Legislation has been introduced in the US to require cruise lines to reimburse passengers whose trips have been cancelled, due to COVID-19.
Four US Congressmen, Republicans Mike Thompson (California-05), Doris Matsui (CA-06), John Garamendi (CA-03) and Jared Huffman (CA-02),said that this would apply for tickets purchased on or before 1stFebruary, 2020 and to cancellations issued by the cruise line and by the passenger,owing to concerns over the ongoing public health emergency.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised travellers to defer all cruise ship travel at present.
“We must do everything we can to ensure the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus does not endanger the health and financial security of people across our nation. That’s why I introduced this bill to ensure cruise ship passengers can get reimbursed if their trip is cancelled due to concerns over the virus,” explained Rep Thompson. “I’ve heard from constituents worried that they won’t get money back from what are often expensive trips that may have been booked months ago, and we should get this bill passed to help make them financially whole again.”
“Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, people deserve peace of mind that they won’t be stripped of their hard-earned money due to this unforeseen crisis. Not allowing these individuals to recoup their losses disincentivises responsible public health decisions, such as deferring travel because of potential illness. Cruises have long been marketed as safe, family friendly vacations, yet the unfortunate reality is that Americans have unknowingly been putting themselves at risk while at sea,” added Rep Matsui. “It is our duty to make sure that we do everything in our power to relieve the financial burdens of the outbreak. This bill will give families the freedom to make the choice that is in the best interest of their health and their family, without fear of potentially losing thousands of dollars.”
“No American should have to face financial hardship due to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus. I’m proud to join Rep Thompson to introduce legislation that will ensure our constituents are reimbursed if their cruises are cancelled due to this virus, and I urge its swift adoption in Congress,” said Rep Garamendi.
“Travellers must have the flexibility to forego travel if they feel unsafe, without the fear of losing their hard-earned money,” said Rep Huffman. “Our bill ensures passengers can get reimbursed for travel due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak – a practice that should have quite frankly already been in place.”
Meanwhile, more countries have introduced bans on cruise ship calls, including Australia, New Zealand, Chile, the UAE and Estonia, among others.
As a result of cruise companies halting operations, more cruise ships are seeking a layup berth with at least three arriving at the Port of London’s Tilbury Dock over the weekend.