03 Jan Covid Advice to Cruise Passengers
The CDC recently changed its advisory on cruising from level 3 to level 4. This has prompted many questions about upcoming cruises. Below is additional information and advice to help cruisers make informed decisions.
Cruise industry response to CDC:
The cruise industry put out a statement through CLIA (their industry association group) regarding the CDC announcement. The full statement can be read in the link below. The statement discusses cruise lines information relating to testing, vaccination status, cleaning protocols and other COVID related items. The article also points out that the rate of COVID infections on cruise ships is 33% lower than the rate on land.
Additional data from Royal Caribbean Cruise line shows that since the restart of cruising they have had 1.1 million guest sail and 1794 cases of COVID onboard. That is a rate of 0.02% per test given. The rate of COVID infection on land is close to 7.5% per test given. Keep in mind that all cruise passengers are tested within 48 hours of departure or on day of departure and in some cases several times onboard the ship. The lower rate of COVID on cruise ships is due to the fact that a minimum of 95% and in many cases 100% of passengers are vaccinated. (100% of crew are vaccinated and getting boosted when eligible.)
Recommendation for Cruisers:
If you are not in penalty with the cruise line, we recommend you wait to make a decision on canceling the cruise until a few days before the penalties begin.
If your cruise is in penalty with the cruise line, we recommend you wait until a few days before departure to make a decision. With most cruise lines (not all, so check with your travel advisor) if you are within penalty, you will get a future cruise credit only and not a refund on the cruise, so you lose nothing by waiting. Check with your travel advisor about your cruise line’s specific policy on cancellations.
If your cruise is more than 4 weeks away, we recommend you take a wait and see approach and make the decision closer to departure.
Why do we recommend waiting to make this decision?
This is to protect your vacation investment.
The virus situation is constantly changing. Data from the Omicron variant from countries like South Africa and Germany show that there is a fast spike up then a rapid decline. In 4 weeks, we don’t know if we will be in a better situation or worse situation. With the cruise cancellation policies in place its more prudent to take a wait and see approach.
If you are within penalty with the cruise line you won’t get a cash refund if you cancel, you will only get a future cruise credit based on what you paid for the cruise. However, if the cruise line does end up cancelling the cruise you can get a cash refund. Taking a wait and see approach offers you the best opportunity to keep your options open for being able to choose to go on the cruise or get a refund or credit. (If you used a past future cruise credit the policy may be different.) By waiting you could receive a refund but won’t lose anything.
Talk to your advisor about the specific cancellation penalties for the cruise line on which you are sailing. The information above is general and cancellation policies vary from cruise line to cruise line.
The information above is meant to give you additional resources and insight to help you make a decision on your vacation investment. The ultimate decision to cancel or continue with your cruise is your decision to make. You should make the decision that is best based on your specific situation.
For more information on cruise line COVID procedures see the links below:
- Norwegian Cruise Line – https://www.ncl.com/sail-safe
- Royal Caribbean Cruise Line – https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq
- Princess Cruises – https://www.princess.com/plan/cruise-with-confidence/cruise-health/frequently-asked-questions/
- Celebrity Cruise Line – https://www.celebritycruises.com/healthy-at-sea/faqs
- Carnival Cruise Line – https://www.carnival.com/Legal/covid-19-legal-notices/return-to-service-faqs
- Disney Cruise Line – https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/why-cruise-disney/experience-updates/us/
- Holland America Cruise Line – https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/worry-free-promise/travel-well.html