Saturday, March 28, 2020

Amid the complete shutdown of operations through at least April 30 due to the coronavirus crisis, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL) said it has entered into a $2.2 billion 364-day secured term loan facility, further enhancing the company's liquidity position. The facility can be extended at the company's option for an additional 364 days. Royal Caribbean has borrowed the full amount available under the term loan to further bolster its liquidity.

Including this new financing, the company has more than $3.6 billion of liquidity comprised of cash deposits and its existing undrawn revolving credit facilities (net of outstanding commercial paper).  In addition, the company has committed financing for all of its new ships on order. "This is a period of unprecedented disruption for the cruise industry," said Jason Liberty, executive vice president and CFO of RCCL  "We continue to take decisive actions to protect the company's financial and liquidity positions as they enable us to keep focused on our guests, our crew and our long-term plans."

Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, BNP Paribas and Goldman Sachs acted as joint lead arrangers and bookrunners on the secured term loan facility.  Morgan Stanley is acting as an administrative agent and collateral Agent on the facility.  Perella Weinberg Partners LP served as financial advisor and Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal advisor to the company in connection with the secured term loan facility.

RCCL controls and operates four global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises. It also is a 50 percent joint venture owner of the German brand TUI Cruises and a 49 percent shareholder in the Spanish cruise brand Pullmantur Cruceros. Together these brands operate a combined total of 61 ships with an additional 17 on order as of Dec. 31, 2019. 

By     James Shillinglaw

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Kempinski Hotels is assisting Kempinski Discovery members who have been affected by any newly imposed travel regulations. In case of an interrupted stay, members of Kempinski Hotel’s loyalty program will not only be recognized for the nights stayed, but also the nights which were cut short during that trip.

“Our loyal guests are very important to us and in these difficult times we want to prove our guest’s loyalty is highly valued in a meaningful way” says Amanda Elder, chief commercial officer and member of the management board at Kempinski Hotels (pictured above). “We continue to grant all tier nights for a stay that was interrupted by a country or region’s restrictions due to COVID19 concerns.”

The Kempinski Discovery Loyalty program offers guests bespoke advantages during their journey, including exclusive room benefits as well as opportunities to immerse in local culture. Called Local Experience Awards, these awards offer guests “money-can’t-buy-experiences.” The loyalty benefits extend to all partner brands of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) network of which Kempinski Hotels is a founding member and major shareholder. GHA is a network of independent hotel brands, bringing together more than 35 brands with over 570 hotels in 85 countries. The Discovery Loyalty program serves 17 million members.  more...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Creating better journeys and fostering growth for our customers.

This is part of our Live Travel Space series, where we'll talk in detail about all the changes we're making to bring us closer than ever to our customers, and become more open, dynamic, and connected by evolving from a Global Distribution System (GDS) to a Live Travel Space

Live Space – Travel, Experiences, Adventures.

Stay tuned....

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

RCL Brands Liberalize Cancellation Timing With New "Cruise With Confidence"

More than 4,400 travel advisors listened on Saturday afternoon as Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean International, Dondra Ritzenthaler of Celebrity Cruises and Carol Cabezas of Azamara, did an online trade conference call to explain the new "Cruise with Confidence" policy that the brands introduced early on Saturday.

"We know that there's a virus out there, and I actually want to say there's two viruses out there," said Freed. "There is, of course, the very serious coronavirus, but equally as serious, is the virus of fear." She said the new "Cruise with Confidence" policy can help clients overcome that fear and have confidence when selecting a cruise with any of the RCL Group brands.

With COVID-19 adding uncertainty to travel plans around the world, she and the other leaders talked about how Royal Caribbean Group is giving consumers greater control over their vacation decisions, allowing guests to cancel cruises as late as two days prior to the scheduled departure

Ritzenthaler thanked trade partners for their support, and then described the "new and temporary policy." She described it as "extremely generous."

Essentially, it's designed to help bookings stick and give guests confidence that their vacation investment will be protected by giving them more time before opting to go, or not go, on a booked cruise setting sail prior to July 31, 2020. "We really want to motivate you all to get them to stay," Ritzenthaler said. 

Only 48 Hours Notice Needed
“Cruise With Confidence” allows guests on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises (which RCL has a 67 percent stake in) to cancel up to 48 hours before a sailing. Guests will receive a full cruise credit (FCC) to use on any future sailing of the guest’s choice in 2020 or 2021. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.

“Our previous policy set earlier deadlines for guests to cancel their cruises, and that added unnecessary stress,” said Richard Fain, the company’s chairman and CEO, in a press release issued the same day as the trade briefing. “Trying to guess a month or more in advance where areas of concern about coronavirus might be is challenging for medical experts, much less a family preparing for vacation.

“When circumstances are as fast-changing as they have been recently, it’s good to know you have the option to take a rain check,” Fain said. “We think putting more control in our guests’ hands helps them make informed decisions about whether to keep their existing vacation plans or trade out for a more convenient time or itinerary.”

In addition to easing concerns for booked guests, Fain said the policy would also give consumers more confidence in making new bookings, knowing that they could later adjust their plans without penalty. The policy applies to all cruises on all four brands with a sailing date on or before July 31, 2020.

by Susan J. YoungMar 9, 2020 9:22am

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Cruise lines are continuing to adapt their cancellation and change policies to the evolving coronavirus situation. 

Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line is offering guests who choose to keep their booking as currently scheduled for departures between March 6 and May 31 the following onboard credit amounts:

$100 per cabin for 3 and 4 day cruises
$150 per cabin for 5 day cruises
$200 per cabin for 6 day and longer cruises
Carnival said it will automatically apply the credit to guests’ onboard accounts, and the cruise line is asking guests who choose to keep their sailing not to call. The cruise line noted that it is finalizing some itinerary changes to European itineraries on Carnival Radiance, and that it will share a special offer regarding those sailings in the next few days. 

Carnival guests who booked prior to March 6 on a sailing through May 31 and who decide to change their vacation plans will be able to move their booking to a new date and receive a Future Cruise Credit in the amount of the non-refundable cancellation fee. 

Guests booked on sailings departing March 9 – 31 can move their booking to a future date up to three days before sailing. Guests on cruises departing March 6 – 8 can call Carnival at any time to take advantage of this offer. 

Guests booked on sailings departing April 1 – May 31 can move their booking to a future date by March 31. 

The future cruise credit must be used for a sailing by March 31, 2021. 

Princess Cruises
The details of the new policy from Princess Cruises vary by departure date:

Date of Departure
Policy Update
April 3 or earlier
Cancel up to 72 hours before sailing to receive a Future Cruise Credit for 100 percent of the cancellation fees
April 4 - May 31
Cancel by March 31 and receive a Future Cruise Credit for 100 percent of the cancellation fees
June 1 - 30
Final payment will be due 60 days prior to sailing, instead of 90 days
Guests that choose to keep their booking as currently scheduled for departures between March 9 and May 31 will receive the following onboard credit amounts:

$100 per cabin for 3-day and 4-day cruises
$150 per cabin for 5-day cruises
$200 per cabin for 6 day and longer cruises
Future Cruise Credits will automatically be applied to each guests’ Captain Circle account after they have cancelled. Future Cruise Credits will not be available instantly and may take up to 10 business days to be processed.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Brands
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. cruise brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara – as well as Silversea (in which the company owns a 67 percent stake) have adopted the new “Cruise with Confidence” policy. Guests booked on a cruise departing prior to July 31, 2020, can cancel up to 48 hours before sailing and receive a full cruise credit to use on any future sailing of the guest’s choice in 2020 or 2021. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.

MSC Cruises
Effective March 10, MSC Cruises is launching its Cruise Assurance program for guests with existing and new reservations through July 31, 2020. For sailings on or before that date, guests have the option to cancel their existing reservation up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a Future Cruise Credit for the amount paid. The Future Cruise Credit can be applied to any future cruise of their choice departing on or before December 31, 2021.

Holland America Line
Guests booked on a Holland America Line cruise or Alaska Land+Sea Journey through May 31, 2020, can cancel and receive a future cruise credit for the amount of the paid fare which can be used for another cruise in 2020 or 2021. The FCC must be booked by December 31, 2020, and the cancellation must be made with a minimum of 72 hours in advance of departure date but no later than March 31, 2020. However, guests booked between now and March 9, 2020 may also cancel under this new policy despite being within 72 hours.

For those who choose to keep their cruise plans on departures through May 31, 2020, an Onboard Spending Credit of $200 per stateroom/$100 per person for voyages longer than seven days and $100 per stateroom/$50 per person for voyages less than six days will be automatically applied to their shipboard account.

Additionally, guests who make a new booking by April 30, 2020, for itineraries that depart on or before October 15, 2020, can cancel for any reason and receive a future cruise credit in the amount of any cancellation fees applied, so long as they cancel up to 30 days before departure. 

The cruise line is also offering a Cancellation Protection Plan for new cruises or Alaska Land+Sea Journeys. The program, offering a Standard or Platinum plan, allows guests to cancel up to 24 hours before cruise departure with Standard and right up to departure under Platinum and receive refunds from 80 to 90 percent of eligible amounts paid. The cost varies by cruise fare and is nonrefundable. 

Norwegian Cruise Line
Under Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Peace of Mind policy, guests on individual and group bookings that embark from March 10, 2020, through September 30, 2020, can cancel up to 40 hours prior to their departure date and receive a future cruise credit to be used for any Norwegian sailing embarking on or before December 31, 2022. 

Additionally, the cruise line reports that all paid travel advisor commissions are protected and will not be recalled. During this temporary policy change period, commissions that have not yet been paid on voyages through September 30, 2020, will now be paid at time of sailing. Commission on new bookings where the FCC is applied will be paid in full, as per the line’s standard policy.

Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises has announced a new Traveler’s Assurance booking policy, effective immediately, for all existing and new bookings made by April 30, 2020, for any voyages departing between march 10, 2020, and September 30, 2020. 

As part of the policy guests can cancel up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a future cruise credit equal to 100 percent of the cruise fare paid. Additionally, up to the day of the sailing, should there be another applicable public promotion that offers a better value through amenities or price, guests and advisors will be able to take advantage of that promotional offer and/or price. 

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line
Effective on any new bookings made through the end of 2020, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s “Sail with Ease” policy allows customers traveling in less than 30 days to change to a new sailing date at no charge, with price protection and the transfer of any promotional offers or supplements. Cruise passengers traveling in more than a month can cancel with no charge or take the opportunity to transfer to a future sailing, receiving up to a $50 onboard credit.

Cruise & Stay passengers traveling in the next 45 days may change to a new sailing date at no charge or cancel for any reason, receiving a future Cruise & Stay credit. Cancelations with future bookings will be made at the prevailing rate but will include the transfer of any existing promotional offers or supplements. Cruise & Stay passengers traveling in 46 days or more will be given the opportunity to cancel for any reason. Those wishing to rebook on a future date can do so at prevailing rates with a $50 onboard credit.

Sea Cloud Cruises
Sea Cloud Cruises is offering guests on cruises departing in 2020 booked now until May 31 the ability to cancel free of charge up until one month prior to the departure date. 

Riviera River Cruises
Riviera River Cruises has made the following changes to its cancellation and deposit policies, effective immediately:

On new bookings, the deposit of $400 will be fully refundable up to 60 days after being made. If booking is canceled after 60 days, the deposit will be transferred to a future 2020 departure.

For clients who have deposited or fully paid, any 2020 booking can be canceled with 24 hours’ notice and will be credited to a future 2020 cruise. If the future cruise costs more, the client will pay the difference.

Avalon Waterways
Avalon Waterways has announced that guests and travel advisors can now reschedule or cancel their river cruise up to three days prior to their scheduled departure date. Previously Avalon, along with its fellow members of the Globus family of brands, had announced a travel policy that allowed for changes up to 30 days prior to departure. 

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection 
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection reports that guests on all 2020 cruises can cancel up to 14 days prior to their cruise and receive a Future Cruise Credit for the penalty amount incurred at the time of cancellation, or they can rebook on any 2020 cruise without penalty. The non-penalized amount will be refunded at the time of cancellation. Guests also have the option to rebook with any Travel Corporation Brand for 2020 or 2021. This new policy will not apply to cruises or tours booked for Obergammerau 2020/2021. 

by  Adam LeposaMar 9, 2020 11:55am