Travel companies offering free booking cancellations


As the global coronavirus worsens, the travel industry is urging travellers not to put off booking their next holiday.

Upgraded travel alerts and flight and cruise cancellations means many nervous travellers have been delaying their next trip.

So to reassure holiday goers, some operators are making an unprecedented move, guaranteeing no money will be lost if holiday plans change due to coronavirus. Here are some of the latest announcements.

VIKING CRUISES

Viking has announced a temporary exception to its cancellation policy, offering guests who are booked to travel on any upcoming 2020, 2021 or 2022 Viking cruise (river, ocean or expedition) the option to postpone their cruise (with no fee) at any time up until 24 hours before it departs.

They will receive a ‘Future Cruise Voucher’ for the full value of the amount paid which can be used toward any future cruise, valid for 24 months.

In addition, any guest who books a new cruise between now and 30 April 2020 will also be free to postpone their cruise up to 24 hours before departure, without incurring cancellation fees. They too will receive a Future Cruise Voucher valid for 24 months.

“Our guests are experienced travellers. We know that for you, travel is a way of life. Our temporary policy exception is designed to give you peace of mind and the certainty to continue planning your travels,” said Viking’s Michelle Black.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE CRUISES

Holland America Line is offering a ‘Book with Confidence’ deal allowing guests to cancel for any reason – even getting cold feet about health issues – and receive a credit towards a future cruise.

The offer is available to April, 30, 2020 on new bookings made for cruises sailing from April 1 to October, 15, 2020, the cruise must be cancelled at least 30 days before the departure date and the credit is only valid for 90 days from issuance and must be used towards a 2020 or 2021 cruise.

ELITE HAVENS

Luxury villa company Elite Havens is guaranteeing a full refund to anyone who can’t get to their booked accommodation if their flights are cancelled due to coronavirus.

A refund will also be offered to any guests sidelined by quarantine.

“We understand that flexibility is required for travel planning in the current COVID-19 scenario. So should your flights be cancelled or a travel advisory require you to be quarantined, we guarantee a full refund or you can choose to move your stay within 12 months of your check-in date, in the same villa, for the same number of nights and in the same (or lower) season,” Elite Havens said in an email to customers.

UNIWORLD CRUISES

Uniworld has announced those booked on cruises departing May 1, 2020 or later will have the option to cancel their cruise at 30 days before departure, at the lesser 120-plus day cancellation rate of $A250 per person.

HOTELS

Hotel groups with properties in mainland China, Hong Kong, and other coronavirus-effected countries are also waiving cancellation fees and offering more flexible rebooking policies in response to coronavirus.

Marriott International and Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) are both waiving cancellations fees for hotel stays booked through to March 31 for guests travelling to or from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Italy.

Shangri-La is also waiving its cancellation fees for all bookings made before March 1 by guests travelling to any of its hotels in Greater China, as well as for any guests who plan to travel from Greater China and Korea to any of its hotels globally, on or before March 31.

See also:

What travellers need to know about coronavirus

coronavirus: What cruisers need to know
• coronavirus and bushfires drive Australian airfares down

Aussies warned over Italy travel
How to avoid coronavirus on a plane



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