Ten cruise ships still at sea

Most of the world’s cruise ships are idle because of the
Covid-19 pandemic, but 10 vessels carrying about 8,000 passengers were still at
sea on Wednesday.

Some of the ships were on world cruises that started at the
beginning of January. Some have ill passengers aboard. The challenge is to get passengers home when many ports are closed.

“This has been a complex process with teams of people
working day and night to coordinate a safe and orderly return to port for
passengers and crew and cruise lines working under the direction of governments
and health authorities at every step,” said Anne Madison, a spokesperson for cruise
trade group CLIA. 

Holland America Line’s Zaandam has gotten the most media attention
because of its arduous journey and because four passengers have died on the
ship. 

The Zaandam departed on March 7 from Argentina and is now
cruising toward Florida, awaiting permission to disembark. The ship is
accompanied by the Rotterdam, which met up with the Zaandam off the coast of
Panama to deliver supplies.

The Zaandam’s voyage had been scheduled to end on March 21
in Chile, but it was turned away by South American ports. Holland America said 97 guests and 136 crew have presented
with influenza-like symptoms since March 22. A few have tested positive for
Covid-19. 

Guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have been confined to their staterooms since March 22.
___

Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess and Pacific Princess are
still sailing. Coral Princess has 1,023 guests onboard and Pacific Princess has
115, Princess Cruises said.

As of Tuesday, the medical center onboard Coral Princess was
reporting a higher-than-normal number of people with influenza-like symptoms.
Many have tested positive for regular influenza but to be cautious, all guests are
quarantined in their staterooms. All meals are being delivered by room service.
Crew members are remaining in their staterooms when they are not working.

The Coral Princess went to Bridgetown, Barbados, for a
service call on Tuesday but guests and crew were not permitted to go ashore.
The ship is scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on April 4. 

The Pacific Princess made a service call to Melbourne,
Australia, to refuel and pick up provisions. No guests or crew were allowed to
disembark. The 115 guests on board did not meet IATA’s fitness standards for
air travel or were not able to fly because of medical conditions not related to
coronavirus, Princess said. The ship is now sailing back to Los Angeles, which
is approximately a 21-day journey. 

The MSC Magnifica made a call at Fremantle, Australia,
earlier this week and has now resumed its journey back to Europe. Prior to the coronavirus
outbreak, the ship had called at Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is on its way to Southampton, England.
Most guests disembarked the ship in Fremantle, Australia, on March 14 and 15.
The ship made a technical stop in Durban, South Africa, on March 31. The Queen
Mary 2 will soon be sailing again and has 264 guests aboard, a Cunard spokeswoman
said. 

P&O Cruises has one ship still at sea — the Arcadia
with 1,404 guests onboard. The Arcadia is returning to England and is expected to
arrive on schedule on April 12. 

“Social distancing measures are being rigorously enforced on
board,” said Michele Andjel, vice president of public relations for P&O
Cruises and Carnival U.K.

Other ships trying to make port, according to
CruiseMapper.com, are the Costa Deliziosa, the Astor (owned by Germany-based
Premicon) Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Columbus and the expedition ship Greg
Mortimer.

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Royal Caribbean Extends Cruise With Confidence Package

Royal Caribbean says the decision has been made to extend their “Cruise with Confidence” policy to include all sailings departing on-or-before September 1st, 2020.

As a reminder, the Cruise with Confidence policy allows guests to cancel up to 48-hours prior to their sail date in exchange for a 100% Future Cruise Credit valid for redemption on sailings departing on-or-before December 31st, 2021. In addition, travel partner commission is protected on both ends – the canceled booking and the future booking where the FCC is redeemed.

In addition to the above, they are also announcing some additional flexibility to a few of their normal policies:

For sailings through September 1st, 2020: Double name changes are allowed until 48-hours prior to the sail date for both individual and group reservations

For sailings through December 31st, 2020: Group touchpoints at 180 days-to-sailing and 120 days-to-sailing have been waived, allowing the ability to hold space until Final Payment.

A trade communication will be released shortly and all information on Loyaltoyoualways.com updated accordingly.

FAQs: http://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Royal/General_Info/Cancelation_Policy_FAQs.pdf

Here is a statement from Royal Caribbean:

We understand that your client may be concerned about their upcoming travel plans, especially with the news of our operation suspension until May 11th, 2020.

While there is so much to consider and think about during this unforeseen situation, we want to make sure we do everything possible to ease any concerns, especially when it comes to your client’s upcoming vacation plans.

So, for that reason, we’re expanding our Cruise with Confidence cancellation policy to allow the flexibility to now decide to cancel up to 48-hours prior to departure for sailings departing on-or-before September 1st, 2020.

If canceled outside of final payment:

If under a Non-Refundable Deposit program – a Future Cruise Certificate in the value of the deposit and a refund for all other funds paid will be administered.

If a standard promotion was booked– a full refund of all amounts paid will be administered.

After final payment, if your client cancels up to 48 hours before their sail date:

An FCC will be administered in the amount of any funds paid towards their cruise fare to use on a cruise sailing departing on-or-before December 31st, 2021.

Your client can expect to receive his/her FCC via email within 30 days of when the cancellation was request.

We hope that this policy provides your clients with comfort – knowing your clients can choose to sail as planned or sail at a later time. Either way, we want you to have the perfect cruise vacation/holiday.

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American Queen, Victory Cruises Offer Their Vessels for Military Use

American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC) and her sister carrier Victory Cruise Lines (VCL) have offered up their currently-idle ships for use by the U.S. military for personnel that may need to be quarantined amid the COVID-19 health crisis, Travel Weekly revealed.

These Hornblower-owned companies join the ranks of travel operators, including hotels and cruise lines, who have made offers to the government to use their facilities to quarter patients and personnel while the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation.

Last week, in a similar move, cruise industry giant Carnival Corp. offered its ships to aid the government by serving as temporary hospital facilities while the coronavirus crisis persists. The White House has yet to declare news of whether or not it will be taking the company up on its offer.

AQSC and VCL suggested in a statement that they are, “currently exploring ways to work with the U.S. federal government for their usage of our vessels.” The proposed usage would be to house military personnel who require quarantining upon arrival from outside the U.S. or prior to departing for foreign shores.

“AQSC and VCL would be pleased to assist the federal government during this crisis, and our six vessels are readily available and on standby,” the company said.’

Cities in which the cruise lines’ vessels could potentially be stationed for such purposes include New Orleans, Norfolk, Miami, San Diego, Seattle and St. Louis.

AQSC also announced today that it would be extending the temporary suspension of operations across its entire fleet through May 16, 2020, in response to the evolving conditions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, which include the ongoing, widespread application of governmental restrictions across ports, cities and public institutions.

AQSC’s customer service team is reaching out directly to all guests and their travel agents impacted by the cancellation of those 20 sailings scheduled to take place between April 11 and May 16, 2020, regarding their available rebooking and refund options.

A special incentivized future cruise credit of 125% of the original cruise fare is being offered for use on future sailings in 2020 or 2021, or guests can alternatively seek a full refund of the original fare.

For more information, visit americanqueensteamboatcompany.com or victorycruiselines.com.

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