Princess eases cancellation policy after coronavirus hits second ship

Airlines have offered more flexible bookings, hotel chains also have offered refunds

Princess Cruises said it is easing its cancellation policy after a second of the company's cruises was affected by the coronavirus epidemic.

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People with bookings on Princess cruises before the end of May can cancel in exchange for full credit on future trips, the company said Thursday. People with plans to take cruises in June will have until 60 days before their trip to make their final payment. Usually, the final payment is due 90 days before the trip.

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Other travel companies have already sought to ease travelers' concerns with more lenient policies during the epidemic. Airlines have offered more flexible bookings, especially on trips to regions with big outbreaks. Hotel chains also have offered refunds to customers visiting affected areas.

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Princess, a unit of Carnival Corp., made the change after the death from Covid-19 this week of a man who had been a passenger on a Princess ship, the Grand Princess, during a February cruise from San Francisco to Mexico. Officials said he probably contracted the virus responsible for the disease while he was on the cruise.

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After the man died, the Grand Princess's latest trip, from San Francisco to Hawaii, was cut short and the boat has been sent back to California. Passengers on the Hawaii cruise have been tested for the virus aboard the ship, and officials said they won't be allowed to disembark in California until results come on Friday.

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Another Princess ship, the Diamond Princess, became an epicenter of the disease last month when hundreds of passengers came down with Covid-19 during a cruise that began in Japan. The ship's 3,700 passengers were quarantined on board for weeks as Japanese health officials tried to manage the outbreak.