|Another week goes by with a bit more optimism in our world of travel. Most cruise lines and land operators believe we will see some departures in late 2020, but most feel like 2021, 2nd quarter and on is where we will see more normalcy. At this point, that’s looking like good news and let’s hope they are right!
Destinations opening up very soon include Greece and Italy, amongst quite a number. All destinations and accommodations, as well as air lines are busy formulating and formalizing safety plans if they have not already done so.
So, what is booking for 2021 you ask? Our observations indicate closer to home destinations for both land and cruise. Alaska is looking very strong followed by Europe for the cruise season, and we are seeing land vacations and tours booking fairly well for Canada, the US and Mexico, as well as Europe.
Nothing has changed in our personal predictions that the cruise side will see less ships in 2021 and a rather cautious deployment – including easier to-get-to ports and likely more short duration trips. Most sailings are available for booking, but I think we will see significant changes still to come. The further into 2021 sailings are more likely to stick.
On the cruise front, “Book with Confidence” is a broadly used message these days, as cruise lines are doing everything to have you book today and not to worry if things do change- flexibility is key. The values are quite exceptional, so now is a great time to book if your heart is yearning to get back to travel.
Holland America, for example, has some enticing goodies for booking now (some really good ones if you book by May 31st) and have extended their booking with confidence program through the end of August, combinable with some of the best values we have seen ever. Other suppliers also have plenty of specials happening and there is belief that pricing will be going up and many itineraries will sell out. We can’t wait to help you!
Our advice? There are not as many non – refundable promotions out there right now, but try to avoid them. We don’t’ know exactly what travel is going to look like, but it might be a good time to consider adding a bit more time in destination. Be aware that there are likely to be less ships and less tour departures, so the demand for space may be high. Much of the space is already taken up with bookings from people who trip was cancelled this year and they have chosen just to move it to next year.
If you are waiting for refunds
We are starting to see more refunds, credits and information in general start to flow.
For the most part, we still dealing with 90 – 120 days from your departure date to process. Some suppliers are moving a bit quicker now and some are taking even longer, especially if they are located in a country that has specifically allowed longer time frames for compensation to roll out, or if they have serious technology challenges.
We are still getting asked “why is it taking so long?” – and that’s a very valid question. It truly is a function of overwhelming volume, and that for most suppliers a manual process is required because the normal terms and conditions of booking cancellations have been overwritten by Covid – 19 exceptions. We truly do appreciate your patience and kindness as we work through this on your behalf.
All of us hope you are well and let’s hope we can soon get to the new normal! We’d very much appreciate your next booking, whether for a cruise or land vacation. It has been a challenging time and your business and your kind referrals are very appreciated.
If you have questions, please be in touch!
Below, you will find a glimpse of one of our CruisePlus Hosted Journeys, destination India. The picture is of our fabulous Fiona Butchart, who along with her husband are incredible hosts for some of these journeys. It is her words as well, and I’m sure you will sense her heartfelt love and longing for India.
Best wishes from all of us, to all of you.
Shelley, Dave and the CruisePlus Team