Coronavirus: Booked a cruise and want to cancel? Here’s what you need to know

Some cruise companies are easing their cancellation and rebooking policies amid the worldwide outbreak of a novel coronavirus that has been found on several cruise ships.

New policies are now being temporarily offered by major players in the cruise industry, including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line.

But prospects of getting your money back remain slim.

The policies differ from company to company, but generally speaking credit is being offered for sailings until the end of spring. The credits can be used on any future trips, should customers cancel their trips in a specific time frame before the cruise’s departure, usually 24 to 48 hours beforehand.

Herbert Wolf, a tourism expert who runs his own travel agency, said the offer of future cruise credit is standard across the board.

“The majority now, and this just happened over the past week or so, most of the major cruise lines — both ocean and river — have come forward with the option to cancel sometime within 48 to even 24 hours, not for a full refund, but for credit for future cruises,” said Wolf.

“Basically, not giving the money back, but giving the full credit … but I can understand why — it would unleash mass cancellations. It could possibly put them out of business.”

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