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Discussion Starter #1
Holland America has offered two choices to passengers whose cruise has been cancelled due to coronavirus. I've never taken a cruise before and am struggling to find any reason not to go with option 1. Then again, who knows what cruising will look like in 2021...

Which would you choose?

Option #1, POSTPONE (higher value)
Defer your refund and receive a future cruise credit for 125% of the base cruise fare paid plus an onboard credit of $250 USD/per person for paid in full bookings or 125% of amount paid as deposit if not paid in full plus an onboard credit of $250 USD/per person, which can be applied toward any future cruises booked by December 31, 2020 and sailed by December 31, 2021. Non-cruise fare purchases through Holland America Line will be refunded via the method of payment used to purchase the services. All future cruise credits expire on December 31, 2020 and are subject to published terms.

Option #2, Cancel (lower value)
If you do not choose the 125% future cruise credit plus $250 USD/per person onboard credit, a 100% refund of all monies paid will be reimbursed to the original form of payment. This includes Holland America Line's FlightEase air, Cancellation Protection Plan, Holland America Line pre- or post-cruise hotel packages or transfers, prepaid shore excursions and amenities purchased through Holland America Line, and taxes, fees, and port expenses back to the original form of payment.

(Note: With option 1, you can change your mind at any time through the end of 2020, and request a refund instead.)
 

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I would want to know what happens if the company goes out of business, which is a distinct possibility at the moment. I cannot see cruises becoming popular again until an effective Covid vaccine is in general use, and for many people the sight of "plague ships" refused anchorage will be enough to put them off for life, for fear of outbreaks of other contagious disease, plus many destinations may take this opportunity to reset the size and number of ships they allow - all things that will impact the cruise companies profits. I think I would take the full refund, rather than risk losing everything if HA declares bankruptcy!
 

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Well since you have the option of still getting a refund I'd go with option 1. I've only been on one cruise years ago and they are so fun and or as relaxing as you want. Many of my friends go every year now.
 

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I love HAL and Alaska cruises, but I suggest that you take fjm's warning to heart. If you take the money now, you can always rebook later. If we're in a recession, would you have a greater need for the money now?

Unfortunately, the virus isn't going to go away until we have an effective vaccine that people are willing to take.
And once a vaccine is offered, the anti-vaxxers are going to have a field day.
 

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I would take the refund. It gives you more flexibility. You will be glad to have the cash if the economy tanks. You can rebook a cruise later if your finances are healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Although it pains me to let go of that "free" money (works out to over $1,500 in extras, and also covers our insurance cost, which is otherwise forfeited) I am definitely wondering what happens if the cruise line goes bankrupt, or does some sort of other financial restructuring.

Thanks everyone for your input! This was definitely not a scenario I imagined when booking last August.
 

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Sadly I would not be surprised if some of the cruise lines, and airlines go bankrupt. I would also go with option 2, even though if things go well I could very well regret it in the future...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I looked at prices for next year and they are much higher than what we paid. So it's possible this seemingly big credit would actually have LESS buying power.

I'm going to request a refund. That will give us more flexibility, too. But yeah...it stings.
 

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I would choose option 2.

I don’t think its safe to take a cruise until the great majority of people have been vaccinated and developed immunity including the crew which come from all over the world. That vaccine is probably a year or more away. I don’t see a cruise as a smart choice for quite awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good point, Skylar. I'm impatient so 2021 feels so far away, but it's really not, especially not in pandemic terms.
 

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I am so relieved that you are leaning towards taking the refund. Who knows what the vacay outlook is going to be? As to the economic outlook, we need to prepare for the worst and that means cutting or postponing, unnecessary expenses if you are fortunate enough to have them.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Another good point. Maybe we could put the refund in a special savings account, so it's there if we urgently need it, but still tucked away.
 

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I would take the refund too. The world is very unsure right now, and that is cash in hand.
 
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I think the refund makes the most sense. Remember cruise ships have not been the picture definition of good health and hygiene even before the emergence of SARS CoV 2 (think noroviruses, not deadly, but also really contagious).

And BTW I doubt airlines and cruiselines will go into uncontrolled bankruptcies. They will get bailout style restructuring like the auto industry did and come out okay in the end. In the meantime your favorite independent deli, florist, pub will never reopen at all after this fiasco of bailing out businesses. I saw this morning on the Daily Beast that the US Army has given well over $550 million dollars to deep pocket republicans to "build the wall." Army Gives GOP Donors $569 Million to ‘Build the Wall’ Really? That is your money and mine paid in through income taxes. Whether you are an independent, liberal or conservative that is offensive. The army should be using every penny it has to give support to our real current front line protectors, doctors, nurses, EMTs and all the other folks who are risking, and losing, their lives every day to protect our helath and turn the tide on COVID 19.

Peggy sorry to steal attention from you vacay dilemma.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
No need for apologies. For my sanity right now, it's actually nice to alternate between my personal woes and the big picture.

The optics of building a wall during a pandemic are just sad....especially when said wall is going around a country that has the overwhelming majority of cases. And these numbers are a horror:
  • The Daily Beast reported on Thursday night that the Army announced a $569 million no-bid contract to BFBC, a firm affiliated with Barnard Construction, to build 17.7 miles of the border wall.
  • While the Trump administration pays contractors around $20 million per mile of wall, BFBC is receiving $33 million per mile for the latest contract.
 

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Every spring since we retired my husband and I take a birthday trip in late April. 'My' years we go the NYC to the opera and a play. "His" years we go to a real baseball stadium in a large city. We both enjoy the other guy's years.

We should be leaving tomorrow. It's bittersweet. I'm so grateful not to be flying. And appreciate the full refund from Delta. Major League Baseball is still sitting on our money. NO points for them.

Robin, I think you made the prudent choice. The world's a bit unpredictable for the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Every spring since we retired my husband and I take a birthday trip in late April. 'My' years we go the NYC to the opera and a play. "His" years we go to a real baseball stadium in a large city. We both enjoy the other guy's years.

We should be leaving tomorrow. It's bittersweet. I'm so grateful not to be flying. And appreciate the full refund from Delta. Major League Baseball is still sitting on our money. NO points for them.

Robin, I think you made the prudent choice. The world's a bit unpredictable for the moment.
That is such a wonderful way to celebrate. At the very least, I'd hope MLB will give you a credit for a future game. I'm hearing similar things about concert tickets.

This was to be an anniversary cruise, but we'd been talking about it since the day we got married...and finally booked it 6 years later. Usually we go camping for our anniversary in May, but it looks like that won't even be an option either. Maybe a tent in the backyard? 😂

Some loud voices in our community are clamouring to "re-open" but I'm not sure they're prepared for the influx of out-of-state and international visitors our region gets every summer. Sadly, I hope all but the back country will stay closed through tourist season, much as I'm aching to get back to my favourite parks.
 
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