Here’s how to cancel or postpone a cruise due to COVID-19

May 9, 2022

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


Are you booked on an upcoming cruise but worried a case of COVID-19 could derail your plans?

Although conditions on cruise ships are generally safer than on land, you might be wondering if there’s a way to cancel or postpone your voyage due to COVID-19 concerns. In some cases, the answer is yes.

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The good news for those itching to cancel a booking is that it’s easier than you might think with some lines — at least for now. Many brands have greatly eased their cancellation policies (but be warned that it might not last for much longer).

In those cases, you will be offered either a future cruise credit equal to at least the amount you paid, a refund to your original form of payment or a combination of the two. Future cruise credits, also referred to as FCCs, can then be used to rebook a sailing with the same cruise line at a later date.

Ultimately, the type of refund you’ll receive depends on the specific policies for your cruise line, how close you are to the sailing date, whether or not you’ve made your final payment and whether or not you actually have COVID-19.

Given some lines’ current flexibility — allowing cancellation as close as 48 hours to embarkation day — even if you’re tempted to cancel right now, it could be prudent to wait to see how the situation plays out. That’s especially true if your sailing is several months away. Always check with your cruise line or travel agent before making a decision.

Click on your cruise line’s name below to find out more.

Note: Generally, extra purchases — such as shore excursions, alternative dining, spa treatments and drink packages — will be refunded to the original form of payment and will not be added to any future cruise credits.

In This Post

 

Azamara

Azmara cruise ship docked
Azamara Quest. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

For those who made bookings by April 29, 2022, for sailings departing before December 31, 2022, Azamara is allowing passengers to cancel as little as 48 hours ahead of their sailings. They will receive 100% of the cruise fare paid in the form of FCC. The credit is to be used by June 30, 2023, either to book another sailing departing by June 30, 2023, or toward payment for another existing booking.

Related: What it was like on the first Azamara cruise since the line split with Royal Caribbean Group

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival‘s cancellation policy has changed recently to become less flexible. If you test positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of your sailing date or have been a close contact of someone who tests positive, you are entitled to FCC in the amount of 100% of the cruise fare paid. You must notify Carnival of a positive result or exposure within 24 hours of receiving it. (Proof is required.) If you choose to cancel your sailing without a positive test result, your refund will be issued based on the line’s standard cancellation policies.

Related: Take a look at Carnival’s Mardi Gras (yes, the one with the roller coaster)

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity cruisers who booked by March 31, 2022, for sailing dates through Sept. 30, 2022, can cancel as little as 48 hours before sailing for a full refund. If you have paid in full, the amount will be issued in the form of FCC. Credits must be used by May 31, 2022, to book a new cruise that departs by Dec. 31, 2022. If you have not paid in full, any money you have paid will be refunded to the original form of payment. Sailings booked after March 31, 2022, and those departing after Sept. 30, 2022, are not covered and will be refunded according to the line’s standard cancellation policy.

Related: Here’s a first look at Celebrity’s new Celebrity Apex

Cunard Line

cruise ship surrounded by mountains
Cunard’s Queen Victoria. (Photo by Sjo/Getty Images)

Cunard‘s policy is somewhat convoluted in that it offers a percentage refund based on not only the amount of time that remains between cancellation and the sailing date but also the length of the sailing. Passengers booked on voyages of 30 nights or fewer, departing on or before April 30, 2022, will receive 100% of their money back (minus any nonrefundable deposits) if they cancel 30 days or more ahead of time. They will receive 75% if they cancel between 22 and 29 days out, and 50% between 15 and 21 days out. All money will be forfeited for cancellations two weeks or less before sailing. For sailings departing May 1, 2022, or later, the line’s standard cancellation policies apply.

Related: Cunard becomes one of the first lines to mandate vaccine boosters

Disney Cruise Line

Disney allows passengers who test positive for COVID-19, who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days to request either a full refund to their original form of payment or a credit to be applied toward a future Disney Cruise Line sailing. Credits must be used to book a voyage that departs on or before Sept. 30, 2022.

For sailings departing through Sept. 30, 2022, travelers can cancel at least 60 days from their sailing date for reimbursement. If they cancel fewer than 60 days prior, refunds will be issued according to the temporary, flexible schedule. Cruisers who cancel without one of the above qualifications will be reimbursed based on the line’s standard cancellation policy. Rather than cancel, booked passengers on departures through May 31, 2022, can instead choose to change their sailing date at no cost if it’s done at least 15 days prior to the embarkation date.

Related: A Disney cruise vs. a visit to Disney World during the pandemic

Holland America

For bookings made by Sept. 30, 2022, for sailings departing on or before Dec. 31, 2022, Holland America is granting passengers full refunds when they cancel for any reason at least 30 days prior to sailing. Those who test positive for COVID-19 will receive full refunds right up until embarkation day. Refunds will be returned to the original form of payment, less any nonrefundable deposits or cancellation fees, which will be returned in the form of FCC to be used on a future booking.

Related: Curious about Holland America’s newest Rotterdam? Here’s a peek

MSC Cruises

If you book a cruise with MSC Cruises through May 31, 2022, and the voyage departs through March 31, 2023, you can change your booking up to 48 hours prior to your sailing date if you decide that you can’t or don’t want to embark. You must rebook your sailing when you cancel, and it must be for a sailing (any ship, any date) departing by March 31, 2023. This offer does not apply to world cruises or world cruise segments.

Related: Does MSC’s latest vessel really cater to Americans?

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian ship at sunset
Norwegian Encore. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Norwegian Cruise Line has, until further notice, extended its flexible cancellation policy, which allows passengers to cancel sailings scheduled to depart during a declared public health emergency, even if they haven’t fallen ill with COVID-19 or been a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Passengers who booked by April 30, 2022, for sailings departing through May 31, 2022, are also covered if local regulations prohibit them from traveling or require them to quarantine. Cruisers can cancel to receive a full refund in the form of FCC to be used for a different sailing, which must depart by Dec. 31, 2022. Passengers who test positive or who have been exposed will also be granted 100% FCC.

Princess Cruises

For bookings made by May 31, 2022, for sailings departing on or before September 30, 2022, Princess allows passengers to cancel 30 days or more prior to the sailing date as long as a public health emergency remains in effect. They will receive 100% of the cruise fare paid to the original form of payment, minus any penalties or nonrefundable fees, which will be returned in the form of FCC to be used to book a future voyage with the line.

Passengers are able to cancel closer to the sailing date if they or someone in their travel party tests positive for COVID-19. (Proof of a positive test result is required.)

Related: Interesting things you’ll only find on Majestic Princess

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Cruisers who book under Regent‘s Regent Reassurance program are able to cancel within 15 days of sailing to receive a full refund in the form of FCC to be used for a different voyage.

However, sailings booked after April 30, 2021, don’t qualify, so any bookings made in the latter half of 2021 or in 2022 will fall under the line’s standard refund policy. Under that policy, cruisers will forfeit anywhere from 15% to 100% of the amount they’ve paid, based on when they cancel and how long their sailing is. The line will also retain a $100 penalty fee, which is returned to guests in the form of onboard credit to be used for a future booking.

Related: A look inside Regent’s most expensive cruise ship 

Royal Caribbean

Passengers who booked by March 31, 2022, for cruises departing on or before Sept. 30, 2022, are protected by Royal Caribbean‘s Cruise With Confidence policy, which entitles them to 100% of the cruise fare paid in the form of FCC if they cancel for any reason. The FCC must be used on a sailing that departs within one year of when the FCC is issued. Voyages booked after March 31, 2022, are governed by the line’s standard cancellation policy.

The line has also made allowances for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, has a member of their party test positive or who has been deemed a close contact within 14 days of sailing. Anyone in those situations is eligible to receive a refund or FCC. Refund requests must be received within six months of cancellation or the embarkation date (whichever is earlier). If a refund request is not made by that time, passengers will automatically receive credit for a future voyage.

Related: Vaccinated vs. unvaccinated experiences on a Royal Caribbean sailing

Seabourn

Seabourn ship leaving shore
Seabourn Ovation. (Photo by Jimmy Dunn/Getty Images)

Seabourn is allowing more flexibility for travelers who aren’t comfortable cruising right now. For bookings made prior to May 31, 2022, for voyages departing before September 30, 2022, passengers can cancel up to 30 days before sailing and receive a full refund to the original form of payment, minus any nonrefundable amounts, which will instead be issued as FCC. If you test positive for COVID-19 or have been directly exposed fewer than 30 days before you embark, you’re also entitled to the above.

For sailings that don’t fall within those parameters, the line’s standard cancellation policies apply.

Related: Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about booking future travel now

Silversea

For all Silversea sailings scheduled to depart through March 31, 2023, cruisers can cancel and choose either a full refund or credit to be used for a future cruise booking with the line. This is also true for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or who has been a close contact of someone who has tested positive within 30 days of embarkation day.

Viking

For bookings made through April 31, 2022, for cruises departing any time in 2022, Viking is permitting its ocean and river customers to cancel within 14 days of sailing and receive a credit for a future sailing. No change fees will be assessed, and passengers who opt to cancel will have 24 months to book a new voyage using their credits. Plus, unlike most other lines’ credits, Viking’s are transferable, so you can gift them to a friend or family member if you don’t think you’ll use them.

Virgin Voyages

Anyone who books a Virgin Voyages sailing on or before May 31, 2022, for a cruise departing on or before Oct. 15, 2022, is eligible to receive a full refund in the form of FCC when they cancel at least 48 hours before they’re scheduled to set sail. Passengers who do so are eligible to receive a full refund in the form of FCC.

Related: First impressions of Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady from an expert cruiser

Windstar Cruises

Cruisers booked on Windstar voyages departing through June 30, 2022, can cancel as late as 48 hours before their scheduled embarkation day. Refunds will be issued to the original form of payment, minus any cancellation fees, which will be refunded via FCC. Credits must be used toward a new booking within 24 months of issuance.

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Featured photo courtesy of MSC Cruises.

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