(Updated 3:48 p.m. EDT) -- Cruise lines are modifying their payment and cancellation policies in an attempt to provide reassurance and flexibility for passengers in the wake of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus outbreaks around the world.
While also protecting those with previously booked voyages, these policies are also designed to provide comfort and flexibility to those considering booking a cruise this summer and fall, particularly as the international travel landscape continues to fluctuate. These changes are a positive development for concerned travelers, many who don't want to see their hard-earned vacation disappear.
In many cases, these policies are temporary and are intended to be in place only as long as necessary. Note that if lines aren't represented here, their standard payment and cancellation policies still apply as of this writing.
Here is a roundup of the modifications to cruise lines' booking and cancellation policies. This list will be updated as new information becomes available.
APT | American Cruise Lines | Avalon Waterways | Azamara | Bahamas Paradise | Carnival | Celebrity | Celestyal | CroisiEurope | Costa | Cruise & Maritime Voyages | Crystal | Cunard | Disney | Dream Cruises | Emerald Waterways | Fred. Olsen | Grand Circle |Holland America Line | Hurtigruten | G Adventures | Lindblad | Marella Cruises | MSC | Norwegian | Oceania | P&O Cruises | P&O Australia | Pandaw |Ponant | Princess | Regent | Riviera | Royal Caribbean | Saga Cruises | Sea Cloud | Seabourn | Scenic | Silversea | Star Cruises | Tauck |Uniworld | Viking | Virgin Voyages | Windstar |
A future holiday credit equal to the full value of the booking is offered for all suspended tours and cruises. APT will absorb any applicable third-party fees (some airline fees may apply). The credit is valid for travel with APT until the end of 2021 and it can be used for multiple bookings or partly transferred to a person accompanying you on an alternative trip.
Due to the Australian Government's travel ban, APT has introduced a Temporary Deferment policy for tours and cruises until the end of June 2020 and new rules for cruises scheduled from July 2020. For the latest policy, check the company's travel updates here.
American Cruise Lines
American Cruise Lines is offering passengers with new and existing bookings for cruises departing through August 31, 2020, the ability to cancel for any reason up to 24 hours prior to the start of their cruise package and receive cruise vouchers equal to 100 percent of the amount paid. The cruise voucher can be used for any 2020 or 2021 cruise package. If passengers choose the option, these terms replace the cancellation terms that otherwise would have applied, whether the standard cancellation terms or the terms of the line's cancel for any reason protection plan. To cancel, email the line at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 24 hours before the start of your cruise package.
The company's cancellation policy still stands.
Aurora Expeditions can provide support on rescheduling or canceling flights via a new insurance helpline is email@example.com. Current policies can be found here.
Avalon Waterways is waiving cancellation fees until three days before departure for any Europe sailing. For all other departures, travelers with existing bookings can be moved to any other Avalon Waterways (or sister-brands Globus, Cosmos and Monograms) departure in 2020 or 2021 without penalty before final payment. Passengers booked on itineraries that include Italy can move to another destination at no cost.
Cancellations will be refunded in the form of a future travel credit.
Specifically for passengers booked on Avalon Waterways' Oberammergau Passion Play sailings: These guests will be the first to be able to reserve spots for the 2022 Oberammergau Passion Play sailings (the 2020 event was canceled) at the current price. Alternatively, passengers can choose to reschedule their cruises for another itinerary for travel by the end of 2022 with no cancellation fees.
Azamara's Cruise With Confidence policy allows cruisers to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing. Those who cancel will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of their choice through April 2022. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings for cruises booked by August 1, 2020.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has updated its Sail with Ease cancellation policy and is valid on any new bookings made through the end of 2020.
Cruise passengers traveling in less than 30 days may change to a new sailing date at no charge, with price protection and the transfer of any promotional offers or supplements. Cruise passengers traveling in more than a month can cancel with no charge or take the opportunity to transfer to a future sailing, receiving up to a $50 onboard credit.
Cruise & Stay passengers traveling in the next 45 days may change to a new sailing date at no charge or cancel for any reason, receiving a future Cruise & Stay credit. Cancelations with future bookings will be made at the prevailing rate but will include the transfer of any existing promotional offers or supplements.
Cruise & Stay passengers traveling in 46 days or more will be given the opportunity to cancel for any reason. Those wishing to rebook on a future date can do so at prevailing rates with a $50 onboard credit.
Travelers booked during the remainder of 2020 or the first half of 2021 can postpone their trip at no extra cost up to 72 hours prior to departure.
Captain Cook Cruises Fiji
Fee-free amendments are available for those wishing to defer their cruise. Normal cancellation fees apply.
Carnival guests booked on sailings with a departure date between May and September 2020 may cancel up to 30 days prior to their sailing and receive a future cruise certificate that can be used to rebook a cruise within one year of the original sail date.
Celebrity's "Cruise With Confidence" policy allows cruisers to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing. Those who cancel will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of their choice through May 4, 2022. The policy applies to all cruises booked by August 1, 2020.
Celestyal has introduced a Peace of Mind & Low Deposit policy, which allows anyone with a new or existing bookings for travel through December 31, 2020 to change or cancel without incurring cancellation fees up to seven days before sailing date (voyages departing between June 29 and August 31, 2020); or 30 days prior to sailing date for cruises departing September 1 to December 31, 2020. Cruisers who cancel within the specified time period of their sailing will receive a 100 percent future cruise credit that can be used until December 31, 2022.
Passengers traveling after June 16 can activate their deposit protection plan or alternatively opt to pay a change fee. Passengers who have not made final payments will be subject to usual terms and conditions of travel. Anyone who pays a change fee and is subsequently affected by future canceled sailings will be credited this fee to their reservation.
Costa passengers booked on sailings scheduled to depart before August 31, 2020, can cancel up to 48 hours before their scheduled cruise. If they cancel, they will receive a future cruise credit for the amount paid, which can be applied to any sailing departing before November 2021.
CroisiEurope is allowing passengers to cancel up to 30 days prior to departure without any penalty or fee on new bookings made on or before May 1, 2020, for departures through August 31, 2020. This applies to bookings made by phone and email only.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Passengers can cancel up to seven days prior to departure for a 100 percent FCC valid for departures until December 31, 2022 and redeemable until March 31, 2021, provided the fare had been paid in full. No refunds will be given for transfers to lower priced cruises and the difference must be paid for higher value bookings. Rebooked cruises are subject to standard cancellation policies. One name changes can be made, with all charges and admin fees temporarily waived during the validity period.
Crystal has established a new cancellation policy applicable to all Crystal sailings, which previously began at 120 days or earlier. Passengers can cancel up to seven days prior to sailing and receive a 100 percent credit for cruise fare monies paid that may be redeemed on any future voyage through the end of 2022. For changes made 31-90 days ahead of sail date, 25 percent FCC and 75 percent refund will be offered.
For all new bookings, Crystal has established a new reduced deposit policy, which was previously 25 percent of the cruise fare. New reduced deposit amounts are $500 per person for all voyages, regardless of length. Reduced deposits are now available for all 2021, 2022, 2023 voyages.
Cunard has implemented a policy for all guests with bookings departing before to August 31 2020. This includes:
- All guests with existing and new bookings on sailings departing before August 31, 2020, may cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure;
- Canceled bookings will receive a future cruise credit equivalent to the cancellation fees, and refunds will be given on any remaining monies paid;
- The future cruise credit may be redeemed against any sailing until end of March 2022 (bookings to be made before December 31, 2021);
- The future cruise credit is nonrefundable but may be used on multiple sailings.
Passengers traveling before the end of August 2020 will have additional onboard credit applied to their booking on bookings made prior to March 11, 2020. The amount of credit applied is based on the length of the cruise, as follows:
- 1-3 nights = $150
- 4-7 nights = $300
- 8-14 nights = $600
- 15+ nights = $900
Anyone who canceled bookings between February 1, 2020 and March 11, 2020 for sailings before the end of August 2020, but who did not opt to convert their cancellation charge into a future cruise credit, will have this automatically credited to their account for use on a future holiday.
Guests traveling after August 2020 are able to transfer, free of charge, to any alternative cruise date, prior to paying the balance of their cruise.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line has modified its cancellation policy to allow cruisers currently booked on European sailings that depart on or before July 25 can change their reservation up until the day before embarkation and receive a 100 percent cruise credit to be used for future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date. Cancel by calling (866) 325-2112 or (407) 566-3510, or by contacting your travel agent.
With the "Cruise As You Wish" assurance and booking option, all new and existing bookings made for any Dream Cruises sailing prior to or on October 30, 2020, will have the flexibility to cancel up to 48 hours prior to sailing and receive 100 percent future cruise credit to be redeemed on any Dream Cruises or Star Cruises sailing embarking on or before March 31, 2021.
Emerald Waterways / Evergreen Cruises
Emerald's new cancellation policy gives cruisers the option to transfer their booking to an alternate cruise departure without penalty, up to 30 days prior to sailing. The policy applies to all currently booked cruisers with a departure on or after June 1, 2020 as well as to anyone booking after that date.
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has launched a Plain Sailing Guarantee for passengers, allowing them to cancel their cruise in return for a future cruise voucher, penalty-free, within the same year of departure. Additionally, full refunds are available upon request for all canceled voyages.
Cruisers booked on departures between July and December 2020 will now have final payment schedules adjusted from 90 days (standard) to just 28 days prior to sailing.
All passengers who book a Fred Olsen ocean or Brabant river cruise for 2020 will be able to cancel their cruise in return for a future cruise voucher for the entirety of the monies paid to date, when giving at least two weeks' notice of the cancellation. The future cruise voucher can then be used on another 2020 sailing.
The guarantee also applies to the line's 2021-22 itineraries when canceled no later than 90 days prior to departure.
Holland America Line
For guests currently booked on upcoming cruises, Holland America Line is temporarily changing its cancellation policy and allowing cruisers to cancel their cruise departing through October 15, 2020. Any cancellation will receive a future cruise credit for the amount of the paid fare which can be used for another cruise in 2020 or 2021.
Additionally, with the new Book with Confidence policy, anyone who makes a new booking by August 31, 2020, for itineraries that depart on or before October 15, 2020, can cancel for any reason and receive a FCC in the amount of any cancellation fees applied. The cancellation must be made up to 30 days before departure.
The FCC for canceled voyages must be booked by Dec. 31, 2021, departing on or before December 31, 2022.
Hurtigruten is offering free rebooking to any future Hurtigruten cruise -- expedition or Norwegian coastal -- that departs before September 30, 2020. All changed reservations will be reimbursed in the form of a future cruise certificate in the amount of 100 percent and the future cruise will be discounted 10 percent. Rebooked cruises must take place between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021 can can be either an expedition or Norwegian coastal cruise.
For those who have booked flights through Hurtigruten, the voucher also covers the flights. Further information can be found on the Hurtigruten website.
G Adventures are offering a relaxed rebooking policy to travelers from COVID-19 countries, or those who have recently traveled (or are traveling) to COVID-19 countries (China, South Korea, Japan, Italy).
Grand Cirlce will waive any change fees for all departures through the end of May 2020 for guests who choose to rebook another cruise in 2020 or 2021.
If you already have an existing 2020 (June and beyond) or 2021 reservation, or book a new 2020 or 2021 reservation, and for whatever reason need to change the date of travel, you can transfer to another date within 12 months of your departure and we will waive any change fees.
For 2020 reservations, you can move your departure date within 30 days of departure without any change fees. For 2021 reservations, you will be charged a change fee if you move your departure date within 30 days of departure.
Lindblad Expeditions has outlined the line’s cancellation policy, which allows passengers to cancel their 2020 expedition departing April 1 or later, provided they give us at least 24 hours' notice, and receive 100 percent credit for their expedition fare, which they may use on any future expedition in 2020 or 2021. This policy will stay in effect until at at least June 30, 2020.
Travel advisors will also be offered an incremental $1,000 per person per booking for all new bookings made during that same time period. It will be for the travel advisors to determine how they would like to use it, whether in the form of incremental commission, reduction in the price of the trip, to help in offsetting the cost of flights (or air change fees if they are helping a client rebook their travel), or some combination thereof.
In a letter sent to travel advisors, Sven Lindblad, CEO of Lindblad Expedition, said: "You know your clients and their situation best, so we are putting the power in your hands.
Marella revealed a flexible booking policy on March 17 to offer passengers with existing Marella Cruises and TUI River Cruise package holidays, taking place on or before July 31, the opportunity to amend for free to any holiday on sale. Changes can be made up to seven days before the original departure date, and final payment deadlines will move to 12 weeks prior to the new departure date.
MSC has adapted its cancellation policy to allow cruisers to cancel their existing reservation for sailings on or before September 30, 2020, up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a future cruise credit for the amount paid, excluding government taxes, fees and pre-paid items. The FCC can be applied to any future cruise departing on or before December 31, 2021.
Those wishing to participate in MSC's Cruise Assurance program must fill out an online form in order to cancel their existing reservation and recieve an FCC.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian is offering a short term Peace of Mind policy, which gives anyone who books a Norwegian Cruise Line sailing through November 30, 2020, the ability to cancel up to 48 hours prior to the sail date and receive a 100 percent future cruise credit for use on any sailings through December 31, 2022.
Oceania has introduced a Travelers Assurance Program, allowing passengers to cancel up to 48 hours prior to cruise departures and receive a future cruise credit equal to 100 percent of the cruise fare paid.
The new policy is valid for all existing and new reservations for voyages departing through September 30, 2020. Future cruise credit must be redeemed within one year of issue and travel must commence by December 31, 2022.
Additionally, passengers and travel advisors can book with confidence knowing that up to the day of sailing, should there be another applicable public promotion that offers a better value through amenities or price, they may take advantage of that promotional offer and/or price as long as the same category of accommodations is available and that promotion is still open for sale. If there is a better promotion or price after you've made your final payment, Oceania will provide an upgrade, shipboard credit or future cruise credit.
P&O Cruises' flexible cancellation policy temporarily removes restrictions on its Transfer Policy. This means that passengers sailing before September 1, 2020, can :
- Transfer their booking to any cruise currently on sale (not just to those within the next 12 months);
- Transfer their booking to a cruise of higher or lower value (not just of a higher value, as is usually the case);
- Transfer their booking an unlimited number of times (not just once);
- Transfer their bookings free of charge without the typical £100 administration charge for each transfer made.
This can all be done up to 48 hours before departure.
Passengers booked on a P&O Cruises sailing before September 1, 2020, may also cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure. Canceled bookings within balance due will receive a future cruise credits equivalent to 110 percent of the full balance. The Future Cruise Credit can be used up to December 31, 2021, and can be redeemed against any P&O Cruises sailing until the end of March 2022.
Passengers wishing to request a refund for a future cruise (minus cancellation fees), are advised to call 0344 338 8636.
P&O Cruises Australia
P&O is temporarily delaying the final payment for cruises departing up to September 30, 2020. Final payment can be made 30 days prior to the date of departure, instead of the standard 75 days. Cruises departing September 1 to 30, 2020, can now be canceled up to 48 hours prior to sailing for a FCC valid until December 31, 2021.
Cruises departing from October 1, 2020, onward will revert to the standard final payment schedule of 75 days prior to departure.
If P&O cancels the cruise, it will provide a full refund or compensation offer. More information is available here.
Pandaw is offering a flexible booking policy that allows cruisers who make a booking for next season to convert any money paid for that cruise into a credit that can be used for another date or travel or itinerary within 12 months of the original sailing date without penalty. This does not include money paid for flights or hotel arrangements.
Ponant has revised its booking policy: New bookings made on sailings departing in 2020 will only require a 10 percent deposit and guests may cancel up to 30 day prior to departure without penalty.
Additionally, for new bookings on 2020, 2021 and 2022 sailings, guests may cancel up to 90 days after confirmation and receive a full refund of their deposit.
For existing bookings, final payment is relaxed by 30 days. For example, if final payment was due 60 days before departure, it is now due 30 days before.
Princess Cruises is offering passengers on canceled sailings, who have paid in full, an FCC for 100 percent of the fare paid plus a bonus FCC equal to 25 percent of the cruise fare.
Guests on canceled voyages who have not yet paid in full will recieve an FCC for double the currently paid deposit amount. This FCC can be used on any voyage through May 1, 2022, provided that the matching bonus FCC does not exceed the base fare of the cruise. The FCC will have a minimum value of $100 per person.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent has launched Return with Regent, which includes a reduced 10 percet deposit, plus a $1,000 shipboard credit, and allows passengers to cancel their cruise for any reason up to 15 days before departure date and receive a 100 percent Future Cruise Credit (FCC).
Valid for new bookings made by July 31, 2020, Return with Regent is applicable to all sailings through 2022, expanding the line’s “cancel for any reason” policy to cover all possible destinations and voyages. Passengers who have purchased their flights through Regent will also receive the full cost of their flights as part of their FCC if they cancel 65 days in advance.
Riviera River Cruises
Riviera River Cruises has amended its cancellation policy so that the required deposit of $400 is fully refundable up to 60 days after being made. If a booking is canceled after 60 days, the deposit will be transferred to a future 2020 departure.
For those who have already deposited or paid in full, any 2020 booking can be canceled with 24 hours notice, with the full cost of the cruises credited to a future 2020 cruise. If the future cruise costs more, the cruiser will be responsible for paying the difference.
Royal Caribbean's new "Cruise With Confidence" policy allows cruisers to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing. Those who cancel will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of their choice through April 2022. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings for cruises booked on or before August 1, 2020.
Additionally, cruisers can call up to 48 hours prior to departure if they find a lower price on their sailing and receive the difference as a nonrefundable onboard credit (or a rate adjustment if outside final payment).
Royal Caribbean also introduced its new "Lift and Shift" program, allowing cruisers to move their 2020 sailing to a comparable cruise in 2021 or 2022, within four weeks of the original departure date (but for the following year) with full price protection. To be eligible, passengers must move their sailing on or before August 1, 2020.
Saga has introduced no cancellation fees or changes on cruises scheduled to depart prior to the end of August. Passengers can transfer their existing bookings to a 2021 voyage for no additional charge, with £100 pere person off any river or ocean cruise.
Sea Cloud Cruises
Cruisers booked on a Sea Cloud sailing booked until on or before May 31 that departs anytime in 2020 cancel free of charge up until one month prior to the departure date.
Seabourn has updated its Book with Confidence policy through 2021. For existing and new bookings made by 31 July 2020 on sailings departing by 31 December 2021, guests may cancel up to 30 days prior to departure and receive a 100 percent future cruise credit of any payment already made to Seabourn and currently within cancellation fees.
In addition, for all sailings departing between August 1 and October 15, passengers will be able to cancel up to 30 days prior to sailing and receive a 100 percent future cruise credit.
The Future Cruise Credit granted using Book With Confidence will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue and may then be used to book sailings departing up to December 31, 2022.
Scenic is giving cruisers the option to transfer their booking to an alternate cruise departure without penalty, up to 30 days prior to sailing. The policy applies to all currently booked cruisers with a departure on or after June 1, 2020 as well as to anyone booking after that date.
For cancellations 14 days prior, passengers receive a full future travel credit valid for cruises up to Dec 31, 2021.
Silversea's new Cruise With Confidence policy allows cruisers to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing. Those who cancel will receive a full credit for their fare, valid for two years from the date of issue. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings for cruises with a sailing date before December 31, 2020.
Additionally, Silversea will negotiate on the passenger's behalf for the same cancellation options on other components of the booking such as air travel, hotels and shore excursions. However, Silversea does not have control over these third-party suppliers, and, therefore, different terms may apply for these specific components.
With the Cruise As You Wish assurance and booking option, all new and existing bookings made for any Star Cruises sailing prior to or on July 31, 2020, will have the flexibility to cancel up to 48 hours prior to sailing and receive 100 percent future cruise credit to be redeemed on any Dream Cruises or Star Cruises sailing embarking on or before December 31, 2020.
Passengers who have paid in full for any Tauck cruise scheduled to sail between July 16 and August 31, 2020, who wish to cancel their bookings will have all cancel fees (including guest or cruise protection product premiums) issued back to them in the form of a travel credit that can be used on any 2020 to 2021 Tauck offering. Airline change fees will not be covered for guests who voluntarily cancel.
Passengers who have not paid in full for any Tauck cruise scheduled to sail between July 16 and August 31, 2020, must pay their final payment 30 days prior to departure. Anyone who cancels after making their final payment will be subject to the cancellation policy as listed above.
At present, all of Tauck's standard cancellation policies apply for cruises scheduled for September 1, 2020, and beyond.
A future credit equal to the full value of the booking is offered for all suspended tours and cruises. Travelmarvel will absorb any applicable third-party fees (some airline fees apply). The credit is valid for travel with Travelmarvel until the end of 2021 and it can be used for multiple bookings or partly transferred to a person accompanying you on an alternative trip.
Travelmarvel has extdended its Temporary Deferment policy. For the latest policy, check the company's updates here.
Guests can cancel up to 14 days prior to their cruise and receive a future cruise credit for the penalty amount incurred at time of cancellation, or they can rebook any 2020 or 2021 cruise or cruise-tour with price protection. Penalized amount will be transferred to their new booking. Non-penalized amount will be refunded at the time of cancellation. Airfares booked through Uniworld are subject to airline cancellation fees. If Travel Protection was purchased, the Travel Protection can be transferred to the new reservation. Guests also have the option to rebook with one of the line's other Travel Corporation brands for 2020 or 2021.
Passengers also have the option to rebook with one of the company's Travel Corporation sister brands for 2020 or 2021. This policy is valid for all 2020 bookings, except for cruise/tours booked for Oberammergau.
Viking's new temporary cancellation policy allows passengers to postpone their ocean or river cruise at any time, up to 24 hours prior to departure, without incurring any cancellation fees. Passengers will be issued a voucher good for future Viking travel that is valid for 24 months and can be transferred to any Viking cruise, either river or ocean. This temporary exemption applies to all guests with existing bookings made prior to May 31, 2020.
Virgin Voyages has introduced its Smooth Sailing program for 2020 that offers introductory pricing and flexible cancellation policies to allow cruisers to book with confidence. Passengers (known as Sailors in Virgin nomenclature) can cancel any booked sailing up to 48 hours prior to departure to receive a 100 percent Voyage Credit. Additionally, for voyages departing through December 16, 2020, Virigin is now moving the final payment date to 60 days prior to departure, up from the standard 120-day final payment window.
Windstar announced a new sweeping cancellation policy, which it calls the Travel Assurance Booking Policy, that is applicable to new and existing cruises departing through December 31, 2021. This policy allows passengers with bookings departing after this date to cancel their cruise up to 15 days prior to departure without incurring a cancellation penalty. It applies to new and existing cruise bookings for departures scheduled through December 31, 2021. Cruisers who elect to cancel their sailing 15 days prior to departure will receive a future cruise credit that can be applied to any Windstar sailing departing one year from the date of issue.