We seem to have found the first company who isn’t listening to public health advice, as Atlantis travel company has decided to continue its cruise services, and some passengers are not happy about it, most of all because they are refusing any refunds for tickets.
Many passengers who are wanting to change plans are doing so because of concerns around the coronavirus. Cruise ships have been the source of a few clusters and outbreaks in the U.S., prompting many cruise companies to halt any trips they had planned.
But Atlantis seems to think they will be fine. In a week where major sporting events have cancelled games and tournaments and Disney has closed its theme parks, Atlantis sent out an email saying, “We’re aware that many of you are concerned about COVID-19 and want to assure you that your health and safety are of paramount importance with both Celebrity and Atlantis… there has not been a single case of COVID-19 onboard a Celebrity or Royal Caribbean ship, either passengers or crew.”
They are only offering refunds to four groups of people: people outside of the U.S. who cannot make it to San Juan because of travel restrictions, older people, those with a history of respiratory illnesses, and medical professionals who regularly meet with patients. While all of these are people who are more susceptible to getting the virus, this is leaving many people who don’t want to take the risk in a bad spot.
Tickets can cost thousands of dollars, and now those who are not wanting to risk catching the virus are going to have to eat that financial cost or go on the cruise.
Julian Sottovia is the caregiver for his elderly mother who is going through cancer treatment and has a history of respiratory illness. Sottovia bought $3,000 tickets to go on the cruise, but now wants to change plans given the circumstances. If he were exposed to the virus on the cruise, he could expose her to it when he returns, and given her medical history, put her life in danger.
Not mention if we was put into quarantine for two weeks (the recommended period for those exposed to the virus), who would be in charge of taking care of his mother?
He explains, “It was easy for me to arrange for one week of somebody filling in for me, but if I’m stuck in quarantine for 14 days, it would be very difficult.”
Atlantis does say they will work with people outside of the four groups they listed on a case-by-case basis, but that still will take time and is not a guarantee that a refund will be given.
“I understand they’re washing down surfaces,” Sottovia explained, “but if they’re still planning to have dance parties and events, you’re going to be around people.”
There’s still a chance they could change their mind, but as for now, the company seems to think they have it covered, which is kind of hard to believe. The virus has caused numerous cancellations this week, and continues to spark discussion among others.
While it is spreading, the recovery rate of the virus is still very high and most people will only experience mild to moderate symptoms. It’s just about helping stop the spread of it and keeping it contained. Be smart, be patient, and always wash your hands.
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