Countries around the world have begun to open back up after closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the United States is following suit.
For thousands of Americans, two months of quarantine was two months too many, and they are booking summer vacations to celebrate newfound freedom.
But you’ll never guess where people are heading. Despite the role of cruise ships in the spread of coronavirus, a great many vacationers are headed straight back to their nearest cruise port!
Carnival Cruise Bookings Soar as the U.S. Continues to Reopen
At the beginning of the pandemic, cruise ships carried the virus from country to country. That doesn’t seem to be scaring cruisers away these days, though.
In the three days after Carnival announced August cruise dates, their bookings increased by 600%. That is a lot of people heading out to open waters in a small space.
Carnival Suspected of Negligence
Carnival’s surge in bookings may come to some as a big surprise. This is because, in early June, 60 passengers sued the cruise line for negligence regarding coronavirus. The passengers claimed that the cruise ship was not sanitized between trips, nor were passengers screened for potential symptoms of the virus. So why are people rushing to book a cruise vacation, then?
Low Rates, Big Appeal
Some people are just excited to get out of the house and trade their work-from-home outfits for a bikini. Others are tempted by the low rates cruises are offering right now. Carnival is offering rate packages for as little as $60 per person, per day. Although there is no end in sight for the spread of coronavirus, these low rates make the risk “worth it” for many bored vacationers.
We know that it’s exciting to book your next vacation and count down the days until you’re lounging by the pool again. We get it. At the same time, before you book this round at sea consider the costs of cancellation insurance (or how much it would cost to cancel the trip without insurance.)
We don’t know what tomorrow, next week, or next month brings. The right insurance will keep you protected in any situation.
COVID-19 and Cancellation Insurance
If you have recently booked a Carnival cruise and are uncomfortable with the surge in bookings or recent lawsuits, you may want to cancel your trip. The question is, will you get your money back? Trip cancellation insurance isn’t as simple as you may think it is.
Most policies will only cover trip cancellation under certain circumstances. An unexpected death in the family, a hurricane, or legal obligations usually fall under a policy’s “acceptable” reasons to cancel.
When it comes to illness or other unforeseen circumstances, there has to be some level of surprise for you to cancel your trip. Travelers who back out last minute due to COVID-19 fears might not be able to use that as an excuse. This is because it isn’t a surprise. We all know about it. All it takes is a quick Google search to get the latest case count by geographic location, even.
If you want to purchase trip cancellation insurance, read the insurance policy carefully. To be safe, considering purchasing CAFR coverage.
CFAR Coverage vs. Trip Cancellation
CFAR stands for “cancel for any reason.” This type of coverage is usually considered an “upgrade” to most plans. It costs more but gives you more freedom when changing or canceling your trip.
You don’t have to prove that you had a legal obligation or a sudden illness to get a refund. Any reason, from the fear of COVID-19 to civil unrest at your destination, is valid.
(Note that in some states, like New York, CFAR is not allowed to be sold as an option. Check your state laws to see if you can purchase CFAR coverage for your next trip.)
Again, it’s important to review policies before you purchase any type of coverage. CAFR costs extra, too — make sure it’s worth your while. You might run into the following rules or caveats while shopping for coverage:
- Trips must be canceled at least 2-3 days before you are scheduled to set sail
- Policyholders only receive a partial refund (usually between 50-75%) if they cancel
- Policyholders must purchase CFAR coverage in addition to other forms of trip cancellation coverage
If you are considering CFAR coverage for a cruise you’ve already booked, make your decision quickly. Most coverage can only be purchased within three weeks of booking your trip.
You Don’t Have to Purchase Insurance, But You Should
COVID-19 has created more hoops to jump through when booking vacations, ordering at a restaurant, even just going into work. As long as this pandemic continues, these hoops will not disappear.
Take the few minutes extra time to review trip cancellation and CAFR policies. Review this information before you book.
You are not required to have insurance, but if you do purchase a plan, you might be saving yourself some money in a few months if you decide to stay home.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.