Some cruise lines have altered their cancellation and refund policies for passengers who couldn't reach their departure points because of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
By Thursday, several lines had amended their policies to accommodate stranded passengers. Some did more than that. Others still haven't decided what they will do.
As a rule, when passengers don't make a sailing date, they miss more than the boat. They don't get a refund, and they can't rebook.
But Dan McGinnity, vice president of communication for Travel Guard International, said his company has noticed "some fairly extraordinary things being done" by cruise lines and tour companies. Travel Guard sells travel insurance policies and has been processing claims from stranded passengers worldwide since Tuesday.
The cruise lines have no across-the-board policy. "It's an operational decision that each individual cruise line must make," said Jim Godsman, president of the New-York-based Cruise Lines International Association.
One of the more generous allowances is on Disney Cruise Line's 2,500-passenger Disney Magic. Mark Jaronski, manager of public relations for Disney Cruise Line, said that when Saturday's departure returned to port Wednesday, those passengers who found themselves with no way to get home were accommodated at various Disney resorts in Orlando at no additional charge.
Disney Magic passengers who missed Wednesday's trip, or will miss the one Saturday, will be offered their choice of a full refund or a rebooking without penalty. Those scheduled for Wednesday's sailing may rebook without penalty. Passengers with reservations should call 800-511-1333.
At Carnival Cruise Lines, "We're dealing with it, day to day and hour by hour," said spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz. Scheduled passengers affected by this week's air traffic ban will get full credit for their money, to be used for another voyage any time between now and March 2003.
This weekend is the cutoff for cruises on lines owned and operated by American Classic Voyages Co.: Delta Queen Steamboat Co., Delta Queen Coast Voyages, American Hawaii Cruises and United States Lines. Passengers who wish to cancel through this weekend will receive a future cruise credit, a spokeswoman said. After that, regular cancellation policies resume, though special circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Passengers can call 800-810-9165 for information.
Cruise lines with ships that included New York City in their itineraries--Crystal Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines, for example--have substituted a different port in place of New York, shifted sailing dates or both.
Lines such as Costa Cruises, which had a Thursday departure from Genoa, Italy, aren't penalizing passengers who missed the boat. "Obviously, they couldn't get there," said Costa spokesman Darren Oster. "It's really being handled on a case-by-case basis."
Radisson Seven Seas' policy was unclear. "While we grieve with the rest of the nation," Radisson said in a statement Thursday to a local travel agent, "we also believe it is important that we `stay the course' and not let the terrorists and their actions prevail by destroying your clients' cruise vacation plans, our business and the American way of life. Consequently, we are operating our cruise programs as scheduled, but with the highest levels of security in place and activated."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times