise sailings any time before Dec. 31, 2022.
Additionally, the company will fully protect the commission of travel advisors whose clients opt for a future cruise credit, as well as pay an additional 10% commission on the value of the future booking. Plus, it will pay full commission on the fare difference, if applicable.
Following the Croatian government’s announcement of a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors arriving from infected hotspots, Katarina Line has been forced to cancel all departures for the month of April.
In an official statement, the cruise line said: “As there is currently only clarification on when the ban starts and not when it ends, we feel a six-week time period is prudent. Our company will be reviewing the situation on a daily basis and hope to commence operations again in May.”
The company said that it will stay in contact with clients and travel agents affected by the suspension, and “together decide on a transfer to a future booking or a full refund.”
For reservations in May and those further in the season, Katarina will issue regular updates. For other existing bookings and any new ones for 2020, it will implement more flexible cancellation conditions:
EUR 50 deposit per person (non-refundable but transferable to 2021 in case of cancellation)
Balance payment or cancellation 14 days prior to arrival