"Concerned about coronavirus? Contemplating canceling your cruise? Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL) has you covered." That's what the company says -- and now the offer is good for an additional year.
Two months ago, Royal Caribbean reassured passengers that it's OK to reserve and pay for a cruise on one of the company's several cruise ships. If worse came to worst and the coronavirus prevented your ship from sailing by the time your cruise came up -- or you were simply not ready to resume mixing and mingling with other people by then -- you would be able to cancel your cruise with just 48 hours notice any time through July 31 and receive a credit "usable on any future sailing of the guest's choice in 2020 or 2021."
The company made this move, in part, to persuade customers not to cancel "just in case" and get their money back, starving Royal Caribbean of cash. Now, with cruises delayed until at least late June by order of the CDC, Royal Caribbean has decided to extend its lenient cancellations policy by an additional year: As the company's "Cruise With Confidence" updated webpage now explains, "Royal Caribbean will let you cancel any cruise that sets sail from now through April 30, 2022."
Cancel at least 48 hours for any such cruise, and you will receive a credit that can be used "toward any cruise that sets sail through December 31, 2021, or 12 months from your cancellation date -- whichever is further." Moreover, Royal Caribbean is introducing a new "best price guarantee" that ensures those who buy cruises now will receive the best price offered by the company any time up to 48 hours before departure.
These new policies may cost Royal Caribbean some money, and the company's shares closed down 2.9% Wednesday on the news -- but customers should be happy.