This cruise line is offering travelers major discounts to rebook canceled trips
Norwegian Cruise Line is pulling out all the stops to get people to rebook canceled cruises.
The Miami-based line this week is offering passengers on sailings canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak an extra 20% off fares if they agree to apply the money they paid for the canceled trips to a future sailing. That's on top of a 25% bonus credit the line already was offering to passengers on canceled sailings.
The only catch: Passengers must book the new sailings by April 27, just 13 days from today.
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Norwegian announced a global pause to its operations on March 13 and has canceled all departures through May 14.
Like many lines that have canceled sailings due to the coronavirus outbreak, Norwegian has been offering passengers on its canceled trips a choice of a full refund (actual cash back) or a "future cruise credit" in the amount of 125% of the fare paid.
Related: Why you should choose a refund, not a credit, for a canceled cruise
Norwegian has offered a few passengers who were on sailings canceled in mid-March an even bigger future cruise credit of 150%.
The new offer adds a 20% discount on top of those credits.
In announcing the extra discount, Norwegian also said passengers on canceled sailings who want to request a refund instead of taking the future cruise credit must do so by April 27.
Customers must opt-in for a refund by filling out a form on Norwegian's website. Otherwise, they will automatically be assigned a future cruise credit.
Norwegian said it could take up to 90 days to receive a refund.
To get the additional 20% off, customers must choose a future cruise departing from Oct. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2022. The discount will be automatically applied when they make a reservation, whether by phone or online.
The April 27 cut-off date appears designed to push customers on canceled sailings who are choosing a future cruise credit to rebook soon at current rates rather than wait to see if better deals emerge in the coming months.
As of now, Norwegian isn't offering unusually low fares for future sailings. Seven-night voyages to the Western Caribbean out of Miami in March 2021, for instance, start at $741 per person, based on double occupancy, for a windowless "inside cabin." Balcony cabins start at $1,182.
Such prices aren't unusually low for that time of year.
A spokesperson for Norwegian didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the line's 20% discount program.
One caveat for Norwegian customers who choose a future cruise credit instead of a refund: The line is assigning the credits to each individual passenger on a reservation based on the breakdown of the fares and other charges that each individual passenger originally incurred. That means if you booked a trip with your spouse and two kids, each of you will get a separate credit that must be used individually. The credit won't just arrive as one big lump sum.
Norwegian's future cruise credits can be used to book more than one future cruise.
Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak: