The Federal Maritime Administration is proposing new rules to govern cruise cancelations and delays, saying that “clear guidance is needed in determining whether a passenger is entitled to a refund” when a line "cancels a voyage, makes a significant schedule change, or significantly delays a voyage."
With hundreds of thousands of reservation on hundreds of cruises canceled last year because of the pandemic, refund rules got a lot more attention than usual and many cruise customers were unhappy with what they found.
Under the proposed rules, cruise lines would be required to give customers a full refund within 60 days if a sailing is canceled or delayed by three days or more, unless the change is caused by a government order, such as the CDC's 'No Sail' order, or one affecting a specific ship. In that case, the refund window would be 180 days. If adopted, they will apply only to future bookings.
The FMA, which handles these issues for cruise ships as the FAA does for airlines, began its investigation of industry practices in April, 2020, when mass cancelations were taking place. The proposed changes are subject to public and industry comment through October 25, after which the commission will vote on the proposal.