Royal Caribbean Just Changed Its Cruise Cancellation Policy Due to Coronavirus

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
The global spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, is causing significant changes to the way we travel. Be sure to read up on the latest information and travel recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). And if you're concerned about flying in the coming weeks, airlines are rolling out relaxed policies so you can change your plans.

In response to the growing coronavirus outbreak across the globe, companies are updating their policies to accommodate concerned travelers. Airlines are offering fee waivers on changes and cancellations. And now, Royal Caribbean is implementing its own "Cruise with Confidence" policy.

On Friday, the company announced plans to allow customers free cancellation up to 48 hours before their departure. Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, and Silversea guests who take advantage of policy will receive a full credit, valid on future trips in 2020 or 2021. Both new and existing bookings are eligible.

"Our previous policy set earlier deadlines for guests to cancel their cruises, and that added unnecessary stress," Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in a statement. "Trying to guess a month or more in advance where areas of concern about coronavirus might be is challenging for medical experts, much less a family preparing for vacation."

The only caveat: Your trip requires a sailing date on or before July 31, 2020. However, the entire Coronavirus outbreak is still evolving and updates -- on COVID-19 itself and related travel policies -- are subject to change. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), are providing news and advice as it becomes available.

"When circumstances are as fast-changing as they have been recently, it's good to know you have the option to take a rain check," Fain said. "We think putting more control in our guests' hands helps them make informed decisions about whether to keep their existing vacation plans or trade out for a more convenient time or itinerary."

If you're booked on another cruise ship or mode of travel and you haven't seen any information on cancellation and change fees, it doesn't hurt to give them a call and double check as the situation continues to develop.

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.