In this uncertain circumstance due to COVID-19, the cruise industry has been one of the most impacted industries. After the incident of Diamond Princess which caused 7 deaths so far, cruise lines are canceling future voyages and passengers need protection from it.
We have witnessed that cruise ships can be very vulnerable for diseases like COVID-19 with the case of Diamond Princess that resulted in over 700 cases on the ship earlier this year after the Japanese government blocked their disembarkment. After this, there were multiple cases that had catastrophic results and most experts are warning related risks.
Due to this, most cruise lines are canceling and offering onboard credit or even full refund due to these unwanted circumstances. However, if we have a closer look, there are loopholes that need to be fixed. Unlike major lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival, smaller lines such as Viking cruise have offered 125% onboard credit. For the passengers who want to have their actual money back, need to wait for 24 months and not use their onboard credit.
Also, there were no set standards for non-direct impact voyages. Despite the fear of sailing after the incident, for voyages on May and onwards, there are no set standards among the industry. This means that if future passengers are afraid to go on a cruise after seeing the current situation, they have no option to have a refund or other compensation option.
It is critical for consumers to have full protection against this unforeseen incident like COVID-19. As we have witnessed from this situation, there are no set standards across the industry and consumers are suffering from it. In my humble opinion, in order to future protect consumers, there should be a government intervention or communication across the industry to establish the common ground on future unpredictable and potentially harmful events for passengers.