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Should you postpone your cruise vacation?

Carnival Horizon sailing away

With almost every cruise line shut down currently, many people are wondering if they should defer, cancel, or push back on their cruise vacation plans.

Cruise lines around the world are trying to tackle the problem of how to restart cruises while keeping guest and crew safe and healthy, so should you wait for cruises to start again or delay that sailing you have booked further out?

Most cruise ships aren't sailing

MSC Seaside docked

As of right now, nearly every cruise line is shut down while a combination of government regulations and public pressure keeps cruise ships offline.

A few small pockets of cruising has re-emerged in Europe, but the vast majority of cruise lines and cruise ships are still shut down for at least a few months more.

Most contemporary cruise lines have no plans to restart until perhaps the end of 2020. Some cruise lines have already pushed their restart date until 2021.

What this means for cruisers is in many cases, the decision has been made for you as to when the earliest you could hop back on a cruise would be. In fact, the decision now is about if you should postpone your cruise scheduled in 2021.

When will cruises sail again?

Ryndam

No other question is as commonly asked among cruisers, and the cruise lines themselves, as when will cruises sail again, and no one really seems to know.

The reason why this is such a difficult question to answer is there are a lot of components that cruise lines need to balance before they could restart. 

There are external forces, such as government policies banning cruise ships from operating, and there are internal pressures, such as the need to keep the people safe.

Another major factor is the impact COVID-19 has on the world. Specifically, how much of a public health emergency it will play in determining when so many aspects of human life can resume.

Depending on the response to the virus, the fate of cruise lines sailing again is going to vary greatly.

When is a good time to reschedule my cruise?

Liberty of the Seas sports deck

If you are thinking of pushing back your cruise, there are no guarantees when is a good or safe time do so, but pushing back by a calendar year seems to be what most people are doing.

Most families have written off their 2020 vacation plans, and the easiest response to delay until some point in 2021.

While there is no guarantee when the current situation might improve, the longer out you plan, the more time there is for new treatments to be tested and rolled out to the public.

In addition, most cruise lines have introduced radically more flexible cancellation terms to allow cruisers the greatest choice in cancelling their cruises than ever before.

Check with your cruise line to see when you could choose to cancel a cruise and receive a future cruise credit. There seems to be nearly a universal approach among all the cruise lines to offer simple ways to change your mind and either postpone a sailing a later date, or receive travel credit to use on another sailing in the future.