Royal Caribbean Group, which includes Azamara, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and Silversea, will be extending its voluntary suspension of cruising through Dec. 31, 2020 as the cruise line prepares to restart in 2021. This cancellation includes all 2020 sailings except those from Singapore.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lifted the No Sail order but Royal Caribbean needs more time to meet the new regulations and requirements it has set forth.
Unlike all of the other cancellations Royal Caribbean has made up until this point, this new round of cancelled cruises is for a different reason.
Rather than being prohibited by the CDC from sailing at all, the pathway for cruises to restart has opened, and Royal Caribbean is working on satisfying the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC’s) stringent rules.
In a statement, Royal Caribbean said the cancellations were necessary to prepare for restarting cruises, “We are eager to welcome our guests back onboard while keeping their safety, as well as that of our crew members, our number one priority. We’re committed to taking the time needed to do things right. We plan to utilize this time to thoroughly train our staff and crew on our new health and safety protocols, while also conducting a number of trial sailings to stress-test these measures in real-world conditions.”
Guests impacted by the cancelled cruises between December 1 – 31, 2020 have three options for compensation.
Lift & Shift: Select next year’s sailing with the same itinerary type, sailing length, stateroom category, and within the same 4-week window of the original cruise date, and you can take your existing reservation and move it to next year. Option expires on November 13, 2020.
125% Future Cruise Credit: To account for the inconvenience this has caused, guests are eligible for a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that is based on the total cruise fare paid at the guest-level if neither of the other options is selected.
Taxes and fees, as well as any pre-purchased amenities or onboard packages will be automatically refunded to the original form of payment within 45 days from the cancellation date.
If your client previously opted to take advantage of the Cruise with Confidence policy, the 100% FCC will stand, and this new option is ineligible.
Additionally, if a Cruise with Confidence Future Cruise Credit was used on a sailing that is now cancelled, the original FCC will be reinstated, plus 125% of any amount paid by the guest on the cancelled reservation.
If your client prefers a cash refund, they can do so by requesting this option on-or-before December 31, 2020.
Refund will be issued inthe original form of payment within 45 days from the cancellation date.
If your client redeemed a Cruise with Confidence Future Cruise Credit on an impacted sailing and would now prefer a refund instead, Royal Caribbean will process this request in the amount of any new funds paid above the original certificate and, in turn, will reinstate the Cruise with Confidence FCC for future use.
The framework for conditional sailing is meant to potentially allow cruise ships to sail again while not putting the public health at risk.
There are three key phases to Royal Caribbean being able to restart cruises:
- Testing crew members
- Simulated cruises to test out new protocols
- Apply for a Conditional Sailing Certificate
While many are eager for cruises to resume, Royal Caribbean Group executives are insistent that they while they are equally eager to resume operations, they will only do so when it is safe to do so.