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What Cruisers Need to Know About Coronavirus and COVID-19

What Cruisers Need to Know About Coronavirus and COVID-19

What Cruisers Need to Know About Coronavirus and COVID-19
Cruise Critic
By Cruise Critic
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The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has all but halted travel around the globe.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that started affecting travel in earnest in February is unfolding at a speed that has created an atmosphere of uncertainty, with countries closing their borders and quarantining residents.
For now, cruising, certainly from the U.S. is at a virtual standstill, as every cruise line has voluntarily suspended operations well into 2021. However, there are glimmers of hope in Europe, where three big lines -- MSC Cruises, which set out on its first COVID-era sailing in mid-August from Italy; as well as Costa and AIDA, also from Italy.
On the European rivers, cruising enjoyed a partial season, with German river lines A-ROSA and Nicko restarting in Portugal and Germany, CroisiEurope in France and AmaWaterways operating in Germany for German charters only. Travel is a personal choice, and we encourage cruisers to check for the most recent and relevant updates. Cruise Critic is well-positioned to assist in informing travelers throughout this challenging period -- and when ready, to assist in recovery efforts.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) finally lifted its No-Sail order in late October, technically allowing lines to restart as early as November. However, the strict health protocols have raised many more questions than answers and all the major lines have suspended sailings until deep into 2021.
We've been staying on top of the situation, updating our stories with that information along with cruise line responses and changes to cancellation policies, and affected ports and cruise ships.
Read on for a wrap-up of how the virus is affecting cruise, ways you can protect yourself, and tools and resources for staying abreast of this fast-developing situation.

How will it affect cruise planning?

On March 13, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced its member lines has suspended operations for 30 days; subsequent delays saw that pushed back to "at least" October 31 for cruises out of the United States. Technically, lines can now operate from the U.S. -- bit with many restrictions.
Most cruise lines have cancelled to spring 2021, with others suspending as far as summer.
Other lines have surprised cruisers by sending well-loved ships to the scrapyard. Recent months have seen Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Inspiration beached, along with the former Sovereign and Monarch of the Seas.
A handful of smaller cruise lines, including Cruise and Maritime Voyages and Spanish-operator Pullmantur have gone bankrupt.
Now, the good news: many lines are extending the validity of Future Cruise Credits (FCC's) for canceled cruises well into next year and beyond, with some lines allowing cruisers to rebook voyages into 2023.
Travel restrictions continue to be problematic as of January 2021. Much of where cruisers will be able to travel and when will depend on their nationality and restrictions in place at their destination and their country of residence. The US-Canadian border continues to be closed.
For the latest information, read Cruise Critic's stories how cruise lines have temporarily suspended sailings and updated cancellation policies.

How are cruise lines changing their cancellation policies?

Because the situation is evolving, many cruise lines have adopted more flexible cancellation policies, allowing passengers to cancel cruises in some cases up to 48 hours before scheduled departure.
Many cruise lines are offering the option of purchasing additional COVID-19 cancellation insurance on new cruise bookings, and some have relaxed policies around refundable deposits and even final payment schedules in order to give cruisers additional peace of mind.
**To find out how cruise lines are handling cancellations, read Cruise Critic's article on flexible policies.

How are cruise ports reacting?

Virtually every port in the world is temporarily closed to cruise traffic, however, a number are gradually reopening.
**Read the latest information on which ports are closed and for how long.

Where can I learn more?

Cruise Critic answers frequently asked questions about what cruisers need to know.
Additionally, Here’s a roundup of resources for learning more about COVID-19:
Global advice:
World Health Organization

By region and country:

United States
Government travel advice
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Government travel advice
Health Canada
European Commission
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
United Kingdom
Government travel advice
UK National Health Service
Department of Health

Updated February 26, 2021

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