As a professional travel advisor, I fully understand that the ever-changing situation with covid-19 has created a lot of uncertainty when it comes to travel plans. I thought it might be beneficial to give you a quick summary of the current situation.
The continuing focus and commitment of the travel industry is “safety first.” Given the severity of the situation, travel companies have continued to monitor all CDC and WHO updates and have adjusted accordingly. To date, cruise lines, tour companies, resorts and hotels have suspended service through mid-April, and are now beginning to extend that suspension into May. The cruise lines have issued special cancellation policies that provide freedom to cancel up to 48-hours prior to the departure date and are working with guests to postpone trips to a future date. Those guests with cancelled sailings or stays are being offered the choice of generous future travel credits of over 100% of the price paid or complete refunds.
For trips scheduled to depart in the summer and fall, there is plenty of time to review options and see how this unfolds globally. The relaxed cancellation policies are giving guests the opportunity to wait before having to make a decision without fear of losing their vacation investment. Of course, no one has a crystal ball, but the industry is hopeful that the U.S. and the rest of the world will be able to contain and combat the virus so that people can indeed go on their well-deserved vacations.
I would also implore you to use the services of a local travel professional when booking your next vacation. With all the recent cancellations, several people have reached out to me for assistance with a vacation that they booked online or at a big box discount store (you know who I mean). They are frustrated with hours-long hold times, dropped calls and unanswered emails as they try to navigate through the process of getting a refund. I’m unable to help them because I’m not their agent of record. The truth is, the cost of using a travel advisor is built into the price of the vacation. When you book direct or online, you’re essentially paying for something you aren’t getting: personal service and peace of mind from a highly trained professional who will advocate for you and protect your valuable vacation investment.
Leslie Marsh, ECC has owned and operated Cruise Planners in the Amity area for 17 years. You can reach her at 203-387-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.