If you were hoping to cruise to Seychelles this summer, forget about it… but you may get to sail to the Bahamas! Two island states, two tropical paradises, two opposite approaches to pandemic-related security. In the meanwhile, major cruise companies are busy making plans to get back to business. So despair not, you have good chances to see your floating holidays’ dreams come true. Miss classical cruise entertainment? A part of the fun you can get right now on Hollywood Casino in PA, while you are waiting to enjoy the live version once you finally get on board and sail to sea.
Let’s see some details. Seychelles is off the table, as we just said. They want to play it super safe. Didier Dogley, the country’s Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, made the decision to ban cruise tourism not only this year but to the end of 2021. While Bahamian prime minister Hubert Minnis admitted that his government hopes to be able to re-open to tourists by July 1st, perhaps even earlier. “Our resorts, our airports, and our seaports are finalizing the health and safety protocols that will be necessary for us to provide for a re-opening”.
Great news. The more great news is that two major cruise lines, Carnival and Norwegian, have some sailings to the Bahamas already available for August. Carnival has two four-night sailings from Port Canaveral to Nassau and Princess Cays on the Carnival Elation. Norwegian has a series of Bahamas-bound sailings leaving out of Miami, Port Canaveral, and even New York City. They have also extended their temporary “Peace of Mind” policy, that was only valid through October 2020, through November 30, 2020.
The deal is described on the Norwegian Cruise Line website: “Peace of Mind is the company’s new temporary policy that allows new and existing (non-charter) individual and group bookings (booked by July 31, 2020) embarking through and including November 30, 2020, to cancel their booking up until 48 hours from the start of their vacation date and receive a 100% future cruise credit (FCC). The FCC may be used for sailings that embark on or before December 31, 2022. The new booking must be made within one year of the cancelation date.”
Several cruise lines are offering similar deals with their cancellation policies, giving travelers more flexibility to reschedule their bookings. Since the situation with the pandemic is still so unpredictable, the possibility to postpone the date of sailing without losing out is very appealing. There is more. Some operators are offering credits of 125 percent of the value of a canceled cruise to encourage passengers to rebook their cruise instead of canceling and claiming a cash refund. The strategy appears to be working, if Royal Caribbean, for example, saw only 45 percent of guests asking for refunds. Bookings for 2021 are going fairly well and even later dates in 2020 are still being targeted by travelers. Despite the situation, or perhaps just because of it, quite a lot of people still have a strong desire to go on a cruise as soon as it becomes possible again.
If you are one of them, look out for deals!