It’s a thorny question: with more and more cruise lines mandating vaccines for passengers and crew, what happens to those among the tens of thousands holding Future Cruise Credits from cancelled journeys who can’t or don’t want a jab?
After readers asked, we spoke to most of the leading lines. A number told Cruise Passenger they will issue refunds for passengers who do not wish to be vaccinated. But some have still to decide their policies on those who simply don’t wish to get jabbed.
P&O Cruises Australia has been the only local line to stipulate a vaccination policy. Many of the others are waiting to see what the government demands before cruising can resume.
There has been confusion overseas, particularly in America, where some passengers are unwilling to be vaccinated.
In Australia, P&O and the Carnival Corporation brands, which include Princess Cruises, Cunard, Holland America and Carnival Cruise Line, say they will issue refunds. So does Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.
But some have said those that take the refund will not be compensated for the extra value they were offered when their cruise was cancelled due to COVID.
Here’s a roundup of what the lines had to say:
A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean said: “Currently, any guest on a Royal Caribbean ship can apply for a Future Cruise Credit of 125%, which can be used to book a future cruise, however, should a guest wish to decline the 125% Future Cruise Credit and receive the lower value 100% refund of their cruise fare.
“Once a clear return to sailing is established, Royal Caribbean will provide an update to ensure all guests will receive clear communication outlining policies and procedures. Considerations regarding FCC and refunds for those unable to travel with Royal Caribbean will form a part of these conversations.”
Carnival Corporation (Carnival, P&O, Princess Cunard, Holland America)
“P&O Cruises said guests who did not wish to adopt the cruise line’s vaccination policy could obtain a refund.
“As a general comment unrelated to vaccination policies, it is open to guests who were previously offered a future cruise credit to switch to a refund if they wish in line with the individual cruise line’s terms and conditions.”
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line state on their website that if you are unable to board a Norwegian Cruise due to being unable to meet the vaccination requirement, you can convert your future cruise credit into a refund.
From NCL’s website:
“Applicability to convert an existing FCC to a monetary refund request may be submitted for one of the following reasons:
- Guest has been affected by one or more suspensions.
- Guest elected to cancel via our Peace of Mind (POM) policy and the sailing did not take place as a result of our suspension of voyages.
- Guest had an active reservation as of April 5, 2021 for a cruise with a vaccination requirement (all sailings through October 31, 2021) or an active reservation as of August 18, 2021 for a cruise with a vaccination requirement (all sailings November 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021), and the guest is unable to comply so long as the request is submitted prior to the final payment date. Requests submitted after a qualified reservation’s final payment date will be subject to Norwegian’s cancellation fee policy communicated to our guests at time of booking and can be found on our website Cancellation Policy page.
- An active and existing FCC is attached to a profile of a guest who has passed away.”
If you are in this dilemma and booked with Celebrity Cruises, you may have to wait a little longer to get all the info on if you’re entitled to a refund.
“We continue to work with authorities in the countries we visit, as we are currently doing around the world, to develop protocols in line with local requirement. At this point in time, Celebrity Cruises has not stipulated an Australian vaccination requirement, and a policy will be finalised and shared publicly in due course,” said a spokesperson.
“Guests can feel confident that this information will be readily available and clearly communicated ahead of Celebrity Eclipse’s arrival for our next local season in October 2022.”
Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises
“The health and safety of our guests, crew and communities we visit remains our top priority. As part of SailSAFE, our science-based and comprehensive health and safety plan, we require all guests and crew to be fully vaccinated during initial relaunch sailings.
“We anticipate that this requirement will be in place until the public health environment allows us to modify our protocols accordingly.
“The few guests who wish to cancel their cruise due to our vaccination requirement will receive a refund in the form of payment they used to make the booking if they are outside of the cancellation penalty period. If guests cancel within the cancellation penalty period, they will receive a Future Cruise Credit for any related cancel penalties.
“The Future Cruise Credits are valid through December 2022, therefore guests will have ample opportunity to use them at a later date should they so choose.”