We received notice of the cancellation of our May cruise today, obviously not unexpected. As most cruise lines I assume are doing, we were given the choice of a 125% future cruise credit or a "lesser value refund" as they phrase it in their email. Interestingly, they are able to offer the credit option almost immediately (the default) but their customers have to fill in a digital form by a certain future date and then wait at least 3 months for the refund. Really?
I note many cruisers on this site defending Norwegian as some sort of a clever marketer attempting to save their company. I think the approach Norwegian is using is, simply put, despicable! This is a time when everyone is fearful and stressed. Many people, including Norwegian's customers, are losing their jobs or laid off. Many of Norwegian's customers saved money for many years to book vacations and, in some cases, to book the dream vacation of a lifetime. Now many of these people are struggling to pay their rents or even buy food. Now Norwegian appropriately cancels their cruise but then says they'll hit the left button on their system and you'll get a cruise credit in a few days.....or......they'll hit the right button on their system and you'll get a refund (aka the cash they may desperately need) but they'll take more than 3 months to give it to you. Despicable. Don't let the defenders of Norwegian's actions fool you into thinking that a credit card refund is more than a simple keystroke of a computer. Despicable.
For a company that is likely to eventually receive millions if not billions of dollars in bailout funds from our taxes, how dare you hold on to the $3000 or maybe $4000 or maybe much more of your customers' hard-earned money for more than 3 months when so many others are helping each other out. Despicable. The small private tour operators we had booked through have already fully refunded our tours, a process that took just a few days (the simple click of a button on their computer). And these small companies are struggling for their very existence. Yet they operate with integrity and realize the money they took is not theirs until they fulfill their promise of a tour. Take notice, Norwegian! That's how you operate a business.
We have sailed with several cruise lines in the past. This was to be our first cruise with Norwegian. Other cruise lines may be operating similarly, but my current experience is with Norwegian. I will, with no hesitation, book again with the small tour operators and family-run hotels that have already fully and promptly refunded my money. However, I will never again book a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Their business model is completely devoid of integrity and compassion at a time when most of us need integrity and compassion the most. Despicable. Shame on you, Norwegian, shame on you.