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Why Is There NO WAY I Am Booking Another Cruise This Year? (Hint: Coronavirus Disease COVID-19!)

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I just returned from another simply amazing NCL Norwegian Cruise. I had never been on a western Caribbean route, nor had time to visit New Orleans. This gave me the opportunity to do both! The NCL Getaway is a sister ship to the NCL Breakaway (video review of my cabin here and of the Haven review is found here). This cruise I went for a large aft cabin and I will have that review both on YouTube and on the blog soon.

I have covered in a number of posts the different ways I go about reducing the cost of my cruises. Not just the cruise itself — but also how I fly on points to get to the ship, stay on points in hotels before I sail and fly back on points. Heck, I even use either UBER or Groundlink to get to and from the airport, hotel, and the ship itself. The point is that I try using many points to make the trip net cost me no more than 10-20% of retail out of pocket. Nice.

But I am done for 2020!

Yep. Even though I put down another $250 (to get $500 NCL “Cruise Next” credits) before departing the Getaway on Sunday, I will not book another voyage for quite some time.


Coronavirus Disease COVID-19

This thing has me simply scared out of my wits.

I am clearly fearful of getting the disease itself but not in mortal fear of surviving it if I do get sick. I am reasonably healthily and not “that old” and get a flu shot each year (will not help me but has benefits if you study up).

I also understand many more are dying from the normal yearly flu than have or likely will die this year from the coronavirus (unless things change rapidly). But I also understand an inoclulation for this virus is unlikely this year — or maybe even next year!

So why my fear and no more bookings?

I am a big proponent of having a yearly travel insurance policy. I have it because it covers everything my wife and I have booked — and everything I and my wife will book. It covers us even as SCUBA divers as long as we are with a divemaster and stay above 120 feet and even are not freaked out swimming with sharks!

But what is NOT covered? Epidemics. They are in fact explicitly excluded in my policy (see big red arrows above). OK so is it just because of this? No – there is much more.

This thing is getting worse — and could get out of control.

If you have not been following along due to so much coronavirus coverage, there have been a few cruise ships with coronavirus infected people. The number of folks infected keeps going up. What first seemed to be simply an extended pleasure cruise (quarantine) is rapidly changing day by day. Plus, infected folks have now gotten on commercial airlines and flown around the world (ruh roh). What else?

I never book an interior room on a cruise ship (they seem to be only slightly larger than an airline lavatory). I could never, ever, consider being trapped a.k.a. quarantined in one of these rooms for weeks on end – could you?

Even with a balcony room, not being able to go anywhere would start to unnerve me. Plus, the uncertainty of how long I may have to be again quarantined when and if I eventually get home to the USA would add another layer of frustration I am not ready to face!

Bottom line: I love cruising. I love every part of it from the planning of the voyage, to the using points, to make the vacation as close to “free” as possible, and then all the fun on and off the ship.

But the uncertainty that now encircles the coronavirus epidemic has given me pause.

I am happy to wait for a year for the rest of 2020 to see where this thing goes. You? – René


Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. I feel for you. I took a balcony on Bliss to Bahamas in Dec and enjoyed it too.

    • @Me – I plan to sail the Bliss in 2021. Well, if the virus has run it’s course by then that is.

  2. I’ve never talked to anyone who didn’t say Norwegian ships are way overcrowded with poor food.

    • @Ryan – Every meal I had was perfect and amazing. IMO NCL food is tops. As to overcrowded, not been an issue for me other than at boarding but I go early.

  3. I’m not as worried about getting sick as I am about someone else getting sick on my cruise. I can’t imagine being quarantined on a ship, in a hotel or even in my own home for a minimum of two weeks. I’d go stir crazy!

  4. That situation with the Holland ship that finally disembarked in Cambodia (and THEN discovering at least one passenger had COVID-19) seems nuts.

  5. I’m facing a decision about a late-May European river cruise. The big final payment is due in 5 days, and I don’t know whether to abandon the deposit or to hope the epidemic dies out before summer.

    I looked at the travel insurance provided by my credit card, and it has the same exclusion for pandemics. It also excludes, in case worse comes to worst, the travel agency going bankrupt.

    I do know that I’ll be paying the 5% penalty for using a credit card, rather than paying by check, just to gain a bit of protection offered with all CCs.

  6. Pingback: Update on Diamond Princess Cruise Ship, and How It Might Affect Cruises Closer to Home - Miles For Family

  7. Tom Hoover Reply

    Hi Rene – Just wondering if Delta has Y-up fares? If so how do you find pricing? Travel agency? Thank you! Tom

  8. Tad Dunlap Reply

    I get travel insurance for cruises that needs no reason for cancellation. Get 90 percent back minus small fees. I’m booking another one soon and hope the prices drop.

    As long as the countries involved have just a handful of cases AND those countries are responsibly separating and quarantining the folks, I’m not going to stop flying or cruising. At least with the info available to me today.

    • @Tad – I would check the fine print. Most travel insurance does not cover epidemics (when something is declared as such that is).

  9. I was worried about you and Lisa re your cruise travels and am so glad to hear you are taking a break. How does one know when a ship has been completely sanitized
    After infections ? They don’t. I used to work in a hospital and they had an outbreak of an infection. I remember cleaning staff washing walls 4 times a day to fight the infection. It was crazy!
    I’d go nuts being confined- not worth it and who would book a windowless cabin on a cruise. So, what are your travel plans for 2020 not that cruising is off the plate?
    Wishing you and Lisa well!

    • @Nina – I have been on a ship after a Norovirus outbreak. They take extreme steps to sanitize and wipe down everything and every surface with disinfectant. On that sailing they even went to paper salt and pepper vs hand ones to reduce risk. As to our 2020 plans… we shall see.

  10. Jerry b Udell Reply

    Hysteria is rampant with this thing. Logic has been overtaken by Hysteria! Over 60,000 people died from the flu in North America last year. Why leave your house for fear of catching the germs that carry the flu? By the way they are similar to the Corona Virus,…just a different strain. I booked a Vietnam cruise for Feb before the virus was even known. We went and my wife and I are both fine. We wore masks when not on board and washed our hands a lot. Again, just common sense.The people who were kept on the Princess ship were put in an incubator and were basically held captive on the ship. Even the Medical authorities now agree it wasn’t very smart to isolate them. Unless you have reason to believe the ship you are on was in the China Sea or the far East why wouldn’t you go on a cruise. If the airplane you’re on was in the far East at some time in the last 3 weeks wouldn’t you be more susceptible to catching the virus/ After all you are trapped in a metal tube breathing everyone air…filtered or not.
    Let’s all remember, cool calm logic should govern our travel plans, not hyped up misinformation about what the real risks are.

  11. Got a note from Royal Caribbean a few days before last week’s cruise that if we’d been to China within the past 15 days we would not be permitted to board. I’ve always found RCL to seem to be focused on constant cleaning, wiping down handrails, etc., but I think they were doing more of that this cruise than I’d ever seen before.

    • @MJ – They checked every single stamp in my passport at boarding. For some folks they had to wait in line over 4 hours to board. Then again, New Orleans port is horrid and I would never sail from there again unless the deal was really good. As to cleaning, they were wiping everything down like it was a “code red” situation onboard.

  12. Just got back from an MSC cruise. That was the only thing I didn’t like about them – they’re not as much into the cleaning thing. Otherwise it was awesome.

    • @Bear – I really want to try them one day and do a status match from my NCL Platinum status.

  13. Marilyn Bamford Reply

    Agree with Rene. Epidemiologist at University of MN says we will not know for 2-4 weeks what is happening with this virus -, A cruise ship is a Petri dish it seems. Too bad, as we have loved them…

  14. Tad Dunlap Reply

    René, that’s why you pay more for that type of insurance. No reason is needed to cancel. It’s a big part of their sales pitch. Plus I wanted to get back 90 percent. I cancelled one a few months ago, gave no reason for canceling and had the money in three days.

    But without that kind, I do hope folks are scouring their travel insurance. As an attorney, I’m pretty good with fine print. I wonder if they’ll be cracking down on the “no reason” policies given the epidemic.

  15. Apparently many are not signing up for cruises right now because the fares are dropping like a rock. I signed up for a Celebrity cruise in the Caribbean for October last night and got a suite for less than what we have paid for a balcony in the past.

  16. Jerry b Udell Reply

    For the record. I am a HUGE Rene fan. His advice has always been 100% on the money. My comments are directed at those who worry about “the sky is falling”. Again, use common sense in making a travel decision. Thank you to Rene and Chris for their blog. You have saved me thousands of dollars and lots of grief with you sound advice and guidance

  17. This is just one more evidence of why I REFUSE to cruise. If it’s not one virus it’s another. There’s no way a cruise is worth the risk

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