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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 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 the fall months. However, there are glimmers of hope in Europe, which is ahead of the U.S. in terms of bringing down infection rates and a number of lines have restarted or are about to restart, including Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten and SeaDream, which restarted along the Norwegian coast in June, and MSC Cruises, which set out on its first COVID-era sailing in mid-August.
On the rivers, German river lines A-ROSA and Nicko have restarted in Portugal and Germany, CroisiEurope has resumed in France and AmaWaterways is 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) extended its "no sail" order for cruise ships in early April for 100 days to July 24 and recently extended that to September 30, or when the pandemic ends. However, CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association which represents most cruise lines in the world, has extended its volutary suspension of cruising through "at least" October 31.
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 have seen that pushed back to "at least" October 31 for cruises out of the United States. At present the CDC order is valid until September 30, though this too could be revised.
In addition, several cruise lines -- including Crystal Cruises and Viking -- have begun to cancel their entire 2020 cruise seasons.
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 Summer 2020. 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, likely through the fall.
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 August 19, 2020

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