What a busy week of cruise news it was! We saw even further extensions on the pause on operations from cruise lines, more tragic news concerning crew members, and continued frustrations from guests who have still not yet received their cruise vacation refund.
So Here’s the weekly cruise news roundup from Cruise Hive which you can read through on our web site at cruisehive.com or watch on our YouTube channel. Also, before we get stuck into all the updates, don’t forget to subscribe, we really would appreciate it and we will work hard on keeping you updated on all things cruise.
Let’s get updated…
Princess Cruises Responds on Refund Frustration
Princess Cruises has responded to frustrated guests who have still not received their refund. The cruise line posted on social media that it understands the frustrations and is working hard on making sure the backlog continues to be worked through.
The cruise line which is owned by the Carnival Corporation said it had already refunded millions of dollars but its systems were not designed to handle such a large volume in a short period of time.
Princess Cruises has increased the number of team members working on refunding guests and modifications have been made to the system. The good news is that the cruise line has started to increase the rate of the refunds and now processing much faster than before. Let’s hope those of you who have been waiting all this time won’t be waiting for much longer.
A lot of Updates from Royal Caribbean
It’s been a busy week for Royal Caribbean with an update on its business operations and the cancellation of even more cruises.
Royal Caribbean revealed that the majority of the repatriation effort is now complete and the focus is now shifting towards the “New Normal” of cruising. The cruise line is looking at new procedures and guidelines to make sure guests and crew will always remain safe.
This will likely mean new types of checks during embarkation and changes onboard to limit any virus spread. Royal Caribbean will be working with agencies such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to implement anything new.
Some good news from the business update was that 2021 bookings are in line with historical rates so that is a good sign indeed. We could see a nice return to normality by next year, fingers crossed.
Royal Caribbean which also includes Celebrity Cruises has decided to extend its pause on cruise operations just to be on the safe side and due to no word on the CDC “No-Sail Order.” Cruises are now expected to resume from August 1 but it’s likely not all sailings will begin immediately and it will be a phased-in return. However, sailings in China are set to make a return in July which means there is some light at the end of the tunnel for everyone else.
A Week of Extensions From Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line has also been busy by announcing that its “Pease of Mind” policy will be available for even longer. Any existing or new reservation made by July 31, 2020 for any voyage through November 30, 2020, guests are free to cancel anytime up to 48 hours in advance of departure.
The cruise line has also announced a further extension on its pause of cruise operations. The first cruises are now scheduled to begin from August 1, 2020 with all operations on hold through July 31. This also impacts other NCL brands including Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.
Until then, the cruise line will still continue to repatriate crew members and reduce costs by putting ships into a cold layup with only essential workers onboard.
Bad News and More Bad News about Virgin Voyages
And we finally come to Virgin Voyages which has also announced a further extension on its suspension on cruise operations. The cruise line hasn’t even officially welcomed its new Scarlet Lady cruise ship yet and now we have to wait even longer until she can begin cruising from Miami.
The cruise line has announced that sailings will now start from October 16. This comes after Virgin Voyages previously announced that cruises would begin in July. Those impacted by the canceled cruises will be credited double the amount of what was paid for the fare and even up to $500 of onboard credit, how about that!
Virgin also launched a new “Smooth Sailing” program which offers guests more confidence when booking. The final payment date is being moved to 60 days before departure rather than the previous 120 days. Guests can cancel their cruise up to 48 hours before the ship sets sail and receive a 100% voyage credit.
We end the news round up with some sad news. A crew member who was from the Philippines has sadly passed away on the Scarlet Lady cruise ship. We’ve got more details about this on our web site but this does leady us to say a huge thank you to all the crew members who have been stuck at sea and still are during this very very difficult time.
There’s nothing worse than being away from family and not knowing if you’ll be able to get back home. There are still some crew members who remain on ships and so please do spare a thought for them.
No doubt it will be another full week of cruise news as the industry looks forward and works on dealing with the pause on operations.