Scenic Jewel

(10:25 a.m. EDT) -- In a unique move, Scenic will offer a river cruising travel guarantee for all its passengers that will issue monetary refunds for delays and cancellations stemming from river water levels, weather, labor strikes, mechanical breakdowns and natural disasters.

The guarantee, which begins in 2017, comes at no charge to booked passengers and goes into effect once the cruise commences. Under the policy, passengers will receive direct monetary refunds, up to $750 per day with a maximum of seven days, or $5,250 per person (as opposed to the industry standard of future cruise credits).

As with any insurance policy, there's some fine print. Here are the circumstances in which reimbursements will be given.

  • A complete halt to the itinerary where the ship is unable to sail and where Scenic cannot deliver the scheduled shore excursions except by way of coach rides of greater than three hours each way;
  • Where Scenic has the ability to accommodate passengers on another Scenic Space-Ship due to high/low water but the itinerary is delayed for more than 24 hours;
  • If there is a mechanical breakdown on the ship that results in it not being able to continue the cruise and there are no alternative ships available;
  • If due to industrial action (strikes, riots, river or canal lock damage or closure) Scenic is unable to pass through a lock stopping the cruise from continuing.

Situations that won't be covered: Embarkation or disembarkation less than 100 kilometers from the scheduled port, ship swaps that do not incur a delay of more than 24 hours, replacement of scheduled itinerary activities with alternates of similar quality, and short term delays in the itinerary due to high/low water issues.

The insurance also doesn't cover personal or medical travel issues; Scenic (and Cruise Critic) recommend that cruise passengers buy personal travel insurance as well.

--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor