Carnival Cruise Bookings Surge 600% After Announcing August Relaunch
Many eyes are on the cruise line industry as it reels from the impacts of coronavirus. Earlier this week, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it was scheduling its return to the sea for August 1, 2020. That’s just a few days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to lift their “do not sail” order. Cruise Planners, an American Express travel franchise, reports that bookings skyrocketed 600% over 3 days after the announcement. That was in comparison to the 3 days prior to the announcement. Year-over-year, the company said bookings saw a 200% increase.
Of course, this is largely dependent on the CDC lifting its current sailing restriction currently in place until July 24. Carnival said earlier this week that cruises “could potentially operate if it was determined that cruising can resume.” The cruise company announced possible cruises departing from Miami, Galveston, and Port Canaveral. All other North American and Australian homeport cruises are cancelled through August 31.
Of course, Carnival is offering cruises at incredibly reduced rates. As an example, Passengers can book a cruise from Miami in August for as low as $119 for a four-day cruise. And the cruise line even offers an eight-day cruise for $519. Those rates are likely a significant draw for people looking to book a cruise.
Hope For The Industry?
The number is a small sampling, but it may show a ray of light for the industry in an otherwise tumultuous time. Cruises are considered Petri dishes of infection, given the close contact between customers for extended periods of time.
Carnival is already facing a Congressional investigation for its handling of coronavirus outbreaks on its ships. Congress also criticized the cruise line for its advertising during the pandemic. At one point Diamond Princess had the highest cluster of COVID-19 cases outside of China. That ship is owned by Carnival subsidiary Princess Cruises.
Carnival said earlier this week it is focusing operations on homeports that are largely accessible by car. But the cruise line cautioned, “We continue to work with various government agencies, including the CDC, as we introduce new onboard protocols, but there is no assurance of a return on August 1.” Therefore, this is clearly a book-at-your-own-risk scenario.
Carnival Cancellation Policy
If you are planning on booking any cruise, be sure to make yourself aware of that cruise line’s cancellation policy. As stated above, there is no guarantee cruises will be able to depart on August 1.
Carnival has different cancellation options based on the length of your cruise:
- Cruises six or more days
- Option 1: 100% future cruise credit and $600 onboard credit per stateroom.
- Option 2: 100% refund
- Cruises five days or less
- Option 1: 100% future cruise credit and $300 onboard credit per stateroom.
- Option 2: 100% refund
Keep in mind that you must book a cruise by 12/31/2020 to get the onboard credit, and the cruise departure date must be by 12/31/2022. Keep in mind, cruise lines change these policies frequently and you will want to make sure you understand any updated policy before booking.
Cruise lines bookings skyrocketed 600% after Carnival’s announcement, according to one travel booking company. That’s a potential sign of life for the struggling industry, and gives hope to some that when cruising does return it will do so with a vengeance. But be aware, if you want to book a cruise, understand the cruise line’s cancellation policy. This decision is largely in the hands of the CDC, who could extend the do not sail order past July 24, which would prevent these cruises from sailing. I, for one, plan on booking a Hawaiian cruise for 2021, but I’m not sure about booking one that departs in a couple of months.