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The Costa Concordia tragedy gave travellers a good scare, and according to a recent Travalliance survey, many have been trying to cancel their trips. But good luck with that: Carnival Corp. (Costa Cruises’ parent company), requires a cancellation notice at least 76 days in advance for cruises longer than six days (via CruiseCheap.com), and Royal Caribbean requests 75 days’ advance notice for its cancellations.
Vance Gulliksen, a Carnival spokesman, told the Washington Post the rules won’t be changing anytime soon.
Both companies represent about 90 per cent of the cruise ship industry, said Mark Murphy, CEO of Travalliance.
If you’re among these wary travellers, the best thing to do is to purchase “cancel for any reason” travel insurance in the future, Murphy said. The policy ensures customers will receive a refund if they ask to cancel the trip before it starts.
Just make sure the policy gives you the freedom to cancel anytime up to the departure date, said Murphy.
travellers should also consider “trip interruption” insurance or “medical evacuation” insurance if anything goes awry on board. These policies don’t necessarily guarantee a full refund of the trip, however. (See 7 insurance tips to read before planning your next getaway).
Though 20 per cent of the agents Travailliance interviewed said the accident negatively affected their booking rate, Murphy doesn’t expect the negative sentiment to linger for very long. (Read why a rare cruise disaster is unlikely to slow growth in the industry).
“The cruise industry has a very good safety record,” Murphy said. “This is a case of one rogue guy who did things his own way. There have been very few incidents like this.”
Have you tried to cancel a cruise trip recently? Tell us how it went in the comments.