Atlantis travel company is being called out by passengers for allegedly putting their “bottom line” before public health and safety amid the COVID-19 epidemic. NBC recently shared the story of Nili Steiner, a woman who saved up her money over a year, to celebrate her 50th birthday on an Atlantis cruise – a notable LGBTQ + cruise line.
Steiner explained to NBC that she and her girlfriend were prepared to take the “trip of a lifetime” cruise together, not only to celebrate her birthday but also their engagement, the landing of a new job, and their recent purchase of a new home.
Having worked overtime for the year to secure the $2400 per passenger ticket, Steiner was unsuspecting that a viral pandemic –the Coronavirus, would emerge and jeopardize her vacation plans.
Weeks ago, the current outbreak of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the Coronavirus) led the U.S. State Department to issue a travel advisory that Americans should avoid cruises. NBC reports that in response to the advisory, many passengers, including Steiner, have decided to cancel their trips altogether but they are being met with resistance as they ask for refunds,
“Atlantis declined to offer refunds to the vast majority of its passengers who no longer want to board the ship amid fears of an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.”
The Atlantis website states that passengers are unable to cancel tickets within 60 days of the departure date; however, that is their standard policy. In my opinion a concession should be made and the policy amended when there is a virus killing people on every continent.
In contrast, however, NBC also reports Atlantis’ rival – Celebrity Cruises, has updated its policy “… to allow those scheduled to sail before August to change their sail date up to 48 hours in advance of their departure for a “Future Cruise Credit.”