Holland America Line has made the decision to extend its pause of global cruise operations and cancel all sailings scheduled to depart through June 30, 2020. This includes Alaska, Canada/New England and Europe cruises. The cruise line cited continued port closures and other travel restrictions resulting from global health concerns as the primary drivers of the decision.
In Alaska, Holland America Line is also cancelling all Alaska sailings for summer 2020 on Maasdam, Noordam,Oosterdam, Volendam and Westerdam. In addition, all Land+Sea Journeys are cancelled. A Land+Sea Journey combines a Holland America Line Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali and the Yukon. The McKinley Chalet Resort, McKinley Explorer rail cars and tour motorcoaches will not operate this summer.
The premium line is assessing the future impact of the order by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for cruises through mid-July.
“These are unprecedented times. Having to delay summer cruising and cancel our land tours for the entire season is the responsible thing to do, yet also very disappointing and a first in our more than 70 years of taking guests to Alaska,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “We look forward to better days and returning to a full summer cruising season in 2021.”
Options on Cancelled Cruises
Guests with impacted cruises have two options to choose from and must make their selection by June 1, 2020:
• Option #1: Defer a refund and receive a Future Cruise Credit for 125% of the base cruise fare paid plus an onboard credit of US$250 per person, which can be applied toward any future cruise(s) through Dec. 31, 2021. Guests who haven’t paid in full will receive a Future Cruise Credit for 125% of the amount paid to Holland America Line.
• Option #2: A 100% refund of all monies paid to Holland America Line will be reimbursed. This includes Holland America Line’s Flight Ease air, Cancellation Protection Plan, Holland America Line pre- or post-cruise hotel packages or transfers, prepaid shore excursions and amenities purchased through Holland America Line, and taxes, fees and port expenses.
All bookings automatically will be cancelled through June 30. Guests do not need to call to cancel, however, they should visit hollandamerica.com to indicate their preference for the 125% Future Cruise Credit or 100% refund no later than June 1. If a choice is not made by this deadline, guests will be deemed to have accepted the greater value Option #1. The Future Cruise Credit is valid on any cruise departing through December 31, 2021, and must be applied toward this future cruise by December 31, 2020.
Uncharted Waters: Travel Insurance Refunds?
My cruise line canceled, but is my travel insurance policy refundable?
Consumer advocate Christopher Eliiott was put to the task of finding out when a client, Gerald Phelan, wrote to him asking if he could get his money back for a travel insurance policy on his cruise. The cruise line he booked would only issue a voucher so he wanted to know what he could expect from his travel insurance policy.
Q: Last October, I purchased a travel insurance policy through Travel Guard for a Regent Seven Seas cruise from Bangkok to Abu Dhabi. The cruise line canceled the trip on Feb. 19.
I asked if the travel insurance policy was refundable. A Travel Guard representative told me all cancellations must be made within 15 days of the effective date.
Travel Guard offered me a credit voucher, good for 90 days. But that was useless because cruise lines have suspended operations and the government is advising people to avoid travel. I’ve heard nothing from Travel Guard. Can you help me get my money back?
A: We’re in uncharted waters when it comes to coronavirus. Regent’s ticket contract, the legal agreement between you and the cruise line, says it will refund the fare if it cancels your cruise. Fortunately, it refunded your cruise immediately after the cancellation.
But your insurance is another matter. You have a 15-day “free look” period after you buy a travel insurance policy, after which the policy is nonrefundable. If your trip gets canceled, some travel insurance companies will allow you to cover a future trip. But what if there are no future trips — at least not in the foreseeable future?
Like I said, uncharted waters.
By the way, the next time you book a cruise, you’ll want to read your policy carefully. In reviewing the policies that Regent sells, I noticed at least one that doesn’t cover the cessation of the cruise line. In other words, if the cruise line goes under, you’ll lose your policy and your vacation.