I have now been self-isolating for a month, so I thought it was time for an update. So much has happened since this started.
I had decided to take a break from writing, as I would not be traveling for awhile. Some travel writers are republishing old reports; others are giving continual updates on the virus.
During this break, I have cancelled some travel, I have had some cancelled for me, and I am anticipating more travel will be cancelled.
Traveling to See my Daughter
The first of my trips cancelled was an end of March trip to see my daughter in Maryland (near DC). This trip was easy to cancel, because it only involved plane tickets. Another daughter and I were planning to stay with my daughter and her husband, so we wouldn’t need a hotel. We did not plan any activities that needed to be booked ahead of time.
Our flights were booked on Southwest Airlines. As I’ve mentioned before, Southwest has a liberal cancellation policy, allowing flights to be cancelled up to ten minutes before takeoff. Credit is given in the form of payment. If you pay with dollars, Southwest will hold the money in your account until the next time you fly. I paid with points, so I now have Southwest points waiting in my account.
The points that I used were transferred from my Chase credit card, but once transferred, they cannot be put back. Although I wish they would go back to my Chase account, I fly Southwest often enough that I should be able to use the points.
I had two cruises booked for this spring and one for the summer. So far, the two spring cruises have been cancelled. I work with a Personal Cruise Consultant, who told me it was just a matter of time before the summer cruise would also be cancelled.
In March, the cruise line put into place a new policy where cruises could be cancelled by the guests with no penalty until 48 hours before the cruise sailed. This is a huge change as the previous policy offered no refund or credit if the cruise was cancelled less than a couple months before the sail date. I did not choose to cancel when the program was announced, because the virus was just beginning to spread in this country.
It was only a week or so later, that my first cruise was cancelled by the cruise company. Guests whose cruises were cancelled just days before sailing were given credit plus a 50% bonus. My cruise was still a ways off at that time, so my bonus was less. (I was supposed to be cruising today).
Credit or Refund?
By waiting until the cruise line cancelled, I was offered full credit in the form of Future Cruise Credit (FCC) with a 25% bonus, or a full refund in the way the cruise was purchased. An additional cruise discount was given for cruises booked by April 14. This cruise was booked with my daughter and she was interested in getting the bonus credit. I know I will cruise again, so we accepted the credit and started looking at new cruises.
While we were trying to decide on a booking, my second cruise was cancelled. I had booked the second one with a group of friends and before I had a chance to look, a new cruise was chosen by members of the group. I liked the looks of that one and decided to book it.
In the end, I booked it with my daughter and the the friend I was originally scheduled to room with on the second cruise. We all saved the 20% discount, applied our 25% bonus money, and then used some of our FCC. We saved even more by choosing to book three people in one room.
Between the balance of our FCC and the 20% discount, my daughter and I were able to book another cruise for just the two of us.
My friend and I still had credit to use and wanted to take advantage of the 20% discount, so we decided to book an Alaska cruise to replace this summer’s (Alaska) cruise that will likely get cancelled. If our cruise for this summer does not get cancelled, we will be able to change the recently booked one with no penalty.
If the summer cruise is cancelled as anticipated, I will have to decide if I want additional cruise credit or a refund. At this time I’m leaning toward taking the refund, since I already have three cruises booked for 2021. However, the credit will be good through December 2022 and the bonus is tempting.
If I only knew what the future of cruising would look like…
Other Cancellations to Come
My friend and I had planned to spend a week in Seattle before this summer’s Alaska cruise. I have some hotels booked for the week. They were all booked with credit card points and are refundable rates, so I should not have a problem getting my points back.
For the best price, I had to book two one way flights to Seattle. One of the flights is with Southwest, so it will be easy to cancel. The other flight is with Alaska Airlines. I’m not sure what will happen with that one. I’ll have to wait to see if the cruise is cancelled and then work on the flight.
I plan to drive to Nashville to see my daughter in early June. Our family has rented a cabin in the Smokies for the Fourth of July weekend. I hope we can keep these plans. I’d also like to plan a trip for this fall, but I won’t make any reservations yet.
These are such strange times. I am disappointed to give up my travel, but I understand it’s for the greater good.
On a personal note, I am thankful that all of my family and I are healthy. I’ve spent a lot of time knitting, which helps keep me sane.
How are you doing? What are you doing to stay healthy and sane? Have you had to cancel any travel plans?