INDIANAPOLIS — The CDC is telling people to avoid cruises, regardless of vaccination status.
Their COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level is now a Level 4, the highest level, saying it reflects the "increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification of the omicron variant."
As for setting sail, that is a personal decision.
Yes, I'm comfortable sailing
If you still want to go on your trip, it should be business as usual. Keep in mind there may be fewer activities or shows available on-board.
If the cruise company cancels on you, you are owed a refund.
If the government holds up boarding, the carrier determines your refund based on the delay length.
At Royal Caribbean, the delay needs to be three days. For Norwegian Cruise Line, it is one day.
What about a positive COVID test?
Should you get COVID within 14 days of the trip, you are entitled to a refund.
If someone you're traveling with tests positive, you should get a refund as well. However, the positive person likely needs to be assigned to the same room as you.
No, I am not comfortable sailing
Future cruise credits are up to the companies.
Royal Caribbean's site says, "If you made your booking by January 31, 2022, it falls under our Cruise with Confidence policy, meaning you can cancel your reservation and receive a 100% Future Cruise Credit. You just need to let us know at least 48 hours before your sail date."
Norwegian's site says, "For new and existing bookings made by January 31, 2022, for any voyage with an embarkation date through and including May 31, 2022, guests are free to cancel up to and including January 31, 2022. Anyone choosing to cancel will receive a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit to be used for sailings that embark through December 31, 2022. Reservations cancelled outside of final payment will receive a full refund back to the method of payment used to book. If outside final payment and an FCC was used as payment, the original FCC will be added back to the guest’s profile."
If it's cash you want back and not a credit, that's subject to the company's cancellation policy. Those differ, based on the length of the cruise and when you set sail.
What are the cruise lines saying?
The Cruise Lines International Association's statement said, in part, "The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard - far fewer than on land and the majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore."
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