Atlantis Cruises, the partner of Celebrity Cruises that caters to a gay, male crowd, has announced it will not refund customers who cancel their cruise reservations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, LGBTQ Nation reports.
Social media has exploded with angry customers demanding refunds from Atlantis, which abruptly changed its cancellation policy on March 9. The new policy clams “to provide our guests more flexibility in these uncertain times,” though it also now states that refunds will only be granted to customers giving at least 60 days advance notice. That comes as little consolation to frustrated travelers booked on the March 21 cruise out of San Juan.
Several watchdog groups have warned that LGBTQ people are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 due to higher rates of smoking, cancer, HIV and trouble in accessing proper healthcare. Moreover, the median age for a cruise goer skews over 55. The mortality rate for COVID-19 also rises with age.
Angry customers have started a Facebook group to demand Atlantis issue full refunds to passengers, which also accuses Atlantis of “corporate greed during the most unprecedented pandemic of our generation.” With the March 21 cruise still set to take place, one member expressed fear over the ship becoming a cesspool for COVID-19. “When everyone gets off the ship,” he wrote, “we would likely be responsible for putting in danger thousands of people by carrying/spreading a virus that, while it will not kill us, could harm or kill some of our family members.”
Though the Atlantis Cruise is still scheduled to embark on March 21, a number of other cruise lines like Princess and Carnival have canceled their trips. Other popular tourist destinations like Universal Studios and the Disney parks will also shut down due to fears of an outbreak.