Royal Caribbean and Kuoni have become the latest travel companies to offer flexible cancellation terms in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Royal Caribbean Cruises is allowing customers to cancel up to 48 hours before departure for sailings on all of its brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea.
Guests will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of in 2020 or 2021. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.
“Our previous policy set earlier deadlines for guests to cancel their cruises, and that added unnecessary stress,” said Richard Fain, the company’s chairman and chief executive.
“Trying to guess a month or more in advance where areas of concern about coronavirus might be is challenging for medical experts, much less a family preparing for vacation.
“When circumstances are as fast-changing as they have been recently, it’s good to know you have the option to take a rain check.
“We think putting more control in our guests’ hands helps them make informed decisions about whether to keep their existing vacation plans or trade out for a more convenient time or itinerary.”
The policy applies to all cruises with a sailing date on or before July 31, 2020.
Kuoni has launched a ‘Kuoni Flex‘ campaign which allows customers to change their holiday dates up until seven days before departure.
The offer is available until March 16 on holidays departing from now until February 15 2021.
The luxury operator said it had negotiated flexible booking terms and conditions with hotel partners and airlines for the campaign.
“This will bring peace of mind for a lot of customers who may be nervous about planning ahead, it means they can book now but change their mind and move to an alternative date right up until seven days before they are due to go if the situation has changed,” Kuoni chief executive Derek Jones said.
“At the moment we’re seeing people who are really keen to plan and have a holiday in the diary to look forward to – but there is a lot of nervousness around coronavirus and how it might play out which means people are hesitant to make any firm plans.”
Kuoni has also increased its customer service team to handle more customer enquiries.
Earlier on Friday Princess Cruises announced changes to its cancellation policy on a temporary basis for departures up to May 31 “to assist passengers making decisions regarding their cruise holidays during the evolving worldwide coronavirus situation”.
Passengers who choose to keep their booking for departures between March 9 and May 31 will also receive complimentary on board spending money.
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