Cruise Industry Scambles as Trump Cancels Cruises Already Booked
“Without warning, CLIA cruise line members are forced to eliminate all Cuba destinations from all itineraries effective immediately. This affects nearly 800,000 passenger bookings that are scheduled or already underway. All these bookings had been made under a general license previously issued by the United States Government that authorized ‘people to people’ travel to Cuba,” a CLIA spokesperson said in a statement.
Carnival Cruise Line posted on its website “”effective immediately, cruise ship travel is no longer allowed and we are required to cancel our visit to Havana.”
Royal Caribbean (which also owns Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises) sated “We are aware of the new U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba and we are analyzing the details to understand the impact to future sailings. We expect to know more within the next 24 hours and will communicate any changes as soon as we are able. In the meantime, we are adjusting the itineraries of our June 5 and June 6 sailings, which will no longer stop in Cuba. We are communicating with our guests and our trade partners about those changes.”
MSC announced “cruise ships are no longer allowed to call Cuba after departing a U.S. port. As a result of these substantial changes in U.S. law and regulation, Miami-based MSC Armonia is no longer authorized to call Havana, Cuba.” “We will share MSC Armonia’s updated Caribbean itineraries with our guests and business partners by close of business tomorrow June 6.”
What happens if I’m already booked?
The cruise lines will offer new itineraries to passengers already booked, but for many travelers they wanted a cruise to Cuba. For those passengers who have not made their final payment, we expect that those passengers will be offered a full refund if they do not want to accept the changed itinerary. Given that over 800,000 passengers are already booked on Cuba cruises, it will take a while for the cruise lines sort out new itineraries, notify their guests and travel agents.
Passengers who have made their final payment (usually 90 – 120 days before sailing), will be treated in a way more akin to changes in itinerary due to a hurricane. Norwegian Cruise Line is the first to post how it will handle the cancellations of its near term cruises.
Norwegian Cruise Line Policy
Sailings through and including September 2, 2019
Those guests currently sailing on Norwegian Sun who departed on June 3 as well as all guests booked on Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun cruises to Cuba through and including the September 2, 2019 departure will receive a 50% refund of the cruise fare paid as well as a 50% future cruise credit valid for sailings through December 31, 2021. Refunds for June 2019 and July 2019 sailings will be processed by June 30, 2019 while refunds for August 2019 sailings will be processed by July 31, 2019.
Refunds will be applied to the original form of payment. This process will be automatic and requires no action from you. Standard cancellation policies apply for those guests who choose not to sail. Visa fees arranged through Norwegian Cruise Line will be refunded and government taxes and fees will be adjusted accordingly.
Sailings beyond September 2, 2019
Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Sun Cuba sailings beyond September 2, 2019 will be automatically cancelled. New itineraries will be announced in the coming weeks. Refunds will be applied to the original form of payment. Travel Partner commissions will be protected on all deposited bookings and will be distributed by June 30, 2019. For those guests impacted by these auto-cancellations, we are offering a 20% discount (off current cruise fare) on any new bookings on future sailings booked by August 5, 2019 and sailing no later than December 31, 2020.
We will add additional cruise line information as it becomes available.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Policy
BOOKINGS WITHIN FINAL PAYMENT If you sail with us on the new itinerary, you will receive: A refund of 50% per stateroom of your cruise fare paid, as a credit to your onboard account. This amount will be based on your total cruise fare, excluding any taxes and fees. If your onboard spend does not reach this amount, the remaining balance will be refunded to your credit card on file once you’ve completed your cruise. You’ll also receive a refund for any pre-paid Royal Caribbean International Cuban shore excursions as a credit to your onboard SeaPass account. Both of these credits can be use anywhere onboard and if you don’t use them, they’ll be refunded back onto your credit card on file.
BOOKINGS OUTSIDE FINAL PAYMENT If you sail with us on the new itinerary, you will receive: A 50% reduction of your cruise fare, excluding any taxes and fees. This amount will be discounted off of your current cruise fare and will be reflected on your reservation by Wednesday, June 12th, 2019. If you paid your reservation in full, you’ll automatically receive a refund for any overpayment. You should see this reflected on your credit card by June 19th, 2019. Please know, times may vary depending on your financial institution. If you haven’t yet paid in full, your remaining balance will be based on this 50% cruise fare reduction. Additionally, you’ll receive a refund for any affected pre-paid Royal Caribbean International Cuban shore excursions to your original form of payment. Our Shore Excursions Team will send you an email with the details within the next 3 business days. IF GUESTS WANT TO CANCEL While we hope you choose to stay, if you decide not to sail with us, we’ll provide you with a full refund of any paid portion of your cruise fare to the original form of payment, including any non-refundable deposits. Guests must cancel by: o June 7th, 2019 on MJ 6/10/19, NE 6/10/19, MJ 6/15/19, NE 6/15/19 & MJ 6/19/19 sail dates o June 19th, 2019 for MJ & NE sailings departing on or after 6/23/19 Please note, if you choose this option, we will not provide additional compensation. You will receive your refund between 3 – 5 business days from the date you cancel. We are sorry for this unexpected and sudden change, and we thank you for your understanding. It’s important to us that every aspect of your vacation is enjoyable, whether you are celebrating a special occasion, or looking to explore, relax, and recharge – we have no doubt your time with us will be amazing. We look forward to welcoming you onboard soon.
MSC Cruises Policy
In connection with the U.S. Administration changes to regulations regarding travel to Cuba which eliminate as of June 5 the prior authorization permitting cruise ships to travel from the U.S. to Cuba, MSC Cruises will modify effective immediately all its cruise itineraries previously scheduled to call that country.
Due to these substantial changes in U.S. law and regulation, MSC Armonia is no longer authorized to call the port of Havana, Cuba, as part of her current Caribbean sailings. The alternative ports of either Key West, Florida; Costa Maya, Mexico; George Town, Cayman Islands; or Cozumel, Mexico will replace Havana, Cuba. The remainder of MSC Armonia’s itinerary will remain as originally planned.
Guests currently on board MSC Armonia and their travel agents have already been informed and will receive:
- $400 USD per stateroom as onboard credit. If this credit is not fully used during the cruise, MSC Cruises will refund the difference upon check-out from the ship. Any shore excursions in Havana that were pre-purchased before the cruise, or which are included in the ticket, will be automatically refunded to the Guest’s onboard account.
Guests on future MSC Armonia sailings that was scheduled to visit Cuba will be offered:
- The possibility to change ship and itinerary. MSC Cruises will waive cancellation fees and transfer already paid funds to the new booking.
Seabourn Cruises Policy
The Seabourn Veendam was scheduled to sail to Cuba in November. Seabourn will announce its new itinerary by June 15. Guest who accept this new itinerary will receive special pricing (not yet specified) and a shipboard credit of $250 to $500 based on their stateroom category. Guests who choose to switch to another cruise of up to 14 days will receive a 10% discount. Passengers will have the option of cancelling for a full refund.
Azamara Club Cruises Policy
2019 Sailings – Azamara statement: We are very disappointed to share that effective immediately the U.S. government has implemented new regulations that prohibits travel from the U.S. to Cuba by cruise ship. While this decision is completely outside of our control, we are immediately replacing all Cuban ports. For all 2019 sailings on the Azamara Journey, we have secured alternative ports and we are in the process of communicating the new itineraries to our booked guests and travel partners.
Guests will have the option to re-book on any other Azamara voyage, in the same category, for the cruise fare paid or prevailing rate, whichever is more favorable to our guest. If the guests choose to book another sailing, other benefits and incentives will apply. If a guest chooses to cancel instead, a full refund for the amount paid will be processed to the original form of payment and compensation for travel changes will also be provided.
We are sorry for this unexpected and sudden change imposed on all of us and appreciate our guests’ patience and flexibility as we adjust to accommodate the new regulation. Our goal remains the same – to ensure that your Azamara vacation will deliver the highest standards of service and quality for which we are known.
2020 Sailings – Unfortunately Azamara bungled the handling of 2020 cruises. After telling guests they would have new itineraries in a week, instead Azamara cancelled all sailings in the Caribbean for 2020, leaving all of their guests high and dry. It offered a measly credit of $500 for regular stateroom and $1000 for suites if guests rebook another Azamara cruise. Otherwise, guests can cancel with no compensation at all. Not the kind of response we expected from Azamara. It is disappointing.
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