It’s obvious that this isn’t the greatest year for cruise lines and with the recent announcement that all Canadian ports (vital for Alaska Cruises) will be closed this season I found my own cruise cancelled as well.
It’s rather unfortunate that the cruise season to Alaska will be completely cancelled this year and I suspect the government will have to provide substantial support to these communities where businesses and individuals are pretty much dependent on the cruise season. Cruises and tourism are vital to a good chunk of cities such as Juneau, Ketchikan, Seward and Skagway.
Alaska cruises are some of the most popular and most expensive routes in the portfolio of the cruise lines so I already expected that the sailings for next years season will fill up quickly as soon as the first part of this years departures were cancelled.
I usually book my sailings with Celebrity Cruises and just like any other line they pretty much shut down operations since April and started to either refund customers or offer them what’s called a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) of 125%. By choosing the credit customers would gain a 25% bonus on the total due to them with the caveat that their new bookings will of course be subject to new pricing.
You can find Celebrity Cruise COVID-19 cancellation and rebooking policy here.
Right now the following choices are being offered:
The fact that the Alaska cruise season would be dead this year was announced earlier this month.
I decided to go a different route and request to change the date to next year, however the problem was that the cruise was already cancelled so the lift and shift option apparently didn’t apply. I decided to call Celebrity Cruises and after just 15 minutes on the phone I was able to get a hold of someone.
The agent was eventually able to rebook my cruise for May 2021 at the same price which at this point was nearly double the rate of 2020. The only downside was since my original cruise in August had been put into auto-refund mode due to the cancellation a new booking had to be opened and the original one refunded. My $350 onboard credit was transferred as well so fair enough.
Hopefully next Alaska season will be smooth sailing and if there is something that becomes available earlier than that I’ll make an additional booking.
I expected to have a difficult time to get this handled but it was in fact quite easy and the agent was both professional and accommodating. It’s a bit annoying that they couldn’t just change the dates without processing an extra payment but I took the chance to move the payment to my Chase Sapphire Reserve card while a receiving a refund on the card I used originally when booking in summer of 2019.
In any case I wouldn’t have liked to accept a cruise credit. 25% bonus isn’t enough to make up for the difference in pricing and vouchers are always a bad idea in case something happens to the company. In case of a bankruptcy vouchers are usually wiped out. That being said I do have faith in the future of Celebrity, respectively their parent company Royal Caribbean and my RCL stock has tripled since May.