coronavirus cruise

People in Canada are complaining they can't get refunds from cruises because of coronavirus

If there's any ideal time to take a vacation on a cruise ship, it certainly isn't now in the wake of the worldwide novel coronavirus outbreak. 

After several cruise ships had to be quarantined due to the spread of the virus on board, the Canadian government is officially advising that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel — point blank.

But what about all the Canadians that already have cruises planned and booked for the upcoming months?

Most major cruise lines have implemented temporary cancellation policies in the wake of the novel coronavirus, but many residents are furious that they're not actually offering full refunds. 

Royal Caribbean International, for instance, is allowing anyone who has booked a cruise from now until July 31 to cancel up to 48 hours before the ship sets sail, but travelers will only receive a future cruise credit that can be used until December 31, 2021.

Similarly, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that guests who have a trip booked between March 10 and September 30 can cancel up to 48 hours from embarkation and receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit for any sailing through December 31, 2022.  

Carnival Corporation and Disney Cruise Line have also introduced similar policy changes. 

Herbert Wolf, a tourism expert who runs his own travel agency, told Global News the offer of a future cruise credit is fairly standard across the board and that giving full refunds could possibly put cruise companies out of business. 

Still, whether it's from the actual cruise companies themselves or through insurance, many Canadians really want their money back . 

"Canada and the United States are now saying to avoid cruises but unfortunately without a level 3 travel advisory to that effect people with these bookings cannot get refunds via insurance," one Twitter user wrote. "Please provide the requisite advisory for cruises."

"@CarnivalCruise please reconsider your cancellation policy and allow pax full refunds now there is a Canadian public health advisory against cruise travel," another wrote.

And some are concerned that Canadians who can't get a refund will still go on their cruises, despite the government's advisory, in order to not lose their money. 

The Canadian government updated its cruise ship travel advisory on March 9. Last week, they warned of the potential dangers of cruise ships in the face of the virus outbreak. 

This morning, they intensified the warning.

"The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is recommending that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak," the travel advisory states.

"Recent cruise ship outbreaks of COVID-19 indicate that a large number of individuals onboard can become infected. While the majority of affected passengers may experience mild symptoms, there have been a significant number of cases requiring hospitalization and critical care, and some deaths have been reported."

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