Given uncertainties with travel to Europe this year, Celestyal Cruises, a small-ship cruise line that sails within the Greek Isles and Mediterranean region, has voluntarily extended its cruise suspension until the start of the 2021 season, March 6, 2021.
“As the core of our season runs from the spring through the autumn, we were optimistic that we would be able to resume our cruise operations later this summer,” said Leslie Peden, chief commercial officer for Celestyal Cruises, in a press statement. “However, given the prevailing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions through the balance of our operating season from our largest international source markets coupled with the continuing discussions at the European Union level regarding the enhanced health protocols that will apply to EU cruise operations, we made the difficult but prudent decision to postpone resuming cruise operations until the scheduled start of our normal spring season next year.”
Peden said that Celestyal felt that “as a company, we have already put our travel partners and guests through enough date changes on when cruising could return safely.” He noted that by voluntarily pausing operations until the line’s scheduled 2021 departures, “Celestyal will be better positioned to offer more clarity and certainty to our valued partners and guests, as well as peace of mind.”
In addition, he said Celestyal will shift its focus “to developing both 2021 and 2022 business where we are already seeing encouraging signs of pent-up demand and be well prepared to implement all enhanced health protocols that will ultimately be established by the EU and the countries where we operate.”
Peden continued: "While we appreciate and share in the disappointment this decision has on our guests, their wellbeing, as well as that of our loyal crew and the local communities we visit is always our top priority.”
This past March, Celestyal was among the first cruise lines to temporarily suspend cruise operations, which the line’s press statement said “resulted in no COVID-19 cases on Celestyal’s ships.” In addition, the small ship line repatriated guests and crew home before international air travel and borders shut down.
Future Cruise Credits
Celestyal said that “for all named and individual guests impacted by the suspension,” it will offer a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) valued at 120 percent of original booking value. It can be used toward any Celestyal cruise through December 31, 2022. Travel advisors or guests will automatically receive those FCC vouchers, so the line said there is no need to call the line’s contact center except for rebooking. If clients do not use the FCC voucher by the expiration date of December 31, 2021, they will automatically receive a full refund equal to the original amount paid to Celestyal.
Celestyal recently launched 2021 and 2022 digital brochure and the line has an early booking promotional campaign, ”Escape To The Future,” as well as “Peace of Mind” policy that allows newly booked guests to change any cruise that departs through December 31, 2021. This applies to new bookings made until August 31, 2020.
As long as the booking is changed at least 30 days before the sail date, a future cruise credit for 100 percent of the value received by Celestyal will be issued. The credit can be used toward any cruise that sets sail through December 31, 2022.