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Cruising choices with an active Pandemic

VPS

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Oh learned cruisers, lend me your ears (eyes?)

My first cruising experience keeps getting pushed back. First my Ruby Princess Alaska trip was canned (still waiting for refund, but that's another story). Now, it is our 'trip of a lifetime' Antarctica cruise January 2021 on Scenic.

Now we all know this cruise will not be going ahead, or even if it is by some small miracle, there's basically no chance I'll be able to attend as an Australian. I have only paid a deposit, but final payment is due on Wednesday. Scenic have given 3 options:

1/ Cancel 'voluntarily', meaning $6.5k will be held as future cruise credit, $5.4k would be refunded and we would lose $500 in fees.
2/ Pay in full Wednesday then be at the mercy of their refund policy when they do cancel, tying up $60k of our money.
3/ Rebook for a years time but $5k more expensive.

Honestly they all suck. I'm leaning towards 1 - but that's a huge chunk of money to be sitting as future cruise credit which I don't immediately have other plans for. 2, well that sounds like a recipe for a $60k loss rather than $6k. Quite the gamble. 3 I hate on principle with the price rise, plus honestly surely there's a good chance they'll go bankrupt before then.

Any sage advice from seasoned cruisers?
Good luck with whatever you decide. My TA won't deal with Scenic any more because of the way they deal with problems. On the Seabourn FB some Americans adamant they're doing a Caribbean cruise in December and getting antsy when people suggest it may not go ahead
 

Pushka

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There was a bad rap story about Scenic just this week. Do you have Covid Travel Insurance? If you took option 3, how does that work for Monies outlaid? And pay by credit card.
 

odysseus

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There was a bad rap story about Scenic just this week. Do you have Covid Travel Insurance? If you took option 3, how does that work for Monies outlaid? And pay by credit card.
Option 3 is a full credit: Travel Policy and Advisory Update: COVID-19

Unfortunately it sounds like the going rate for the same cruise a year out is $5k more expensive.

As they've had the funds all this time, and the issue is not of the passenger's doing, they really should offer a protected rate transfer i.e. same price as currently booked (for same grade).
 

Pushka

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Option 3 is a full credit: Travel Policy and Advisory Update: COVID-19

Unfortunately it sounds like the going rate for the same cruise a year out is $5k more expensive.

As they've had the funds all this time, and the issue is not of the passenger's doing, they really should offer a protected rate transfer i.e. same price as currently booked (for same grade).
Agree. And surprisingly that is exactly what Celebrity has done for our last July cruise with their Lift and Shift. And we got a great price for a suite for that one so they had to provide the same price for July 2021. Some caveats - cruise had to be the same general itinerary, pretty much the same dates, and the same class of ship. God knows if that will happen at all though.
 

tgh

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All the options suck big time , but in the circumstances I would take the least risk, which is option one.

There is no good news on the horizon ; for Scenic and similar bit players survival is increasingly problematic.
 

mrs.dr.ron

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After our dealings with Scenic, I would never go near them again. Good luck, let us know how you get on !
 

k_sheep

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Darn near unanimous there! Thanks all.

I was all ready to take the money and run, but realised I wouldn't want to use the $6k credit on anything other than Antarctica anyway. So talked to the travel agent (thanks again Drron and mrs.dr.ron for putting me onto her!) and we've switched to a different date for $1k less per person and in a higher cabin category.

Now just hoping they don't go bust - but if they do, my travel insurance covers insolvency so hopefully have all possibilities planned for!
 

zig

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Darn near unanimous there! Thanks all.

I was all ready to take the money and run, but realised I wouldn't want to use the $6k credit on anything other than Antarctica anyway. So talked to the travel agent (thanks again Drron and mrs.dr.ron for putting me onto her!) and we've switched to a different date for $1k less per person and in a higher cabin category.

Now just hoping they don't go bust - but if they do, my travel insurance covers insolvency so hopefully have all possibilities planned for!
Good to hear. $1000 less is quite a difference to paying $5000 more. Was this option not available to you initially?
 

k_sheep

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I think as the announcements came through lots of people were reserving cabins speculatively ... the availability was going up and down all over the place.

Also it turns out there was a December 2021 trip as well - I had been looking at the January 2022 - but the December one was cheaper. Maybe people want to be home for xmas, whereas I'm the opposite :D
 
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zig

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I think as the announcements came through lots of people were reserving cabins speculatively ... the availability was going up and down all over the place.

Also it turns out there was a December 2021 trip as well - I had been looking at the January 2022 - but the December one was cheaper. Maybe people want to be home for xmas, whereas I'm the opposite :D
Good outcome for you :) Visiting Antartica is an amazing experience, I hope it all works out for you in Dec 2021.
 

tgh

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The US as a nation presents as having a very guarded prognosis.
The virus has stabilised around 40k daily positives and 1k deaths.
If the virus has adapted we may very soon see a massive rise in infectivity along with increasing social dysfunction.
Starting cruises in this environment seems impossible to a rational outsider , however the depth of ignorance and blind optimism in the populace cannot be ignored.
 

Pushka

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The US as a nation presents as having a very guarded prognosis.
The virus has stabilised around 40k daily positives and 1k deaths.
If the virus has adapted we may very soon see a massive rise in infectivity along with increasing social dysfunction.
Starting cruises in this environment seems impossible to a rational outsider , however the depth of ignorance and blind optimism in the populace cannot be ignored.
US people just don't seem to understand, do they. I cant see cruising happening until there is a vaccine and it is widespread to all. I can see other travel resuming but cruise ships are just such a unique situation crossing into many countries and the same people getting off and mingling on the ship. Just takes one case.
 

p--and--t

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US people just don't seem to understand, do they. I cant see cruising happening until there is a vaccine and it is widespread to all. I can see other travel resuming but cruise ships are just such a unique situation crossing into many countries and the same people getting off and mingling on the ship. Just takes one case.
While ships are configured to recycle 80% of air from cabin to cabin, and do that with ineffective filtering, and have internal cabins with no fresh air, and travel in hot climes so people have aircon running all day and night, and limited highly shared common areas also with no fresh air, I feel they will continue to be a floating petri bowl.
 

Pushka

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VPS

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Interesting article

 
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