Holland America Ships in Panama Canal

Cruise Refund Delays

It is currently taking upwards of 60 days to receive a cruise refund in the current climate, in some cases up to 90 days.

When most people booked their cruise the original time frame was 5-10 days.

Since the suspension of the cruising industry, this has been updated to reflect their current policies of 60-90 days.

This can have a hardship on people now being affected by a changing economy that are in need of cash to pay their bills and provide for their households.

Why are refunds taking so long?

To play a little bit of point/counterpoint. Some people are saying given the number of refunds it’s just taking much longer to process them. I would counter that this should be largely automated. If someone requested a refund via their online form. No human should need to manually be involved in this process,

I would also say if the cruise lines can decide it’s ok to change their policy from 5-10 days which is what you were quoted when you booked your cruise to now being 60-90 days and not expect negative PR. They should have been more accommodating when people were asking for a few additional days to make the final payment when those customers had events come up an needed a little extra time. Instead, the system would cancel their cruise automatically, if you called to speak to a manager you would be told it was the policy you agreed to when you booked your cruise. You cannot have a one-way street and expect any sympathy from your affected clients.

What could potentially be other motivators in these new delayed refund policies?

Cash flow, the cruise lines currently have lost their ability to generate cash flow and are trying to make the cash they have on hand which your deposits make up a good % of last longer while they cut expenses and raise additional capital. It’s one of the reasons they are also offering incentives to take a future cruise credit vs a refund.

What about disputing the charges on your credit card?

Generally, any cruise booked in advance has a final payment date which is more than 60-90 days before your sailing. This poses a challenge as most credit card dispute windows would now be closed leaving you at the mercy of the cruise lines. If you happened to book a last-minute cruise and paid on your credit card and the service was not delivered you are most likely eligible to dispute this charge on your card.

Do know, however, most people who dispute charges with a cruise line, later find out they are banned from future sailings with that cruise line even if their dispute was valid.

There is little recourse if your money is tied up or you find yourself disputing a charge and now on the cruise lines blacklist as they are not US-based companies your options for recourse are very limited.

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Stay safe and hopefully, we will all be cruising again shortly.

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