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Cancel or hedge our bets on 3rd (currently) sailing of Mardi Gras?


BrentD
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Looking for opinions that I won't hold anyone accountable for. 😄

 

My wife and I are booked on what currently will be the third sailing of the Mardi Gras on May 8th. Due to the ongoing status of Covid and my wife's growing apprehension of being away from our then 2 1/2 year old twin boys (she has unrealistic visions of us being stuck on the ship for weeks a la the Diamond Princess), we have pretty much decided to cancel.

 

That being said, our final payment date is not until February 7th. Since all MG sailings that were scheduled through April 17th are now canceled, I also don't have high hopes that our sailing on May 8th would happen in the first place. Worth noting that all of what we have paid so far (other than the deposit) has been via gift cards purchased at Kroger so we could get fuel points for buying them. We have paid around $950 and have a remaining balance of around $1500.

 

OPTION 1 - Cancel right before final payment in hopes that Carnival cancels first. Our Early Saver deposit of $198 would be refunded with a $98 future cruise credit to be used within 2 years, as I understand it, due to the $50/pp service fee for doing so.

 

OPTION 2 - Pay the final ~$1500 payment with debit/credit, hedge our bets and see if Carnival makes a move to cancel the sailing. If we hold out until early March and Carnival changes nothing, canceling it would result in forfeiting the standard deposit amount, which I understand would be $250/pp, or $500 total. That leaves us with a ~$450 gift card and $1500 refund.

 

As I understand things based on how it has gone so far, if Carnival cancels before exercising option 1 we would get $600 in OBC and a future cruise credit of $950.  If they cancel before we exercise option 2 it would be the same $600 OBC and future cruise credit for the full cruise fare of around $2500. I'm leaning towards option 1 and using the $1500 from not having to make the final payment vacationing somewhere else since the cruise isn't happening. I don't know if Carnival is strategic in when they announce cancellations, but I'm inclined to think Carnival would wait til right after the final payment date of as many of the cruises they can that they would be cancelling. 

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I'm also not sure what to do-we are on the 1st sailing 4/24, with same final payment date.

 

I really think Carnival will cancel, especially now that some other lines cancelled all their April cruises.

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No one is cruising anywhere for a long time . Covid is killing more people than ever before . More people are testing positive than ever before . There is a new highly contagious strain spreading rapidly.  We are in the worst shape ever.  The vaccine rollout is a disaster .

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1 hour ago, ypcat said:

You could ask Carnival for an extension on final payment, and wait on option 1.

That's a thing you can do? Never heard of it. Then again, I usually pay pretty early. Only reason I've waited out paying on this one is the uncertainty of the whole industry the last year.

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4 minutes ago, BrentD said:

That's a thing you can do? Never heard of it. Then again, I usually pay pretty early. Only reason I've waited out paying on this one is the uncertainty of the whole industry the last year.

Yes. For my April 3 cruise (which I have since moved), I had moved the final payment from Jan 3 to Feb 18. BTW, no reason to pay them off early. Stick the money in savings and earn some interest instead of letting Carnival do it.

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3 minutes ago, ypcat said:

Yes. For my April 3 cruise (which I have since moved), I had moved the final payment from Jan 3 to Feb 18. BTW, no reason to pay them off early. Stick the money in savings and earn some interest instead of letting Carnival do it.

Cool. I wonder if a month or so is about the best they'll do on pushing it out? But also, if it's not fully paid and they cancel first, I wonder if they just automatically refund instead of the future cruise credit and OBC?

 

You're not wrong on paying it off early, but like I mentioned, we were buying gift cards at Kroger to pay, which gets us fuel points for much cheaper gas. I have about a 45 minute commute each way to work, so the savings on gas are why we pay the way we did. 

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3 hours ago, ngrund said:

I'm also not sure what to do-we are on the 1st sailing 4/24, with same final payment date.

 

I really think Carnival will cancel, especially now that some other lines cancelled all their April cruises.

Not really an issue for me since we are not going on the sailing either way it plays out, but I would also be concerned about even being able to get off the ship at some or all of the ports of call. With the situation the way it is all around the world, I would bet that some ports wouldn't even allow ships to dock yet.  I love cruising, but part of the reason we cruise is being able to visit multiple exotic places in one trip cheaper than we could otherwise. If it turns into a cruise to nowhere it's not nearly as appealing to me. I've been on a couple cruises with back to back full sea days, and even that was excruciating to me. 

Edited by BrentD
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I called Carnival and my pvp moved my final payment to 30 days before my March cruise.  Then the cruise was cancelled and I rebooked for 1/2022 with the $600 obc offer.  My deposit was transferred over to the new cruise so I did not have to lay out any more $$. 

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Option 3, call carnival and move to a year later. They dont have their policy in writing but they have been allowing people to move to a later date.

 

I would have moved my sailing that just got cancelled but out of space in 2022. 

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We are in a similar situation with our April 24th cruise on the Mardi Gras.  Because we booked very early, our final payment is in early February as well.  I'm hoping they cancel April cruises before then. My wife has absolutely said that we are not going this year, but we want to book it for sometime in 2022.  We currently already have $600 in onboard credit from our canceled September 2020 cruise.  Our September 2021 cruise on the Valor has already been canceled with another $300 unless we decide to take the refund this time.  I know that the onboard credit doesn't stack, but I would certainly like to have the $600 to use next year.  Our plan is to wait until a day or so before our payment due date to do anything.

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We were booked on this cruise too, until last night. We decided to move it Sept 24, 2022. We were able to secure a more favorable location on the ship (same category), saved 300 bucks on the fare, and just rolled forward our deposit. 
 

We have a European cruise in the Fall, and we’ll be moving that to 2023; we don’t feel like sailing this year will work out for us, but we hope it works out well for you and all our CC friends. 

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43 minutes ago, pe4all said:

I called Carnival and my pvp moved my final payment to 30 days before my March cruise.  Then the cruise was cancelled and I rebooked for 1/2022 with the $600 obc offer.  My deposit was transferred over to the new cruise so I did not have to lay out any more $$. 

So you’re saying you hadn’t yet paid in full and still got the OBC and future cruise credit for what you had already paid? Did you have any OBC that was included in your original fare, and if so, did that also get transferred over or only the new $600 OBC? Would love it if we could move the final payment, get canceled, get the future cruise OBC and still get to keep the OBC that was included in our original fare. Not holding my breath, though. 

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42 minutes ago, firefly333 said:

Option 3, call carnival and move to a year later. They dont have their policy in writing but they have been allowing people to move to a later date.

 

I would have moved my sailing that just got cancelled but out of space in 2022. 

In a perfect world I would love to get the final payment date moved, then have it get canceled all together so we can book next year with $600 OBC. Fingers crossed!

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37 minutes ago, Lee Cruiser said:

We are in a similar situation with our April 24th cruise on the Mardi Gras.  Because we booked very early, our final payment is in early February as well.  I'm hoping they cancel April cruises before then. My wife has absolutely said that we are not going this year, but we want to book it for sometime in 2022.  We currently already have $600 in onboard credit from our canceled September 2020 cruise.  Our September 2021 cruise on the Valor has already been canceled with another $300 unless we decide to take the refund this time.  I know that the onboard credit doesn't stack, but I would certainly like to have the $600 to use next year.  Our plan is to wait until a day or so before our payment due date to do anything.

I think that’s the plan I will go for as well, though I may attempt to move the final payment day out I hopes of better cancellation odds. 😇

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6 minutes ago, BrentD said:

In a perfect world I would love to get the final payment date moved, then have it get canceled all together so we can book next year with $600 OBC. Fingers crossed!

If you can move the $600 obc and know you want next year and there is no penalty to move it, why wait? 

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9 minutes ago, BrentD said:

So you’re saying you hadn’t yet paid in full and still got the OBC and future cruise credit for what you had already paid? Did you have any OBC that was included in your original fare, and if so, did that also get transferred over or only the new $600 OBC? Would love it if we could move the final payment, get canceled, get the future cruise OBC and still get to keep the OBC that was included in our original fare. Not holding my breath, though. 

Had not paid in full and still got the deposit, money we had paid already, and obc moved to 2022.  The only thing that did not transfer was the bottomless bubbles, computer time and water we had pre-purchased.  That was refunded around 2 weeks later back to our credit card.  Also our stockholder's credit did not come over, as the cruise is too far in the future, and we will have to send in the info CCL needs a few months before the cruise.

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4 minutes ago, firefly333 said:

If you can move the $600 obc and know you want next year and there is no penalty to move it, why wait? 

Because our sailing hasn't been canceled yet, so we don't have a $600 OBC offer yet to book next year. Unless I'm missing something?

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3 minutes ago, pe4all said:

Had not paid in full and still got the deposit, money we had paid already, and obc moved to 2022.  The only thing that did not transfer was the bottomless bubbles, computer time and water we had pre-purchased.  That was refunded around 2 weeks later back to our credit card.  Also our stockholder's credit did not come over, as the cruise is too far in the future, and we will have to send in the info CCL needs a few months before the cruise.

Nice! That's what I'll be hoping for. I knew from reading their cancellation policy that any pre-purchased perks, excursions, etc. would just be refunded, so I expected that. For the same reason we haven't paid in full, we also hadn't booked any additional things like that anyway, so no worries there.

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1 hour ago, BrentD said:

Because our sailing hasn't been canceled yet, so we don't have a $600 OBC offer yet to book next year. Unless I'm missing something?

They let a lot of people in december move the 600 obc to a new date. Idk if you still can but a lot of people moved it. 

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24 minutes ago, firefly333 said:

They let a lot of people in december move the 600 obc to a new date. Idk if you still can but a lot of people moved it. 

Right. But I don’t think you’re following what I’m saying. Our sailing hasn’t been cancelled yet, so there is no $600 OBC to move to another cruise until after they cancel ours and make the same offer. 

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21 minutes ago, BrentD said:

Right. But I don’t think you’re following what I’m saying. Our sailing hasn’t been cancelled yet, so there is no $600 OBC to move to another cruise until after they cancel ours and make the same offer. 

Ok I thought you already had 600 on this cruise you are waiting to cancel.

 

Sorry I've been cancelled so many times and moved obc, out of space. 

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I don't think it's actually possible for Carnival to sail in April given the CDC framework.   I'm linking an article below, but here is the main issue:   CDC requires that cruiselines give 30 days notice before they have a TEST CRUISE.   Carnival has apparently not done that yet (based on the implied information from the article).   And then after returning from the test cruise, then they have to give 60 days notice of their intent to run passenger cruises.   So, even if Carnival applied TODAY, the first test cruise could not be until February 14, and then if that returned on February 19 and they had an immediate turnaround of paperwork, which doesn't sound feasible, then they could give their 60 day notice and that would put the very first sailing on or around April 20.   

 

Of course, that is using the current conditional framework, and once the new administration is in place next week, the CDC could change the rules again.    We could be back to no sailing, or they could rescind the conditional order.   It is all up in the air.    But what is not up in the air is how the current guidelines work, and that we are looking at AT LEAST 90 days, plus the 5 days for the test cruise, plus paperwork processing time for a total of almost 100 days even if the ball started rolling today.   Carnival should just go ahead and cancel April like RCI because they aren't doing their customers any good by waiting and it just leads to resentment on our part that they won't give a straight answer.

 

I wouldn't take any bet that you'll be on that ship in May.   

 

https://cruzely.com/carnivals-updates-on-passenger-vaccines-and-test-cruises/

 

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I was in a similar situation - was booked in early Feb 2021 on the Madri Gras. As the final payment deadline approached, I called and moved to Feb 2022. There was no penalty to rebook, and the cruise was actually a bit cheaper. Carnival cancelled Feb 2021 cruises a couple weeks later.

Sounds like you now know your options pretty well... If you want to wait as long as possible, see if you can move your final payment date. If you want to lock in a new date, you could just rebook it instead.

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2 hours ago, geneparmesan said:

I was in a similar situation - was booked in early Feb 2021 on the Madri Gras. As the final payment deadline approached, I called and moved to Feb 2022. There was no penalty to rebook, and the cruise was actually a bit cheaper. Carnival cancelled Feb 2021 cruises a couple weeks later.

Sounds like you now know your options pretty well... If you want to wait as long as possible, see if you can move your final payment date. If you want to lock in a new date, you could just rebook it instead.

By doing it before it was actually canceled, were you still able to get the $600 onboard credit?

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